Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (4/30/20)

April 28, 2020: “Another possibility would be to use multiple rooms for a single class, with the faculty member in one of the rooms and the class broadcast live to the other rooms. The faculty member could rotate through the rooms each time the class meets in order to provide a more personal experience…. Theatre departments will have to change their play selection, choosing plays without intimate scenes…. At a minimum schools are considering having teams play without spectators as well as frequent testing of the teams. ” -Lucie Lapovsky, Forbes.

E. Boynton

April 2, 2020: Re switching to modular classes: “No one prefers remote instruction over in-person learning at Beloit [a private liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin], and our in-real-life, grounded community is what makes Beloit the distinctive place it is…. Even if we have to switch to or from remote learning mid-module, that switch will only affect two of your total units for fewer than seven weeks of time…. Being able to tackle just two courses in shorter bursts of time (as opposed to four-plus courses over four months) is going to help us all (faculty and administrators included!) be better able to succeed in our educational aims.” -Eric Boynton, Provost & Dean, et al., Beloit College. 

April 23, 2020: “Nearly one in six graduating seniors, according to a poll by the Baltimore-based Art & Science Group, now indicate that due to the coronavirus pandemic, they will likely revise their plans of attending a four-year college in the fall and take a gap year.” … Rachel Lott, another high school senior from Evanston, Illinois, [said], ‘Online classes are nowhere near as impactful in my opinion, just based on e-learning now, as classes in person.’ … In addition, 63% of graduating seniors are uncertain whether they will be able to attend their first school choice in the fall, with 21% of these students indicating that it was no longer affordable, and 12% citing personal or family health reasons…. ‘I don’t want to end up watching lectures and attending class at 4 a.m. on Zoom because of the time difference,’ said [Heather Shieh, a student from Melbourne, Australia, who was accepted to The University of Pennsylvania].” -Arielle Mitropoulos & Andy Fies, ABC News.

April 27, 2020. “Students … are, unlike many other adults, encouraged into these droplet-swapping arrangements on a regular basis, because of classes, dining halls, clubs, sports, and randomized dorm assignments. Without the mixing … a university education can be little more than a very expensive library card…. A single COVID-19 case could turn a college dorm into a small landlocked cruise ship, and the university will probably have to quarantine or otherwise isolate whole floors, perhaps whole dorms, at a time, or designate some for recovery…. A university might reasonably ask its students to practice heavy-duty self-quarantine for their first and last weeks of term, so that they don’t bring the virus with them or carry it home, and commit not to leave campus unnecessarily in between…. Residents of college towns will see tens of thousands of people arrive all at once, and some significant number of them will have the virus…. And when students go home, which university will be willing to suffer the mortification of being known as the campus that became a petri dish, then sent its infected students back to kill a dozen grandparents over Christmas?… A college without significant intellectual and social mingling is not much of a college. But some students might put up with that, in return for a lower risk of an early death for themselves and others.” -Graeme Wood, The Atlantic.

J. Ryan

April 23, 2020. James E. Ryan, President, University of Virginia: “U-Va. could start classes on Aug. 25 as scheduled, with students in Charlottesville but under new social distancing restrictions to guard public health. It could delay the semester and plan to open in person some weeks later. Or it could launch the school year without students on campus and teach remotely until circumstances allow a return…. The most immediate question is how long higher education leaders can wait to make a decision. Several estimated they have until mid-June. Yale University President Peter Salovey said the school will make the call by early July…. ‘When people pay tuition, they are paying for credit, ultimately, for a degree,’ said [Jay A. Perman, chancellor of the University System of Maryland]. The system will continue to provide that, he said, with a quality education regardless of format.'” –Nick Anderson, Washington Post.

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