Skip school or start college in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic? SFSU president weighs in

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Graduating seniors wearing a cap and gown taking their last picture at school has been a familiar scene.

Just as they face uncertain times, so do some of their younger classmates who are not sure what the fall will bring.

Minna Mughal just completed her sophomore year at the University of San Francisco. "I don't know how to plan, I'm 20 so I have to get started on my life," she said.

How are others students feeling about continuing with online learning? Take the California State University system which was the first to announce it will continue to teach students remotely in the fall.

RELATED: Cal State closure: CSU campuses closed to students, online instruction to continue through fall semester

In a survey, 790 students were asked if they plan to stay or transfer. 62% said they would stay, 37% were undecided and 2% planned to leave.

In fact, not all colleges within the California State University system are on board with online learning. For example, in a letter addressed to students already accepted to Cal Poly, the university wrote, "Our Learn by Doing model is strong and we continue to make plans to deliver that experience in person this fall where possible."

Mughal has a leave of absence letter ready to fill out in case she decides to take a gap year.

"At that point I can maybe do an internship and maybe give my education a little break," she added.

The president of San Francisco State University is not recommending that students there take a gap year for fear they might step off the academic ladder.

RELATED: California State University chancellor explains reasoning behind decision to hold virtual classes this fall

"They generally often are the first in their family to go to school, go to college and a pause in their education can sometimes mean they don't return," explained Lynn Mahoney.

Most four-year colleges are expecting to see a decline in enrollment in the fall, but not community colleges. In times of economic downturn their numbers tend to go up.

Some college advisors are telling clients if online classes are the only option, a community college may be a smart investment.

RELATED: Some SF State student services could suffer from budget cuts due to coronavirus, university president says

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