University of La Verne classes will remain online through the spring semester 2021, according to Tuesday email from President Devorah Lieberman to the campus community.
The University has been conducting all online classes since mid-March, when lockdowns went into effect in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The University will continue to offer limited dormitory housing to students who need it, and the return of some sports will be guided by the NCAA and Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference guidelines, which are still evolving, the president said in the Tuesday message.
The decision to stay online through the end of the academic year is based on health department guidelines and the University’s abundance of caution at a time when cases of coronavirus in the U.S. have reached more than 10.5 million with deaths at nearly 250,000.
In California cases have reached nearly 1 million, with death in the state at over 18,000.
University spokesman Rod Leveque, who is also a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet, said the Cabinet has been taking suggestions from different university committees about the plan for the upcoming spring semester.
“L.A. County is still in tier one, which means the virus is widespread,” Leveque said. “Based on these requirements we are not able to have any amount of people in a classroom environment.”
Los Angeles County has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Across the state there has been an average of 1,100 new positive cases in the last 14 days, according to the governor’s COVID-19 tracking website.
Cody Norman, a graduate student in the business administration, leadership and management program was not too happy about another all online semester.
“At first I struggled with the online classes,” Norman said. “It’s not the same level of education, and I don’t think the school should be charging the same amount of tuition because the education is not the same.”
Norman, who earned his bachelor’s degree at ULV last spring, was not able to celebrate his graduation the usual way. He got his diploma in the mail, and he said it felt as if it was just a piece of paper.
Becca Fischer, junior computer science major from Anchorage, Alaska, is also disappointed about another semester online.
“I feel that I am not learning as well as I would be in person,” Fischer said, who added that she’d committed to off-campus housing in California before knowing the entire school year was going to be online. “I would have considered staying home, but now I am locked in a year-long living commitment and now there is not going to be in-person learning.”
Younger students, like Danielle Bennett, sophomore kinesiology major, feel they are missing out on the college experience.
“My first semester last fall was so fun and now I don’t get to see any of my friends,” Bennett said. “And it will probably feel weird once we actually get back to in-person classes. It’s even worse for freshmen and transfers because they do not have a clue how La Verne actually is, and I feel bad for them.”
Jacob Barriga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.