Most California state college students will be “staying safe” at home this fall. The chancellor of the California State University system announced that the state’s 23 college campuses will not reopen in the fall of 2020. Almost all classes will be taught online due to spread of the coronavirus.
“We are exploring a mixed approach with some material delivered in classroom and labs settings while other classes will continue to be online,” Claire Doan said in an email to EdSource. “Our campuses will reopen for on-site instruction when it is safe to do so — in coordination with federal, state and local health departments and authorities.”
This announcement comes just days after the May 1st commitment date, the date when most colleges confirm students’ enrollment acceptances.
The Fauci Factor.
Testifying before the Senate, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned against reopening schools too early. He predicted that there would not be a vaccine before the traditional start of fall classes. Fauci’s testimony influenced the California State University decision.
President Trump “totally” disagreed with Fauci’s remarks in an exclusive interview with Fox Business. The president believes the nation must reopen schools as soon as possible in order to get the country working again. Trump stated he would not consider the nation is “coming back” until schools reopen.
Likely Ripple Effect on other State Schools.
The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to meet soon to discuss plans for this fall. The UC system has 10 four year college campuses across the state. On Wednesday, Stett Holbrook, a spokesperson for the UC emailed CNN “it’s likely none of our campuses will fully re-open in fall.”
Next expect the California private colleges to fall in line. If the state deems it unsafe for students to attend classes at state colleges, what about private California universities such as Stanford, USC, Occidental College, Pepperdine, or any of the other 62 California private colleges?
This begs the question: Is the American college experience is worth it — at least in California? For most, college is an escape from home, a way to have a dorm, personal space and privacy without being managed by parents. Why “go” to college online on your laptop from the same bedroom you had in high school?
More importantly, why pay the high tuition for the online experience? Why go into life-delaying debt to “stay safe” at home? Why not go online through a local Junior College (currently free in California) instead? Or why not take a gap year and get a part-time job (assuming you can find one)?
Impact on Private Schools and Business?
If it is not “safe” for college aged adults to attend college campuses or live in dorms, how can it be “safe” for young children to attend preschool, elementary, middle or high schools? This impacts private, parochial schools as well which depend upon private tuition and grants to keep their doors open.
If kids must go to school from the safety of their kitchen tables, how can both parents return to work? What are the ramifications if kids do not return to public school in the fall?
A few heroically motivated high school juniors or seniors might manage to stay focused in their Google classrooms. But what about younger kids in elementary school? Who will supervise them? Online classes cannot do what in-person teaching communicates. Children can walk away from the online classroom. They require supervision and guidance throughout their tasks.
Will this education shut down force a return to some version of the 1950’s when many women were housewives raising kids while men worked outside the home? Many people cannot return to work without some plan for childcare. Many parents may begin to ask why pay taxes to school children from home.
Finally, what does all this mean for a two-working parent economy and the tax revenues in light of California’s $54 billion dollar deficit? The long term ramifications of shutting down traditional places of learning in the state of California are unknown.