Spring 2021 will be primarily online, CSU announces

El Centro de Brasil en SDSU organizó su conferencia virtual con invitados Abner Francisco Sótenos, Monique Paula, y Watufani Poe. Los invitados hablaron sobre los problemas raciales y sociales en Brasil.

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El Centro de Brasil en SDSU organizó su conferencia virtual con invitados Abner Francisco Sótenos, Monique Paula, y Watufani Poe. Los invitados hablaron sobre los problemas raciales y sociales en Brasil.

by Brenden Tuccinardi, Editor in Chief

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White answered the question at the back of every student, faculty and staff member’s mind regarding next semester.

In a press release Thursday, White announced that all 23 CSU campuses will continue with primarily virtual instruction in Spring 2021. 

“This decision is the only responsible one available to us at this time,” White said in a statement. “And it’s 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 announcement comes approximately four months before the start of the Spring semester, though White says the timing was essential in order to give campuses enough time to allocate resources and meet student demand. 

Also, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission – the accrediting body of all CSUs – requires campuses to get authorization for courses approved for in-person instruction to be offered in online modalities. This process makes it so CSUs must finalize their Spring 2021 course offerings in September and October. 

The U.S. Department of Education waived this requirement for Fall 2020, but the exception expires in December and will not be renewed, according to White’s statement. 

Another reason White cited for the timing of the decision was the fact that campuses will soon be publishing spring course selections, and students will begin registering for the next semester. 

“Put another way, there are compelling and compulsory administrative factors that require is to decide now how to best proceed in January 2021,” White wrote. 

Also looming large over the decision are the realities the pandemic presents. 

“The virus continues to spread,” White said. “There is no vaccine and there likely will not be one widely available anytime soon… Testing infrastructure is still a work in progress in California and at the CSU… And there remain some seasonal dark clouds that could hamper or delay control of the pandemic.”

White also pointed out that each campus will be permitted to develop individual plans “depending on their unique and particular circumstances.”

In a university-wide email, President Adela de la Torre and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Salvador Hector Ochoa addressed the impact of White’s announcement at San Diego State.

“The CSU and SDSU will continue the current practice of allowing certain limited exceptions for in-person instruction for courses that have very specific requirements to do so,” the email stated. “Our plan is to share our new class schedule for Spring 2020 in October to allow for timely student registration.”

The email also said student housing will remain available.

With the prospect of a virtual semester now confirmed, it appears that the SDSU Flex plan will carry over into the spring, begging the question of whether SDSU will again see another surge of COVID-19 cases in January when students return.

“Recent proactive measures the university has implemented to address general prevention and off-campus gatherings are working, and additional testing actions are being explored,” de la Torre and Ochoa wrote in the email. “These actions will serve us well going forward, and we must develop a Spring 2021 plan that continues to prioritize our commitment to individual health and community wellbeing.”

More information regarding SDSU’s plan for the spring semester is forthcoming.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. with more information provided by SDSU’s university-wide email.