CSUN to go largely virtual for fall semester classes

(Photo by Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Most of the fall semester classes at Cal State Northridge will be held online, with a shortlist of face-to-face labs and courses, university officials announced Tuesday.

The exceptions to the large virtual roster of classes include activities that are judged to be critical to the educational outcome for a particular academic program or degree or classes that can only be accomplished in an on-campus environment, like science labs.  

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CSUN has launched a website for the campus' fall 2020 instruction and operational plans called "CSUN as One."  

"We call our plan 'CSUN as One' because, whether learning and working on-campus or virtually, CSUN is united in providing students with a transformative educational experience that prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of the world in which they will live and lead," said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison.  

About 4,400 students are anticipated to take part in 113 face-to-face courses and labs taught in 210 sections during the fall semester. University officials said they do not yet have enrollment numbers for fall 2020, bu t38,391 students were enrolled at CSUN in fall 2019, when the college offered 2,809 courses taught across 7,356 sections.  

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CSUN decided to shift to a largely virtual curriculum-based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles County and state public health departments. The plans were approved by the California State University's Office of the Chancellor.  

University officials said each instructional setting for in-person learning has implemented safety procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19transmission, which includes modified room set-up for physical distancing with signage and floor stickers to enforce distancing. Faculty, staff and students will all participate in COVID-prevention training.  

"Every member of the campus community has a responsibility to follow prescribed safety precautions for the well-being of all," the president said."Each part of the plan is aimed at offering the safest experience possible to protect all members of the CSUN community."  

Limited student housing and on-campus dining will be available for students taking classes in person. Those facilities will also follow CDC and other public health guidelines for physical distancing, the use of face-coverings, hygiene and sanitization protocols and other best practices.  

Student housing -- which usually accommodates more than 3,000residents -- is expected to be at no more than 45% occupancy.  

Faculty members are doing some learning of their own, with more than1,500 faculty members completing some training to support distance learning, CSUN officials said.

Information on professional development classes is available at http://www.csun.edu/help4faculty.  

If public health restrictions are eased after the fall semester gets underway, university officials said they may be able to add additional opportunities for on-campus, face-to-face activities.

Contingency plans have also been developed if regional conditions and guidance become stricter.  

"All of us at CSUN share a common responsibility to support the well-being of our campus community, with our primary goal being a safe and functional campus environment for working, learning and living," Harrison said.

"Student success remains our unwavering priority. Together, CSUN working as one, we will continue to equip students to realize bright futures throughCSUN's transformative education.'