Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (5/4/20)

R. Robbins

May 4, 2020: “University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins plans to resume in-person classes on Aug. 24 and says that all students, faculty and staff will be tested for COVID-19…. ‘Our plan is to test, trace and treat to present our campus community a flexible and adaptive teaching and learning environment,’ Robbins says. ‘There are many factors that remain beyond our control. However, we are tackling what is within our control to ensure our students have the opportunity for a full on-campus experience.'” -Matt Zalaznick, University Business.

May 4, 2020. “Colleges and universities are also adapting their curricula to the new normal…. training programs are being planned for people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic lockdowns or need more training to cope with it. The online learning platform edX, created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, has already launched a course on ventilator use for medical professionals, for instance. Central Ohio Technical College has made more than $1 million in financial aid available for career training for people out of work because of COVID-19. Wake Tech, a community college in North Carolina, is offering online entry-level computer courses to people who have lost their jobs.” -Felicia Mello, CalMatters, and Charlotte West, NBC News. 

May 3, 2020. “An increasing number of California community colleges plan to offer all fall classes online to protect students and staff from the coronavirus. The nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, Santa Monica College, Sierra College, College of the Desert and Santa Rosa Junior College, announced this week most classes will be offered remotely in the fall…. [Sierra College officials:] ‘Making this decision early allows us to better prepare for online learning and gives staff more time to prepare for this format.’ … Santa Monica College … its nearly 3,000 classes would be offered remotely this fall starting Aug. 31. The decision to continue online-only instruction through this fall was based on two factors. Santa Monica officials don’t think a COVID-19 vaccine will be available until 2021 and it would be ‘nearly impossible’ for the campus, which is described as ‘open-access,’ to monitor and identify the differences between people who have the coronavirus and those who have the typical flu. The college will also examine where to offer hybrid courses for those classes that can’t move online…. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Emily Carter, an executive vice chancellor and provost: ‘At a minimum, since we know it might not be possible for some students to safely travel to campus, we plan to offer the option of remote learning at least for fall quarter, even if some classes are held in person.'” -Ashley A. Smith, EdSource.

J. Isselbacher & A. Su

May 3, 2020: “Beyond doubts over the quality of remote learning, students also expressed concerns about losing a semester of opportunities to socialize. ‘The Harvard experience is so much more than just the academics,’ [David A. Paffenholz ’22] said. ‘Being able to be with friends, be on campus, enjoy extracurricular activities, and kind of the other social interactions that happen outside of class are very, very difficult to replicate in an online format.‘ Duke Moon ’23 — who anticipated taking two years off to complete his mandatory military service in South Korea — also said he would miss the social parts of undergraduate life. He wrote in an email that if courses resume online next fall, he would consider taking a leave to maximize the amount of time he could spend with his friends on campus. ‘The time I get to spend with my friends on campus is more valuable than anything else Harvard can possibly offer me, so I’m leaning towards the option of enlisting this fall — that way I can come back in Fall 2022 and have another full year with my friends (they’ll be seniors and I’ll be a sophomore, but that’s fine),’ he wrote.” -Juliet E. Isselbacher and Amanda Y. Su, Harvard Crimson.

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