As the omicron-driven spike in cases continues spreading, nine of the 23 CSU campuses, as of Thursday, have opted to start the semester online: Sacramento, Los Angeles, Channel Islands, San Diego, Fresno, San Marcos, East Bay, San Francisco and now Long Beach, CSU spokeswoman Toni Molle said.
Most will go virtual for two weeks.
CSULA will go online for three weeks and CSULB will be virtual for 2 1/2 weeks.
“The safety of our community has always been our chief concern throughout the pandemic,” CSULB President Jane Close Conoley said in a statement. “Delayed in-person instruction was not what we had intended for this spring, but the rise of the Omicron variant warrants this adjustment.”
Some on-campus student services will remain open, the school’s statement said, including the bookstore, student union building and health services center, but with safety protocols — such as face coverings — in place.
Cal Poly Pomona, meanwhile, said on Wednesday, Jan. 5, that it will begin instruction in-person as planned, requiring eligible students to get their booster shots by Feb. 28.
But other CSUs are still mulling their options.
Cal State Fullerton is expected to make a decision sometime this week. Dominguez Hills administrations have discussed the surge, but won’t make a formal announcement this week, said spokeswoman Lilly McKibbin.
Cal State Northridge officials are also discussing the issue, but have made no announcements.
Some UC schools have also announced they would begin the new year with online instruction, including UCLA and UC Irvine.
The pivot to online learning comes as this winter’s coronavirus surge has prompted new closures, stricter regulations and moves to virtual events. Some cities, including Long Beach and Los Angeles, have decided to hold city council meetings online instead of in-person.
And the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in the state and second-largest in the nation, said all students and employees must be tested before returning to campuses next week.
To help facilitate in-person learning amid the surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would deliver at-home COVID-19 testing kits to every student in the state. But delivering those kits has been slower than originally planned, with some districts still not receiving any, including the Long Beach Unified School District, spokesman Chris Eftychiou said Thursday.
Staff writer Brian Whitehead contributed to this report.