Gov. Newsom issues guidance on reopening California colleges

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce Friday guidelines for reopening plans for colleges and universities across California -- days before the fall semester begins.

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Saturday, August 8, 2020
Newsom to issue guidance on reopening CA colleges
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce Friday guidelines for reopening plans for colleges and universities across California -- days before the fall semester begins.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The state released much-awaited guidance for colleges and universities to be able to resume on-campus classes and intramural sports.

Most institutions have opted for virtual classes, making the decision following weeks of a lack of guidance from the state.

The California State University system made the announcement in May.

The main points of this guidance include:

  • the use of face coverings
  • a campus-specific COVID-19 prevention plan
  • seating to allow for physical distancing
  • counties on the state's data monitoring list cannot hold indoor lectures, unless they're specialized courses like labs or art studios where people can be at least six feet apart
  • schools mus limit nonessential visitors and campus activities
  • close nonessential shared spaces
  • provide grab-and-go or individually plated meals
  • prioritize single-room occupancy
  • encourage telework
  • consult local public health experts if someone tests positive
  • Fresno State's fall instruction begins Aug. 19, with the campus population to be limited to a population of 2,200. The in-person community would primarily be focused on the 1,340 students enrolled in courses that require laboratory or clinical components, and the faculty and staff needed to support them.

    RELATED: Less than 10% of Fresno State's population will return to campus next semester

    Fresno Pacific University said it would also continue with virtual learning in the fall. The university previously planned to hold in-person classes until Gov. Newsom ordered all schools on the state's monitoring list to not reopen their campuses.

    Administrators at UC Merced have also planned to have classes start remotely for the first four weeks of the fall semester, but said the university will continue monitoring changes made by state and local health officials.

    Some local colleges have suspended all athletics for Fall 2020, including Fresno City College and Reedley College.

    RELATED: Mountain West, Fresno State's athletic conference, announces schedules for fall sports

    Meanwhile, the Mountain West Conference, which includes Fresno State, announced new revisions that would allow fall sports to begin after the week ending September 26. Fresno State Athletics have not yet decided whether they would allow their programs to play.

    Gov. Newsom and state health officials have been adamant about schools in COVID-19 hot spots remaining closed while the state works to contain a surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. But the rules for colleges have not been listed in previous guidelines.

    RELATED: Fresno City College, Reedley College suspend all athletics for Fall 2020

    Recently, California has allowed for some elementary schools to apply for a waiver to reopen their campuses if they meet certain criteria and are approved by the state health department.

    Central California remains a coroanvirus hot spot, and has even been flagged by the White House as an area of concern. But the debate about whether schools should reopen remains among local leaders as school districts move into the academic year.

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