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L.A. County Colleges and Universities Must Continue Distance Learning

Cal State L.A. Student Union. – Courtesy photo / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) announced Wednesday that Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) would need to limit campus activities in the near term, as community transmission rates remain high. These higher rates are driven, in part, by younger people between 18 to 30 years old who currently account for 25% to 30% of new infections.

Colleges and universities in Los Angeles County may continue their essential operations, but most academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning. Institutions may continue to offer in person training and instruction only for students who are or will become part of the essential workforce and only for required activities that cannot be accomplished through virtual learning. All other academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning. Faculty and other staff may be on campus for the purpose of providing distance learning and maintaining minimum basic operations

Colleges and universities should limit their on-campus student residency to only providing housing for students who have no alternative housing options.

Collegiate sports may only proceed in compliance with all the California Department of Public Health Specific Interim Guidance for Collegiate Athletics.

Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health, said the “postponement means that we will continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and get to the point where we can return to campus when rates of community transmission are lower. Colleges and universities are an important driver of innovation, cultural vibrancy, and economic activity in the county. At the same time, the very nature of the way that colleges and universities operate creates a significant risk of outbreaks of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff. And these risks extend beyond campus into the broader community. That is why we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to limit the reopening of these important institutions.”

The announcement comes after the Pac-12 announced that it would postpone games due to the pandemic.

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