Berkeley summer classes go online, even with widespread vaccinations predicted by spring

The University of California-Berkeley recently announced its plans for Summer 2021 classes.

The decision comes as two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and expected to be widely available by the beginning of the summer.

The University of California-Berkeley made the decision to continue primarily online courses not only during the spring 2021 semester but into the summer 2021 semester as well.

“Due to ongoing complications and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are writing to share that UC Berkeley will continue remote delivery of instruction through Summer 2021,” read the December 4 announcement. “It is our hope that this decision will allow you sufficient time to update your summer schedule appropriately and prepare to offer high quality remote summer courses, as well as provide UC Berkeley students some certainty when planning their summer coursework.”

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It went on to say there may be an “opportunity for a limited number of face-to-face courses” and that there will be a process for granting in-person exceptions for summer courses. 

The decision comes as Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar predicted that there would be enough of a COVID-19 vaccine for general public vaccination campaigns by spring 2021. 

Azar told NBC News that there should be “enough for all Americans by the end of March to early April to have general vaccination programs.”

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UC-Berkeley Senior Director of Strategic Communications Janet Gilmore told Campus Reform that the plans are not subject to change due to vaccine availability.

“While the campus consults with our own experts and professionals on campus, we first and foremost follow public health orders. Given the current public health guidelines and orders, and that we had to make a decision now as we plan for summer instruction,” said Gilmore. “They decided Summer Sessions will be fully remote.  We do not anticipate the vaccine changing that decision as it would place an undue burden on students and faculty needing to relocate to the Berkeley area for face-to-face courses, secure housing, and other issues such as child/elder care, etc.” 

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