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CSU to return in-person next fall amid drop in applications
CSUS students
Stanislaus State is expecting to welcome students back on campus in fall 2021.

The California State University system, including Stanislaus State in Turlock, is planning for an anticipated return to in-person classes beginning next fall. 

A majority of students at Stanislaus State completed the fall 2020 semester from a distance as the coronavirus pandemic continued, attending and participating in class via a variety of virtual learning platforms. Such has been the norm for students since in-person classes were first cancelled in March, and this coming spring they will continue to do the same.

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White stated the early announcement for next fall was made in order to give families and students adequate time to plan for next year.

“It’s critical that we provide as much advance notice as possible to students and their families, as we have done previously in announcing our moves toward primarily virtual instruction,” White said. “While we are currently going through a very difficult surge in the pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the promising progress on vaccines.”

Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn noted during a virtual town hall held Tuesday that the CSU’s decision to announce in-person learning for the fall 2021 semester was also in response to low application numbers from first-time freshmen and transfers, who may not have been applying to universities due to uncertainty on face-to-face learning. 

While the application deadline was extended to Dec. 15, on Tuesday Junn described Stanislaus State’s numbers as “alarmingly low.”

As of Dec. 14, there was a 33.65% decrease in first-time freshmen applications for Stanislaus State and a 21% decrease in transfer applications. The numbers should improve as more applications are filled out, however, as the decreases were 40% and 30% on Dec. 13, respectively. 

On Dec. 13, there were a total of 1,492 first-time freshmen applications and 1,205 transfer applications still in progress. 

According to Stanislaus State Provost Kimberly Greer, there were 55 course sections taught in some form of face-to-face instruction this fall until all in-person classes were suspended on Nov. 30. The spring 2021 semester will continue to take place virtually, although now 70 course sections have been approved for face-to-face instruction including new courses in the arts and sciences. To curb the spread of COVID-19 as a result of holiday gatherings over winter break, the spring semester will not start until Feb. 1.

“Speaking frankly, I think we all view Feb. 1 as a very optimistic date, again, based on what's going on right now with surging numbers and decreasing to no capacity in our ICU units in hospitals,” Greer said.