Fresno State and the other 22 Cal State Universities will continue to offer most of its courses virtually in the 2021 spring semester, California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy P. White said Thursday.
“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 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,” White said. “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.”
White made the announcement now because campuses needed to commit their spring academic schedules in September and October.
Along with campuses needing to publish and promote course offerings, White wanted to give students and families appropriate time to plan and accreditation requirements for courses delivered virtually.
Commencement plans will be developed and communicated by campuses during the course of the academic term in January.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro addressed the news in a campus-wide email as well as the next steps for Fresno State going into the spring semester.
“I fully understand this decision may be difficult to process initially and, for some, to accept,” Castro said. “But I also continue to believe that the best way to weather challenges is to first know what we are facing. By knowing now, in early September, what we can expect in the spring semester, we can each process the ramifications for us personally, and then begin planning accordingly.”
The next steps for Fresno State include the reconvening of the fall 2020 planning task force, which was co-chaired by Provost Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Vice President Debbie Adishian-Astone and will be renamed as the spring 2021 planning task force.
The group will once again include representatives from students, faculty and staff at Fresno State, consult with the Fresno County Department of Public Health and follow local, state and federal guidelines to protect the health and well-being of the entire campus community.
The task force and Castro aim to have a plan approved by White and ready to be announced in October. The plan will cover everything from academic instruction and the Madden Library, to on-campus housing and dining, as well as athletics.
The spring semester will likely also include a limited number of in-person classes and the number of students living in campus housing.