The California State University system moves primarily online for fall 2020

The campus of California State University Northridge shortly after students were sent home in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Gutknecht/Orange County Register)

By: Sophia Burick | Editor in Chief

May 15, 2020

The COVID-19 has brought about many changes in the lives of students across the world over the last few months. Starting in mid-March, students were sent home from their schools and universities and quickly transitioned to online learning. Many students, especially high school and college seniors, will miss out on key events like graduation and have faced a series of disappointments over the last few months.

For students attending a California State University next year, the impact of COVID-19 will be felt well into the fall. The California State University system announced on Tuesday, May 12, that the majority of classes in the fall across all 23 CSU campuses will occur remotely, excluding some programs that require in-person training like nursing.

“It’s a real shame,” San Clemente High School senior and Cal Poly Sal Luis Obispo prefrosh Carter Sestak said. “It’s just really sad to have the college experience delayed. Especially going to a polytechnic school with such a hands-on focus that just can’t be recreated virtually. With the state of the virus, I think preparations need to be made for fall distance learning, but it’s too early to be making any final decisions. I do appreciate the optimistic view Cal Poly SLO is taking, planning to deliver on-campus housing and necessary in-person classes, and I hope that other CSUs are able to set up such a system. However, I still fear that the situation will become worse and thousands of students won’t be able to start the college experience the way we’ve looked forward to our entire lives.”

The California State University system Chancellor Timothy White announced the decision in a virtual board meeting. Despite the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of college students who will not be able to have a normal college experience this fall, Chancellor White has assured students that their educational experience will still be worthwhile.

“I concur that it will be a different experience in the fall, but it won’t be a bad experience,” Chancellor White said. “And it is much more important if you think about the long-term picture as a student and as a family…Leaning in and taking your courses and making progress to a degree gets you to that degree sooner rather than later, and then creates a lifetime of opportunity you otherwise would not have economically and socially, career wise. So, while acknowledging that some of that excitement will not be there when we’re doing things virtually, this is a shorter-term problem for a much longer-term gain.”

As the nation’s largest four-year university system, the California State University system’s decision represents a significant break from the reassurances of an in-person fall semester shared by other institutions including the University of Alabama, the University of North Carolina system, Texas Tech University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Louisiana system, and Morgan State University in Maryland.

“I hope these colleges suffer as much as we do during these times,” SCHS senior and Chico State University prefrosh Will King said. “I hope they are forced to trim the fat, to cut off the bloated administrative positions where people are getting paid to do nothing. I hope there’s a silver lining in all this where colleges are being forced to be less corrupt.”

The University of California system has not announced an official decision on the format of classes in the fall, but Stet Halbrook, a spokesperson for the University of California system, says that full reopening is unlikely.

“It’s likely none of our campuses will fully reopen in fall,” Holbrook said in an email to CNN on Tuesday. “[The UC is] considering a mixed approach for classes, with some student instruction potentially to be delivered in classrooms and labs while other instruction may remain remote.”

2 Comments on The California State University system moves primarily online for fall 2020

  1. Great article! I think it’s going to be interesting to see if this changes how students view college. Taking a gap year before college I feel has always been kind of taboo before Covid-19, but now it seems like a logical thing to do while most colleges are moving online or raising tuition (or both) making it less worthwhile for some students. It might also make more students question if college is even the right decision for them, thinking past the instilled idea that college equals success. And from what I’ve seen some college experiences haven’t been worth it the raised tuition with food and board. At NYC students are required to quarantined for weeks with food being delivered to them. The only problem is that they are paying 75k to receive stale bagels and no vegan options at random hours of the day… sounds a little corrupt to me.

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