Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, many university campuses in Ventura County are starting the semester with online classes.
CSU Channel Islands will switch to virtual education for most courses during the first two weeks of the spring semester, which begins January 22. The Ventura Community College District will also go virtual when the semester begins on January 10.
The CSUCI announcement was made Tuesday evening via social networks and the school’s website.
The change was announced as coronavirus cases have increased with the arrival of the omicron variant. This week, the Cal State University system updated its interim COVID-19 vaccination policy, changing the definition of fully immunized to include a booster.
If the two-week plan for virtual classes goes as planned, in-person instruction will begin February 7 at the CSUCI campus south of Camarillo. The deadline for students, administrators and other employees to get a CSU-required booster vaccination has been moved to February 6 to align with the first week of mostly in-person classes.
“In keeping with our campus’s response to the pandemic to date, these decisions have been made with an explicit focus on safety first and go beyond CSU policy and public health requirements,” he said. Richard Yao, acting president of the university, said in a statement.
According to Yao, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and the Ventura County Public Health Department said omicron cases are expected to peak during the last week of January.
“It is very likely that we will see a slight increase in positive cases at the start of the semester, given this post-vacation schedule and the high rate of transmissibility of the omicron variant,” the statement from Yao said.
A provost and school deans will determine which classes are best served by meeting in person during the first two weeks. Students will be alerted before the start of the spring semester by their instructor of any changes. Masks will be mandatory indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Two town halls online for CSUCI students to discuss security-related plans for the spring semester are set for Thursday evening and Friday morning.
In the CSU system, each of the 23 university presidents have been delegated the authority to make changes to their campus plans based on conditions in their region, CSU spokeswoman Toni Molle said.
Besides the CSU Channel Islands, other CSU campuses that are going virtual for the spring semester include Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and San Marcos, Molle said.
“Campus dates and plans vary depending on what’s going on in each respective region based on consultation with local public health agencies,” Molle said.
The Ventura County Community College District is expected to begin its spring semester primarily online on January 10. according to its website.
Spring courses at Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura Colleges and on the Ventura College East Campus will be primarily distance learning for a limited time, with the exception of courses requiring in-person instruction.
The district currently requires all students and staff to be immunized. Students and employees are required to complete a daily online screening form each time they plan to be on campus.
At the Lutheran University of California at Thousand Oaks, classes will remain primarily in-person. Traditional undergraduate courses, which have the largest number of students, begin Jan. 19 and will be taught in classrooms, said Karin Grennan, media relations manager for Cal Lutheran. At the graduate level, the one-semester education and psychology courses will also be delivered in person.
Some of CLU’s shorter graduate programs, which are already underway, have moved to a virtual format to begin 2022, but all courses scheduled for in-person instruction will revert to face-to-face instruction on January 17. . Undergraduate courses for professionals who used a hybrid format will resume the hybrid format on the same date.
According to Cal Lutheran website, all students, faculty and staff must prove that they received a reminder by January 18. The university has an indoor mask mandate.