Ashley A. Smith
September 3, 2020
Chico State University stands as a warning to college campuses across California that offer some classes in-person and open dorms to even a few students: despite all of their plans and significantly cutting back the number of people on campus, the coronavirus pandemic can still force universities to shut down and send students off campus.
The university re-opened its doors on Aug. 24 for the fall semester to about 750 students in its dorms and those attending in-person essential classes like nursing. The university, a 90-minute drive north of Sacramento with an enrollment of approximately 17,000 students, houses 2,200 people during a normal year.
But on Sunday, President Gayle Hutchinson announced just a week into the semester that the effort to house students and welcome even a few of them on campus had failed, at least for now. “We gave it our best shot,” Hutchinson said, making Chico State the first public university in California to close its dorms this fall after students had moved in.
On Wednesday, just three days after Chico State’s announcement, San Diego State University became the second campus in California to announce it too would cancel in-person classes, at least for four weeks. Starting Sept. 3, all in-person classes will resume virtually and be reassessed for restarting face-to-face by Oct. 5.