California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said on Thursday that CCC schools will "more than likely" continue online for the spring 2021 semester.
During a teleconference, Ortiz Oakley said within “the next few weeks,” most of the community college districts, if not all, will be announcing the continuation of online classes in the spring barring any changes to COVID-19.
“That is what I’ve asked our colleges to seriously plan for and consider. We want to give students and families as much certainty as possible if, for whatever reason, there are changes with the pandemic and it is possible to bring back students in the spring,” Ortiz Oakley said.
Many universities have already announced plans to continue for online classes in the spring, including the California State University System.
He said that in the last University of California Board of Regents Meeting, held in September, it was reported by the Vice President of the Health Centers that we should expect to see impacts from COVID-19 through 2024.
“While I do not think we will be shut down the way we are until 2024, I think that it is a reality [that] by the time we have a vaccine distributed and have enough immunity in communities to really stem the infection rate, it will be several years,” he said.
Ortiz Oakley said colleges should be planning for social distancing, online classes and other COVID-19 prevention measures for “an extended period of time.” He said that the health and well-being of students and faculty is a priority.
“If a student has some underlying health condition, or they don’t feel comfortable coming to the classroom, we want to give them the opportunity to take classes from at home and for faculty as well,” Ortiz Oakley said.
Moving forward, Ortiz Oakley has a realistic mindset regarding the pandemic.
“The contingency plan in my mind is a plan of a reality,” he said. “Embrace the situation that we are in, find ways to leverage technology, support our faculty through professional development, and put the health and safety of our students front and center.”