California's state university system, which includes 23 schools and is the largest in the nation, announced Tuesday that it would cancel all in-person classes for the fall semester due to the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.
Fall classes for California State University campuses are not scheduled to begin until September.
"Our university, when open without restrictions and fully in person, as is the traditional norm of the past, is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity with each other on a daily basis," Chancellor Timothy White said in a statement, according to Reuters. "That approach, sadly, just isn't in the cards now."
There will be some exceptions for students who may need to be on campus. CNN reports:
Potential exceptions at CSU may include nursing students who need clinical training to be on track to get licensed to work in health care, White said, or students who need access to equipment for their training.
Students who need to continue research in labs will also continue forward under rigorous safety standards. White said students may need to work in shifts, wearing personal protective gear.
California's move to cancel in-person classes for the fall reflects an apparent belief that the COVID-19 situation will not improve enough over the next four months to allow for even a cautious or limited return to campus for students.
Liberty University in Virginia was one institution of higher education that allowed students to return to campus after spring break, while many other schools across the nation made students move out. Although the decision sparked fears of an outbreak starting on the campus, that did not happen.
University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said no student or staff member on campus has tested positive for COVID-19, and called his institution the "model" for other institutions in the fall.