The nation’s largest public university system will stay online, but other colleges are determined to bring back students. The patchwork could look much like the rest of the country.
SACRAMENTO — “Fall will be quiet this year at San Diego State University. No big lecture classes. No parking lots packed with commuting students. No campus hubbub around Greek life, and perhaps no pep rallies for the Aztecs football team.
As one of the 23 schools in the enormous California State University system, San Diego State will hold classes primarily online, a decision the system’s chancellor announced this week.
But 20 minutes up the freeway at the University of California, San Diego, things could look very different, with tens of thousands of students streaming back to campus, if only to single dorm rooms and socially distanced classrooms.
Across the country this fall, college life is likely to be vastly different from campus to campus — a patchwork that mirrors what is currently happening in states and communities, as some move toward widespread reopening and others keep their economies mostly closed.
Shut down in a stricken wave this March as the coronavirus pandemic spread across America, colleges and universities are now studying whether and how to move forward, with plans ranging wildly between hope and grim epidemiology.
The University of Washington was one of the first large schools to make the shift to online classes after the Seattle area emerged as an early center of the outbreak. Now, it is developing plans to allow at least some in-person instruction, a spokesman said.
And in a state that has moved aggressively toward reopening, the University of Georgia has announced plans for in-person classes.
But Harvard Medical School said Wednesday that its first-year students would start remotely in the fall. A handful of other schools, mostly small ones, have said they are leaning toward online-only classes, including Wayne State University in Detroit, a virus hot spot, and Sierra College outside Sacramento.”
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