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Cal State Fullerton Clarifies Fall Plans

California State University, Fullerton has had to mop up the confusion generated when local news stations reported that the campus would be delivering its courses virtually on the first day of classes in fall. According to a statement issued by Provost Pamella Oliver a day later, the reporting was wrong.

"What I said is that we need to prepare for all variables," she told the campus community. "Our goal is face-to-face, on-campus instruction; however, we are asking faculty to be prepared to start the semester teaching virtually. This is the correct and prudent choice."

Oliver noted that the university wanted to "avoid the situation we had this semester when the switch to virtual was required after the semester instruction began on campus. Our priority is the safety of the entire campus community and the educational success of our students. We will continue to follow the guidance of the various health agencies, the governor, the CSU Chancellor's office on the most appropriate path forward with the goal of having in-person instruction in the fall. I should mention that we all need to be flexible because if there is one thing we have learned through this pandemic, things can change quickly."

The message was emphasized later in the day during a student virtual town hall hosted by the university and streamed on YouTube, in which university administrators tackled questions from students.

Oliver was asked about plans for fall. "There were some reports yesterday that I had said that Cal State Fullerton was going to be fully virtual for the entire fall semester. That was a misinterpretation of what I had said and it was false. What I did say was that in order to be prepared for all of the scenarios and variables that we faced with COVID-19 and again with the goal that we can offer in-person instruction in the fall or as quickly as we can, we were asking all faculty to be prepared to start teaching courses virtually in the fall."

The priorities for a return to face-to-face classes will be those that "cannot optimally be taught virtually," Oliver noted. Those include research or performance classes and labs as well as capstone or seminar courses. "As long as the safety precautions and health precautions and guidance is followed, they will have the priority for being instituted," she said.

One decision that will hold for now, she added was that "large lecture classes" would be taught virtually "because it would be unsafe to have 200 students in one lecture hall."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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