Should Colleges Reopen for In-Person Classes This Fall?
Should colleges reopen their classrooms this fall?
by Causes | 7.23.20
As we inch closer to the fall, colleges are scrambling to finalize their plans for the 2020-2021 academic year—plans which may be changing as America experiences a surge of COVID-19 infections.
Read on to learn about the three major models that schools are considering.
A few schools, many of which are religious institutions, are returning to in-person instruction as early as late August.
- Central Christian College of the Bible in Missouri says it has enough space on campus for social distancing.
- Boston College promises to accommodate students and faculty who can't return to campus with remote learning options.
Some schools have committed to fully remote instruction until the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
- The California State University system - the largest four-year public university system in the U.S. - is keeping its 23 campuses closed over fears of a second wave of COVID-19.
- The University of Southern California (USC) - which had originally planned to reopen its campus in August for a mixture of online and in-person classes - has since committed to entirely remote instruction.
Perhaps the most common approach, at least for now, is a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction.
- The University of Washington (UW)—classes with 50 or more students will be taught remotely while small classes will meet in large rooms to maintain social distancing.
- Dartmouth College in New Hampshire—allowing about half of its undergraduate student body to campus in each term during the 2020-2021 academic year while the other half of the undergraduate student body learns via remote instruction.
New living arrangements
Classrooms aren't the only concern for colleges this fall—dorms have long been acknowledged to be a vector of disease transmission on campuses. Accordingly, schools are considering creative ways to mitigate risk in student housing.
- The University of Maryland, Colorado Mountain College, and Oregon State University are among the colleges reducing dorm occupancy to singles or doubles.
- Florida A&M will have students take scheduled showers in order to enforce social distancing in bathrooms. Similarly, Boston University will allow only three to four people to be scheduled to use bathrooms in larger residential halls at a time.
- Hamilton College in New York and the University of New Mexico are among the colleges prohibiting guests from entering residence halls.
- Wellesley College in Massachusetts is offering some upperclassmen housing in local hotels so that students can socialize with each other even while working remotely. Other schools looking into hotel options to expand student housing include Duke University, Northwestern, and the University of Pittsburgh.
Campus dining evolves
On-campus dining must also evolve to minimize COVID-19 risk.
Among the changes schools are implementing: contactless payment methods, extending dining hall hours, adopting disposable paperware, and shifting to takeout-only dining.
Sound off: should college students return to campuses this fall?
Let us know in the comments: should college students return to in-person instruction on campuses this fall? If you're a current college student, what is your school doing? If you're the parent of a current college student, do you want your child returning to their college campus?
(Image Credit: iStockphoto.com / kzenon)
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