May 12 (UPI) -- The California State University system announced Tuesday that it will keep campuses largely closed and shift most classes online through the fall semester.
Timothy White, the chancellor of the 23-school university system, issued a statement declaring that virtual instruction that began earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in place for the fall 2020 term.
"This approach to virtual planning is necessary for many reasons. First and foremost is the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff and the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID-19 -- current and as forecast throughout the 2020-21 academic year," White said.
White added that there will be limited exceptions for in-person teaching including clinical classes for nursing students, as well as classes that require laboratories and other facilities related to creative and performing arts.
"The granting of limited exceptions to permit in-person activities will continue to be informed by thoughtful consultation with academic senates, associated students, staff councils and union leadership and will be based on compelling educational and research needs while continuing to meet safety benchmarks," he said.
White also said there will be variability and "hybrid approaches" throughout the 23 campuses but some schools are likely to be exclusively virtual.
Classroom instruction at all schools in California was closed earlier this year as the state handled an increase of coronavirus cases. As of Tuesday, there were 69,382 confirmed cases and 2,847 deaths in the state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom also on Tuesday released new guidelines for offices that are unable to telework, outdoor museums, malls and strip malls to reopen as part of the state's phased plans to lift restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.