• Beth & Tim Manners

The New York Times: "The fall of 2020 will go down as a period of profound experimentation at colleges and universities transformed into hothouse laboratories. They are trying out wastewater tests, dozens of health-check apps and versions of homegrown contact technologies that log student movement and exposure risk. And they are experimenting with different testing methods that might yield faster results and be easier to administer, such as using saliva instead of nasal swabs."

"Like small island nations with discrete populations, many universities are using methods that cities, states and nations often cannot. The colleges have some authority over relatively captive communities, which are made up of students largely at ease with new technology. Plus, the schools have profound motivation: Their very economic survival depends on people coming to campus safely ... Thousands of positive cases have already been reported on scores of newly reopened campuses."

"These trial-and-error experiments could seed technologies to help the rest of society cope with the pandemic ... An app, known as Covid Watch and developed on a platform built by Apple and Google, anonymously tracks students’ movements using Bluetooth technology; those who download the app will be notified if they have been in proximity to someone who has tested positive ... To grapple with the privacy implications, the university has made use of the app voluntary. The information is kept on personal devices — phones or watches or other Bluetooth-enabled technology — and the users are the ones who would permit a positive test to be shared, with their identities kept secret."

  • Beth & Tim Manners

"A New York Times survey of every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,300 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. And the new academic year has not even begun at most schools ... Of nearly 1,000 institutions contacted by The Times, some had already posted case information online, some provided full or partial numbers and others refused to answer basic questions, citing privacy concerns. Hundreds of colleges did not respond at all. Still, the Times survey represents the most comprehensive look at the toll the virus has already taken on the country’s colleges and universities."

A complete list can be found here.

"Among the colleges that provided information, many offered no details about who contracted the virus, when they became ill or whether a case was connected to a larger outbreak. It is possible that some of the cases were identified months ago, in the early days of the outbreak in the United States before in-person learning was cut short, and that others involved students and employees who had not been on campus recently."

"What is clear is that despite months of planning for a safe return to class, and despite drastic changes to campus life, the virus is already spreading widely at universities. Some institutions, like the California State University system, have moved most fall classes online. Others, including those in the Patriot League and Ivy League, have decided to not hold fall sports. But many institutions still plan to welcome freshmen to campus in the coming days, to hold in-person classes and to host sporting events."

  • Beth & Tim Manners

CBS News: "Delaying college for a year now, during the coronavirus pandemic, could cost members of the class of 2024 about $90,000 in lifetime earnings, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. About half of the longterm earnings losses comes from forgoing the $43,000 salary that new graduates typically earn in their first year of work after graduation ... Wage increases are steeper at the beginning of young professionals' careers — the graduate who earns their degree at age 22 can, by the time they are 25, expect to earn an average of $52,000 ... But the graduate who starts working a year later, would, by age 25, only be earning $49,000 with two, versus three years of professional experience under their belts. And so on and so forth in following years — all the way to retirement age."

"These disparities exist even during non-COVID-19 times. But the pandemic has made them more acute because the global spread of the novel coronavirus has lowered what economists call the 'opportunity cost' of going to college — or what you give up to be in school. That's in part because unemployment has soared since the pandemic hit, effectively eliminating the job opportunities that high school graduates could normally pursue as an alternative to college. Non-college degree holders in particular have faced some of the highest rates of unemployment: About one quarter of young workers without a college degree were unemployed in the months following the onset of the pandemic."

"For simplicity's sake, the Fed researchers assumed that students give up no opportunities by going to college right now. That drives up the rate of return for a bachelor's degree to 17%, from 14% in normal times.Another way of stating that: For every dollar you spend on a degree, you'd earn $1.17 on the investment. For those students who delay college by a year, the return on the investment drops to 13%, the economists found."