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Many Colleges Rethinking Plans to Open Campuses in the Fall Due to Coronavirus

Many Colleges Rethinking Plans to Open Campuses in the Fall Due to Coronavirus

“A daily drumbeat of announcements from colleges – large and small, public and private, on the coasts and in the heartland – that they are postponing opening dates”

This is going to be such a mess. Students are going to have to make back-up plans in case schools change their policy at the last minute.

Forbes reports:

More Colleges Revise Fall Plans. Among The Latest: American University, Penn, William And Mary, And Ohio University

August is traditionally the month when colleges begin to welcome new and returning students to campus. It’s one of the most upbeat moments in the rhythm of the academic calendar – novel, noisy, and nervous. This year, however, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, August is more likely to be remembered as the month when colleges went eerily silent, forced to accept the reality that not only has the virus not receded enough to allow safe re-openings of campus, its transmission has surged once again.

The result? A daily drumbeat of announcements from colleges – large and small, public and private, on the coasts and in the heartland – that they are postponing opening dates, converting from in-person to on-line instruction, or limiting how many students could be on campus.

Early last week, several major universities, including Duke, Miami University, West Virginia, Washington State, and George Washington, announced they were pulling back from their original reopening plans. By week’s end, several more institutions revealed they were also revising their approach.


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” This year, however, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, August is more …”
RAGE? Seriously?

Hieronymous Machine | August 3, 2020 at 9:27 am

It’s disastrous. And must like the middle-class, the middle classes get squeezed.
Yale: Frosh, juniors, and seniors can live on campus. (Sophomores, who are already “invested” in their education, SOL). Even so, “Nearly all Yale College courses will be taught remotely.”

My undergrad dean once opined, “80% of learning takes place outside the classroom.” I don’t think she meant “in your mother’s basement.” College tuition covers not just tutelage, but the gym, the speakers, the converts, the plays, student productions, the museums, and so on. I don’t see any “remote learning” discount.

Harvard: Frosh and students who have been approved to return due to inadequate conditions for learning in their home environment, will be invited to return to campus for the Fall 2020 term.

In many colleges, no int’l students will be allowed to return to the U.S. Those who got stuck here last semester dare not return to their home countries (or cannot).

A young person I know, 3 days after securing an apartment lease and 6 hours after sending her first tuition installment–because deadline–learned that her campus would allow *no* students on campus. Nice. Moreover, what kind of a “freshman experience” does that make for? Freshman year is where life-long friendships are created and cemented. Tough, via Zoom, to create random opportunity for connection–or rush a singing group, explore the tunnels, brush against a prospect at a rave or catch the eye of that cute guy loitering near the library’s PR 2751 section…

While there may be Zoom mixers (BYO martini) in the “faculty lounge” channel, attendees already know each other. What do students do?

Another young person I know took a gap year but, because she missed the official “deadline,” has been “invited” to reapply next year.

A third young person I know will have a “hybrid” on and off campus experience. How does *that* work from a dorm perspective?

It’s a mess. And, yes, I have joined the que sera crowd: I believe *everyone* will eventually be infected or, at the very least, the virus will *never* go away; hence, “suck it up” (both figuratively and literally.) “Flattening the curve” (i.e., moderating the rate of ER intake) has become “control the masses,” whether governmentally (Orwell) or socially (Huxley).

The upside is that this will – hopefully – provide the first round of culling to so many unnecessary and malignant schools. Unfortunately, the schools suffering the most financially are NOT the most malignant, as those tend to have large endowments. But at least the industry will have to deal with serious financial pressure, which may (again, hopefully) some pressure for them to do more educating and less politicizing. The downside is that this is one HECK of a time to be trying to get a kid ready to go. Yikes.

Hieronymous Machine | August 3, 2020 at 9:37 am

A “bar chart race” about elementary/secondary schools, tangential but instructive (and outrageous) in its own right:


nordic_prince | August 3, 2020 at 9:44 am

With all the virus nonsense, good thing my kid is in boot camp, and wasn’t planning on starting college until next year. Most of her classmates were going straight to college, but who knows these days.

The fatality rate (per capita) for this virus still hasn’t approached that of the Swine Flu or the Hong Kong flu, which we treated more rationally. In a decade, economists and historians (if any real historians are left) will look back and say that killing the economy, in a futile attempt to stop the virus, was a bad move.

Sweden didn’t kill its economy, but it told the old and sick (generally retired anyway) to use social distancing to avoid the virus. Now, Sweden is down to about 2 deaths per day, and the pandemic has pretty much run its course.

For the rest of the world that closed down, we will continue to have flareups until pretty much everyone has been exposed, just like in Sweden. The difference is that we stretched it out, extending the time scale of the pandemic, and wrecked our economy.

Our society has become too risk-averse and incapable of assessing relative risks. For example, most people think nuclear power plants are more risky than coal-fired power plants (actually, the nukes result in far fewer deaths). Colleges are among the most risk-averse organizations. So it’s not surprising that many will fail to open this Fall, even if it bankrupts them.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to OldProf2. | August 4, 2020 at 12:14 am

    They are not trying to “kill” a virus.

    They are the communist coup plotters and will receive the traditional traitor”s punishment……

I think this is about causing more pain to parents to cause election pain for Trump, just like the rest of the lockdown continuations. There is no reason not to have in-person instruction, 18-22 year olds are not significant vectors of covid-19.

    OldProf2 in reply to randian. | August 3, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Exactly right. The Dems blame Trump for every death, and they blame him for all of the inconveniences of shutting down.