University of California says it's time to return to campus, in-person classes

An announcement from the UC Office of the President stated that the UC system is planning for a return to primarily in-person instruction starting fall 2021.

The decision comes as vaccines against the coronavirus will be made available to the general public in mid-2021.

The University of California Office of the President announced that it intends to hold Fall 2021 classes in person rather than online. 

The statement says that the school is making the change systemwide, and is "planning for a return to primarily in-person instruction" beginning in fall 2021.

“With robust research advancements and COVID-19 vaccines soon becoming available to students, staff, and faculty, UC is preparing to welcome students back to all its campuses this fall, while remaining vigilant in all critical prevention efforts and continuing to prioritize the health and well-being of the University community,” said the statement. 

UC System President Michael Drake stated that “current forecasts give us hope that in the fall our students can enjoy a more normal on-campus experience.”

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The decision comes after several UC schools made Summer 2021 classes remote. 

The University of California Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and UCLA decided to offer virtual classes instead of in-person classes during the summer, at which point the COVID-19 vaccine will have already been distributed to millions of Americans.

UC-Davis announced that “some or all instruction for all or part of Academic Year 2021-22 may be delivered remotely.” It will offer remote summer classes as well. 

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In fall 2020, the UC system required students to get a flu shot before returning to campus. It is unclear whether students will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine before joining on-campus activities. 

A student at the University of California-Berkeley, Megan Wang, told Campus Reform that she "will be happy to be back.” 

However, she is worried that new COVID strains will force campuses to close again. 

“I’m not confident that we will be back. Maybe I’m too pessimistic but with the mutated virus," Wang said. I think it’s only an issue of time that we get another wave. There is currently no known evidence to suggest that the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine will not be effective in combatting new strains of the COVID-19 virus. 

Campus Reform reached out to the University of California Office of the President Media Relations team but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan