LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Expressing optimism about COVID-19 vaccines and advancements in virus research, the University of California announced Monday that it is planning to return students to campuses for in-person instruction in the fall.
The 10-campus system, including UCLA and UC Irvine, has been holding primarily remote classes due to the coronavirus pandemic. University officials said they wanted to make an early announcement about fall classes so current and prospective students can plan accordingly.
"As the university continues to monitor the evolution of the pandemic, we are also carefully planning a safe return to in-person classes," UC President Michael Drake said in a statement. "Current forecasters give us hope that in the fall our students can enjoy a more normal on-campus experiences."
Specific plans for resumption of in-person classes, including starting dates and safety protocols, will be announced by individual UC campuses in consultation with their local health authorities.
For now, however, classes will remain primarily remote, although some in-person and hybrid options will be offered for select courses.
Emily Carter, UCLA executive vice chancellor and provost, sent a message to students Monday reaffirming the continuance of remote learning for spring.
"While we celebrate advances like the development, approval and first stages of the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, we also acknowledge that change will not happen overnight," Carter wrote. "At present, the risks posed by the virus remain. In Los Angeles County, the latest surge in cases is straining our region's hospitals, including UCLA's. The UCLA community must continue to do its part to reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of people on campus."