Cal State Long Beach Plans for Virtual Fall

Cal State Long Beach’s chief communications officer announces plans to hold traditional classes for fall semester

Update, May 6, 3:04 p.m.:

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley answered some of the many questions from students on the college’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a video published on the school’s website on May 4.

Conoley said that the fall semester will most likely be mainly virtual, hoping to avoid a repeat of the spring in a sudden pivot to remote instruction. Though this is the case, she said that perhaps face-to-face or hybrid classes will be available for special cases. “We must have models of instruction that can be sustained for all of 2021,” she said.

Conoley added that college officials do not know when it will be safe to gather in groups again. She said that although epidemiologists predict a decline in new cases and deaths over the next month and into June, there is likely a second wave iminent in October. “Hard dates are impossible to provide, given the nature of the pandemic. We could be facing another 18 months of safety precautions,” Conoley said.

The president said that although a majority of CSULB students would likely be carriers with minimal symptoms, a majority of school staff and faculty are over 60 years old, not to mention the unknown number of staff and students with underlying health conditions. Considering these statistics, she said that the school must be “guided by one priority: the well being of everyone on our campus.”

Although the school might have leave from public health to offer single student rooms when it comes to housing, Conoley said that this would result in health and economic challenges when housing new and returning students on campus.

As for commencement, following a survey sent out to students ready for graduation, student leadership is preparing for a virtual celebration during the summer; however, an in-person commencement is being planned for late fall 2020.

“I, for one, am certainly looking forward to shaking hands with the much-tested class of 2020,” Conoley added. Incoming students were also addressed in the video. Of the 110,000 applications received, the school will be admitting about 4,800 freshmen and 4,800 transfer students for fall 2020.

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Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, students struggle against the current in online classes and they are left longing for a regular semester schedule. The answer to whether or not college or university campuses will be opening up again for classes in the future is still elusive. For Cal State Long Beach CSULB students, the answer might come sooner than expected.

According to a tweet by CSULB Chief Communications officer Jeffrey Cook, the university is planning to offer on-campus and in-person courses for the fall 2020 semester. Cook stated in his tweet that the school would be following public health guidance and monitoring COVID-19 forecasts.

“If there’s any necessary change in our planning, we will be open and proactive about communicating those adjustments,” Cook stated.

Provost Brian Jersky also went on Twitter to assure that the university is “planning for all eventualities.”

CSULB senior Kassandra Ruiz, 22, said that she would like for the campus to open back up for the fall semester, and believes this is the right choice.

“I think they’re making the right decision to keep it as an option rather than making the decision months in advance.” Ruiz said. “Coronavirus is progressing.”

“We should see where we’re at in 2-3 months,” Ruiz added. “I’d like to see it open, but safety is important.”

Lauren Berny, 26, a CSULB junior, is more uncomfortable with the idea of attending classes so early in the pandemic.

“I would be very uncomfortable with doing on campus classes,” she said. “If I could do online classes I’ll do that… I hate online classes and avoid them at all costs, but with the way things are panning out, I don’t see things ever going back to the way they were.”

Berny said that she believes the university is being incredibly optimistic, but won’t believe it until she hears a response from the college’s president, Jane Close Conoley.

“It would be hard for me to go back to school without knowing if the person sitting next to me has it,” Berny said.

There has currently been no notice sent out to students regarding the official reopening of on-campus classes for fall.