Coronavirus

Signs Point to UCSC Classes Being Offered Only Online in the Fall

UCSC will host virtual commencement ceremonies next month

Students wait at a UCSC bus stop. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

Like most college seniors, graduating UCSC students will have their commencement ceremonies online this June, instead of graduating in large in-person gatherings. That is, of course, due to shelter-in-place orders issued during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On June 22, UCSC’s summer session will begin via webinars. Even once the summer is over, there is no reason to think that any University of California (UC) campus will be throwing open its gates for on-campus instruction in the near future.

The California State University (CSU) system already announced last week that almost all fall classes will be online this year. The UC branches can take a little more time to make their decision, as they generally begin instruction later than the CSUs do.

UCSC spokesperson Scott Hernandez-Jason told GT via email on May 7 that university leaders were cautioning that “some or all of fall or the [upcoming] academic year may be remote.” Discussions on the topic were underway, he said. The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) has all but confirmed that a full reopening isn’t on the table. Here’s UCOP’s statement:

As we work to protect the health and safety of the University of California community during this unprecedented time, we are carefully planning for a wide range of possibilities.

Currently, all campuses have determined initial summer sessions will be conducted via remote instruction. At this juncture, however, it is too soon to predict and evaluate the impacts of Covid-19, if any, on UC instruction beyond summer.

We will continue to carefully monitor the rapidly evolving situation and will keep the UC community informed as decisions are made.

A working paper from Kim A. Weeden and Benjamin Cornwell, two Cornell University sociologists, looked at the possible risk of disease spread posed by in-person classes.

Given the interconnectedness of any sizable campus community’s academic classes, the paper shows that in-person classes would pose significant risk, even if schools banned all in-person classes of more than 100 students.

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