LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Distance learning will continue into the new year for Cal State University campuses and Long Beach schools.

California State University’s 23 campuses will stay mostly online into the academic term starting in January, Chancellor Timothy White said.

“This decision is the only responsible one available to us at this time,” he said. “and it is the only one that supports our twin North Stars of safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of our faculty, staff, students and communities, as well as enabling degree progression for the largest number of students.

White said the decision was made “after extensive consultation with campus presidents and other stakeholders” and with regard to the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(credit: Tom Zasadzinski/Cal Poly Pomona)

College campuses that have reopened across the country are struggling with a rising number of positive coronavirus cases. Some have opted to remain open, but others have reverted to distance learning. Locally, USC is also dealing with an outbreak of more than 100 cases, mostly involving students who live off-campus.

CSU’s Chancellor’s Office is in Long Beach, where local schools will also continue virtual learning through Jan. 28. Long Beach Unified Superintendent Jill Baker acknowledged that health data had stabilized but it still presents a significant challenge to return students to in-person learning.

“One of the hardest things about navigating through this pandemic is that we cannot see its end. The never-ending feeling is hard on all of us as we try to make decisions in the best interest of our students, while protecting everyone’s health and safety,” she said in a video message.

Los Angeles County, where Long Beach is located, remains on the state’s purple tier, noting that the spread of COVID-19 remains widespread. Neighboring Orange County moved from the purple tier Tuesday to the less severe red tier and has begun reopening more businesses like movie theaters. The county also gave the Los Alamitos Unified School District a waiver to reopen for in-person learning.

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