California State University campuses will be mostly closed this fall, online classes will continue


One of the big issues being debated today is whether or not schools should reopen this fall. Dr. Fauci warned during his congressional testimony earlier today that we probably won’t have treatments or a vaccine in time to make that happen, at least not without some risk. Tuesday afternoon, California State University announced that its 23 campuses would remain closed this fall, making it the largest university system to make such an announcement thus far.

Addressing a meeting of the system’s board of trustees, the chancellor, Timothy P. White, allowed for the possibility of exceptions. If health and safety precautions permit, clinical classes in the nursing program, for example, could be held in person, he said, as could certain science labs and other essential instruction.

But for most undergraduate students enrolled at the Cal States, as they are known, classes will continue virtually, as they have since campuses closed.

“Our university, when open without restrictions and fully in person, as is the traditional norm of the past, is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity with each other on a daily basis,” Mr. White said. “That approach, sadly, just isn’t in the cards now as I have described.”

ABC7 reports chancellor White cited the possibility of a second wave of the virus this fall:

White said non-partisan researchers and health experts forecast additional waves of infection coupled with the flu season in the fall. He added the public immunity rate is very low, and it is not likely a vaccine will be developed during the academic year.

He apparently didn’t cite anyone in particular, but he’s making some of the same points Dr. Fauci made this morning. Given the timing, it’s possible chancellor White was listening to what Dr. Fauci said.

School openings were also at the core of the back and forth this morning between Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Fauci. In that case, Sen. Paul was arguing for the Swedish approach while Fauci was worried about the potential for children to be infected. In Sweden, colleges have been closed but elementary schools have remained open.

As significant as this decision by the CSU system is, it seems to be an outlier so far. The Chronicle of Higher Education is keeping a list of all schools that have announced their plans and, at the moment, it appears about 3/4 of them plan to hold in-person classes. CSU falls under the purple “hybrid model” because it will allow some in-person classes for labs and classes that need access to special equipment.