Stanislaus State, along with the other 22 schools in the California State University system, will continue with primarily virtual learning next spring following an announcement from Chancellor Timothy P. White on Thursday.
The Turlock campus was one of the first in the nation to cancel in-person classes due to the coronavirus pandemic in the spring, and the fall semester kicked off last month with just 52 courses being offered on campus. While there was hope among students that classes would return to normal come spring 2021, White said a “responsible” decision had to be made.
“After extensive consultation with campus presidents and other stakeholders, and careful consideration of a multitude of factors – regarding the pandemic and its consequences, as well as other matters impacting the university and its operations – I am announcing that the CSU will continue with this primarily virtual instructional approach for the academic term that begins in January 2021, and also will continue with reduced populations in campus housing," White said. “This decision is the only responsible one available to us at this time. And it is the only one that supports our twin North Stars of safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of our faculty, staff, students and communities, as well as enabling degree progression for the largest number of students."
The desire to give students and their families appropriate time to plan, the need to publish and promote course offerings in campus academic plans, and accreditation requirements for courses delivered virtually were cited by White as three primary reasons for the timing for the announcement.
In the coming weeks, campuses will publish their lists of course offerings allowing students to select courses and then campuses can appropriately allocate resources to meet student demand.
Additionally, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, the accrediting body for all CSU campuses, requires each campus to seek authorization for courses currently approved for on-site instruction to be offered in distance learning modalities. In order to meet this requirement, campuses will need to commit to their January academic schedules in September and October. The requirement was temporarily waived by the Department of Education for fall 2020, however, the waiver will expire at the end of December and will not be renewed.
All CSU campuses crafted detailed plans to address repopulation for the fall term and will continue to follow the protocols established in these plans for the academic terms beginning in January 2021. This will allow the flexibility to potentially offer additional in-person coursework should the situation in the campus' respective region warrant that or, conversely, to further limit such offerings as needed. Campus plans vary depending on factors such student enrollment, programmatic offerings and facilities and comport with local, state and federal guidance.
In a letter to the campus community on Thursday, Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn said that the decision “continues to put the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students first, while also putting our focus on delivering a high-quality education to as many students as possible, allowing them to make timely progress toward their degree completion.”
Junn told students, faculty and staff to keep an eye out for future emails communicating Stanislaus State’s specific plans.
“I want each of you to know how valued you are as members of our Warrior community,” she said.