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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

Schools Map the Covid College Experience

The New York Times: "Fever checkpoints at the entrances to academic buildings. One-way paths across the grassy quad. Face masks required in classrooms and dining halls. And a dormitory-turned-quarantine facility for any students exposed to the coronavirus. That was one vision for the fall semester at the University of Kentucky conjured up by a special committee last week — and not the most dystopian scenario ... Similar discussions have taken place at almost every American college and university over the last few weeks, as administrators fiercely debate whether they can safely reopen their campuses, even as most provide students with encouraging messages about the prospects of returning in the fall."

"Notre Dame became one of the first major universities in the country to announce detailed plans for bringing back students, saying it would implement a regimen of testing and contact tracing, put quarantine and isolation protocols in place, and require students to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public. Notre Dame’s decision is in contrast to an announcement last week by the California State University system, which will keep its 23 campuses largely shut and teach nearly half a million students remotely. Most other universities have said they are planning to reopen in the fall, but have yet to announce specific plans."

"Notre Dame said it would start the fall semester on Aug. 10, two weeks early, and end it before Thanksgiving, forgoing fall break. South Carolina made a similar announcement, saying it would also skip fall break and switch to remote instruction after Thanksgiving. In Kentucky, the teams debated similar ideas, talking about reconfiguring the traditional 16-week semester in a number of ways: Split it into two eight-week half-semesters, or go for 12 weeks plus four weeks, or even five, five and five. Such changes would allow for maximum flexibility, proponents of the various scenarios said, in case another outbreak forced administrators to send students home again for virtual instruction, as they did in March."

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