In-Depth: San Diego Community College District announces plan for mostly virtual learning in fall

Just 8.5% of classes will be fully in-person
Posted at 5:56 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 10:26:39-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When the San Diego Community College District resumes classes for the fall 2021 school year, the majority of students will still be doing online learning.

"We are an organization that is deliberate in what we do, rather than dramatic," says SDCCD Chancellor Dr. Constance Carroll.

The district released their plan Wednesday, planning for an average of just 8.5% of all classes to return to complete in-person learning in the fall.

Hybrid learning will account for 13.9% of classes.

Virtual-only learning will make up 77.5% of classes.

"We feel confident that ours is a secure and solid plan that both serves the public and our students and keeps them safe and healthy," says Dr. Carroll.

She says surveys of students and employees showed a near-even split among those who wanted in-person, hybrid, and virtual learning. Dr. Carroll says that feedback helped guide the district as they made their plans for the fall.

The pandemic forced community colleges to close nearly all of their in-person classes for more than the last year. During that time, enrollment in California Community Colleges dropped by double digits.

RELATED: San Diego Community College enrollment plummets during pandemic

One reason for the decline was students' issues with online learning.

Dr. Carroll says those problems have been worked out, with schools giving out laptops and internet hotspots to make virtual learning easier. She says most students are used to it and won't be deterred by virtual classes in the fall.

"It's an acquired taste," she says. "In the beginning, students were disenfranchised ... Now they're used to it."

Dr. Carroll says plans are still fluid and will change as the pandemic eases. She anticipates about 25% of all classes will have some form of in-person learning when the fall semester begins.

In the meantime, she's hopeful the district can return to full in-person learning by next spring.

"It would be nice to have the campuses vibrant again because learning is, in the end, a social type of activity," says Dr. Carroll.