The president of Cal State Long Beach says classes in fall semester will be conducted mostly in virtual settings, though face-to-face interactions may be possible in some cases.

President Jane Close Conoley said in a message to the campus community Monday evening that the university wants to avoid an abrupt pivot to remote learning should a second wave of COVID-19 hit the community in the fall, as some health officials predict.

“Long Beach State, while accomplishing its educational mission, must be guided by one priority: The well-being of everyone on our campus,” Conoley said in her remarks, adding the university could be facing at least 18 months of safety precautions.

The university has asked nonessential workers to remain home through at least May 25, Conoley said, but “the true date depends on the advice of our public health department.” Return of faculty and staff will be staggered so that the campus density grows gradually.

The campus has canceled commencement this spring, with tentative plans to hold graduation ceremonies in late fall. The university may also limit student housing to single rooms, and is developing strict safety protocols for student athletes in the fall.

“It’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to have fans at our fall sporting events,” she said.

Conoley reported that seven students, four faculty members and one contractor have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began. Long Beach as a whole has reported 789 positive cases and 38 deaths.

The university, and the CSU system, is heading into difficult budget years, Conoley said. CSULB is planning a 5% reduction in spending,or about $24 million,  starting in July. The university has slowed hiring for open positions, and nonessential travel has been suspended entirely through July 31.

Still, the campus is planning to beef up its support for faculty and students with the shift to online learning, including establishing a permanent computer loan program and increasing Wi-Fi  coverage in public areas of the campus. The university is also seeking funding to add seats to its virtual lab, which allows students to use campus-licensed software programs away from campus.

In spite of the health pandemic, CSULB remains one of the most popular campuses in the 23-campus system. The local university received 110,000 admission applications, of which about 10,000 transfers and freshmen will be admitted.



Melissa Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-512-6354.