BERKELEY (CBS SF) — As the days count down to her departure as head of the University of California system, Janet Napolitano has taken time to reflect on the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on her final year in office.
Like all universities across California and the country, in-person classes were disrupted at the 10-campus, more than 280,000-student UC system by the virus outbreak. Campuses were emptied, students went home or off-campus to continue the academic year online.READ MORE: Building Inspectors Say Chase Center Up To Code After Falls During Phish Concert
In a wide ranging interview with the New York Times Thursday, among the subjects she touched on was the impact the COVID-19 outbreak will have on the education system.
When asked about students considering taking a gap year because they claim they want to experience the on-campus lifestyle, Napolitano — who has been at the helm of the UC system since Sept. 2013 — didn’t mince words with her advice.
“While colleges wouldn’t be normal, the normal reasons to take a gap year don’t exist either,” she told the paper. “What are you going to do? Sit home and bother your parents? No, take some classes. Get on with it.”
At all levels, school officials in California have been trying to chart a course for the fall semester. Will classes remain online? Will there be in-person classes on campuses or in schools? Or will it be a hybrid? Those are the questions educators are trying to answer.
Marin County schools have been experimenting with class configurations to see what will work with the need for social distancing.
Stanford officials, meanwhile, have unveiled a plan that is a hybrid of online and in-class instruction. Under the plan, students would be rotate onto and off-campus by quarters.READ MORE: Family Killed On Hike In Sierra National Forest Died From Extreme Heat
By rotating, most undergrads would be on campus for two quarters, learn remotely for one quarter, and would allow each student on campus to sleep in their own private space, officials said.
Stanford intends to have incoming freshmen and transfer students on campus for the fall quarter and graduating seniors on campus during spring, but the school has not made an official decision.
For students on campus, social distancing will be in place, along with limitations on gatherings. Students will likely be asked not to travel outside the local area or be asked to self-isolate upon returning.
Napolitano believes the UC system will be a mixture of both online and in-house.
“I think more students will have more of a hybrid education — in-person, high-touch, with professors there with them in the classroom, but also more available online,” she told the paper.
When asked to compare her vision with that of the California State Universities System which will be all online this fall, Napolitano said the UC system “will be much less regimented. The campuses will have more in-person offerings and will be repopulating the dorms at least to some degree.”MORE NEWS: Former Oakland Police Captain Wounded During Fatal Shooting At Gas Station
On Aug. 1st, Napolitano will transition from UC president to merely a faculty member at UC’s Goldman School of Public Policy.