Brown Prez: Campuses Must Re-Open
Christina Paxson: "The extent of the crisis in higher education will become evident in September. The basic business model for most colleges and universities is simple — tuition comes due twice a year at the beginning of each semester. Most colleges and universities are tuition dependent. Remaining closed in the fall means losing as much as half of our revenue. This loss, only a part of which might be recouped through online courses, would be catastrophic, especially for the many institutions that were in precarious financial positions before the pandemic. It’s not a question of whether institutions will be forced to permanently close, it’s how many." "Institutions should develop public health plans now that build on three basic elements of controlling the spread of infection: test, trace and separate. These plans must be based on the reality that there will be upticks or resurgences in infection until a vaccine is developed, even after we succeed in flattening the curve. We can’t simply send students home and shift to remote learning every time this happens. Colleges and universities must be able to safely handle the possibility of infection on campus while maintaining the continuity of their core academic functions." "All campuses must be able to conduct rapid testing for the coronavirus for all students, when they first arrive on campus and at regular intervals throughout the year ... Several states are working to adapt mobile apps created by private companies to trace the spread of disease, and colleges and universities can play a role by collaborating with their state health departments and rolling out tracing technology on their campuses ... Testing and tracing will be useful only if students who are ill or who have been exposed to the virus can be separated from others. Traditional dormitories with shared bedrooms and bathrooms are not adequate. Setting aside appropriate spaces for isolation and quarantine (e.g. hotel rooms) may be costly, but necessary."