May 28, 2020
The question for administrators of the nation’s roughly 6,000 colleges and 100,000 schools is not whether to reopen in August, but how to do it safely. Most are working overtime to get ready for the surest sign that American life is regaining its rhythm: 70 million students going back to school.
Purdue University, the University of South Carolina, Rice University, Creighton University and the University of Notre Dame will finish in-person classes before Thanksgiving to avoid further spread of COVID-19 during flu season. Vanderbilt University will require face masks in classrooms. To make social distancing easier, colleges are rescheduling classrooms usually empty in early mornings, evenings, weekends and summer. Concerts and parties are out. Grab-and-go meal options, flu shots, and temperature checks are in. Almost all of Tennessee’s 127 higher education institutions will open in person, but they want governments to create liability protection against being sued if a student becomes sick. Campuses will offer more online courses. Bucking the trend, California’s state system will offer most of its courses only online.