CSU anticipates roughly 50% of in-person classes; Chico State expects fewer


Jacob Collier

Kendall Hall

CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro held a press conference on Feb. 8 to address concerns surrounding the Fall 2021 semester and the limited reopening of the system’s 23 campuses. 

News items from the press conference included: 

  • Staff and students will not be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to in-person classes due to legal implications
  • The CSU anticipates that approximately 50% of classes will be in-person, but each campus will adjust this percentage based on local guidelines and case numbers 
  • 13 CSU campuses are administering COVID-19 vaccines now or in the process of becoming vaccination sites 
  • The CSU system has asked for $365 million to fund the Graduation Initiative 2025 and an additional $565 million in one-time funding that would go toward maintenance and upgrading classrooms throughout the system
  • A basic needs request for funding was submitted by the CSU system and approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom
  • Limited in-person sports activities are expected to resume 

Castro said the CSU anticipates most campuses to hold approximately 50% of in-person classes. Most students will likely still be enrolled in predominantly online courses or hybrid classes. 

“Based on the experts that I have been hearing from, I continue to think that it is a reasonable goal — Dr. Fauci included,” Castro said. “He shared that with us and continues to believe that it’s appropriate to plan in this way. I wanted to start with that priority because that is No. 1.” 

The CSU foresees a continued need to wear protective gear like masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

Although vaccination will not be required, Castro said the CSU strongly encourages mass vaccinations. 

“Our focus is to get the vaccines to each campus and inspire participation,” Castro said. “There may be some students, for different reasons, who do not wish to get vaccinated, or a staff or faculty member that does not wish to do so. I’m going to respect that and focus on getting as many people vaccinated as possible and plan accordingly for the fall.” 

The number of in-person classes will depend on local health guidelines and cases, meaning that campuses, such as Chico State, may opt for less in-person instruction. 

President Gayle Hutchinson released a statement on Feb. 8, outlining tentative plans for the Fall 2021 semester. 

“Our planning target for fall semester is to offer approximately 20 to 30% of our fall 2021 course sections either fully in-person or blended (partially in-person). There is no easy explanation of what this means for students,” Hutchinson said. “Depending on your major and your current progress toward graduation, it could mean a fully online schedule or one that is both in-person and online.”

Additionally, Chico State is aiming to provide limited access to services such as the WREC and on-campus study spaces. Approximately 1,000 single-occupancy rooms will be available to students. 

Castro said faculty and staff will have the flexibility to determine whether they wish to return to in-person activities. 

“That is how we have proceeded throughout the pandemic and I anticipate that that will continue to be the case,” Castro said. “My sense is that our faculty and staff, in general, want to get vaccinated and so we are going to try to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.” 

Butte County has recorded over 10,000 COVID-19 cases to date, with roughly 5,500 cases in Chico. Plans for the Fall 2021 semester remain subject to change based on local health conditions, including surges in COVID-19 cases or spikes attributed to the new variants. 

The Orion will continue to follow this story and update as new information becomes available.

Chloe Curtis, Alex Amaya, and Ian Hilton can be reached at [email protected] or @ChloeCurtis__ on Twitter.