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May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The California State University system announced Tuesday that none of its 23 schools will resume in-person classes for the fall semester, instead administering education via the internet.
“This virtual planning approach for the next academic year is necessary because of the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID-19,” Chancellor Timothy White told CSU trustees via teleconference, ABC 30 reported. The decision was made based on fears that, even if the COVID-19 numbers decline in the short term, a second wave could return when Californians’ guard is down.
“This virtual planning approach is necessary because a course that might begin in a face-to-face modality in the fall would likely have to be switched to a virtual format during the term if a serious second wave of the pandemic occurs as forecast for late fall,” White said.
The university system is currently working on two plans to be ready for review later this month. One would be entirely virtual, with in-person events remaining suspended, and the other would allow for a handful of in-person courses.
The decision comes as top Whitie House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the public not to expect a reliable treatment or vaccine to be ready in time for the start of the school year. His comments were initially construed as discouraging the resumption of classes, but he later clarified that he meant that such decisions “would depend on the dynamics of the outbreak in the region where the school is. I did not mean to imply at all any relationship between the availability of a vaccine and treatment and our ability to go back to school.”
As of May 14, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 85,000 deaths and 310,000 recoveries. California is the fifth-most impacted state, with 73,143 cases and 2,974 deaths.
Almost half of California’s COVID-19 deaths come from nursing homes. Yet many of the state’s response efforts have targeted groups and activities with little-to-no risk, from ticketing residents for standing outside abortion centers to forbidding singing even in online church services. State leaders currently say they’re “months, not weeks” away from reopening religious services, beauty salons, gyms, or movie theaters.
Other medical experts argue that the evidence warrants a strategy more narrowly targeted toward protecting the elderly and immunocompromised while allowing the younger and healthier to go about their lives. “If we focus on the elderly, we will bring a death rate that is likely no more than 1 percent down to fractions of a percent,” says Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.