Coronavirus: University of California campuses will open in the fall, Napolitano says

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, said on Wednesday that “every campus will be open and instructing” this fall, despite the coronavirus outbreak that has shut down most of the campus operations in the state.

“The question will be how much of that instruction is personal and how much is done remotely,” Napolitano added during comments to the UC Board of Regents.

The pandemic caused a $ 1.2 billion loss across the system from when campuses closed in mid-March through late April.

While California State University announced last week that it is preparing for online instruction for fall, the UC is planning personal classes.

Napolitano said she “expects most, if not all of our campuses, to operate in some sort of hybrid mode.”

The so-called hybrid mode of higher education includes a mix of online and personal instruction.

Many universities in and outside of California are considering the approach, which eliminates large personal lectures that can be super-spreading events endangering students and the faculty.

Those lectures are moved to an online format, while small classes and labs are held in person.

Napolitano indicated that every UC campus would be required to “meet the system-wide thresholds” for Covid-19 testing, contact tracking, and isolation before opening.

Once the standards are met, campuses can “ consider whether they want to teach completely remotely in the fall or send some of their students back to campus. ”

A decision is expected in mid-June.

“These decisions,” added Napolitano, “should all be made in the context of local, state, and federal public health restrictions.”

The opening of campuses for students to return – even with less than full capacity – is considered essential for the Cal and UCLA football teams to compete in the fall.

In addition to Napolitano’s comments, Cal Chancellor Carol Christ provided an update for the regents on the financial condition of the Berkeley campus:

Cal absorbed a $ 49 million hit from the corona virus this spring and expects the budget impact for 2020-21 to be between $ 150 million and $ 250 million.

Two streams of income, athletics and residence halls – what Christ called the “aid” companies – are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus impact.

“Losses to assistants,” said Christ, “can escalate greatly, depending on how close we are to populating the residence halls and whether we have a fall sports season.”

The Cal football program generates the vast majority of the athletics department’s total annual income (approximately $ 90 million) and provides the financial basis for the Bears’ famous Olympic sports.

Christ said the university is “trying to maintain the principle that we should not cut back on the academic undertaking to make up for the losses in aid organizations.”

The UC system expects a 10 percent cut in government funding for 2020-21 based on the latest budget estimates.

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