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California maritime academy gets OK to start limited in-person classes

The California Maritime State University Academy in Vallejo, Calif. The Academy has received permission from the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom to resume limited in-person classes this semester.
The California Maritime State University Academy in Vallejo, Calif. The Academy has received permission from the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom to resume limited in-person classes this semester.
(Associated Press)

California Maritime State University Academy has received permission to resume limited in-person classes this semester and hopes to send 350 students and staff on its annual summer training cruise — a graduation requirement for cadets, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Cal Maritime is a specialized campus of California State University offering licensed and non-licensed degree programs serving the maritime industry, including training ships’ officers. The move to reopen it comes as California’s other public colleges remain in remote learning mode.

Cal Maritime President Thomas Cropper said in a letter to the Vallejo campus Friday that the approval is for “a limited reopening of our campus to resume face-to-face instruction” for completion of the spring 2020 semester.

“This decision was run through the Chancellor’s Office and various internal entities of the governor’s office, including the State Department of Public Health, who provided additional guidance consistent with our current plan,” Cropper said.

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Jesse Melgar, press secretary for Gov. Gavin Newsom, said the school is the only academy of its kind in the state.

“The CSU Maritime Academy trains merchant marines, and the maritime workforce is required for shipping and logistics,” Melgar said.

Class-action lawsuits say the UC and Cal State systems have refused to refund unused portions of fees for services that students aren’t using.

The administration has set conditions including strict, unique health and safety guidelines that must be met for the academy to resume limited in-person instruction after May 10, Melgar said.

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The Chronicle reported that the two-month training cruise could begin in June.

The uniqueness of the school was also cited by Bob Arp, Cal Maritime’s vice president for university advancement.

“Being a maritime academy, much of the curriculum can only be completed face to face,” Arp said.

Arp said each student will have their own room, food delivered to dorms and medical screenings. Social distancing will be practiced during classes and when that’s not possible, students will wear protective gear, he said.

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Cal State Fullerton says that amid coronavirus uncertainty it will prepare to start the fall semester with online instruction. Will other campuses follow suit?

Arp said the training ship is exempt from the no-sail order issued by the Centers for Disease Control for commercial passenger cruises.

The training cruise remains tentative and the crew would be quarantined for seven days aboard ship at dock before sailing, he said.


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