Education

Archive of Live Coronavirus Updates

(The latest developments on the impact of the coronavirus in higher ed can be found here.)

6:23 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

Cal State Will Be Online Again in the Spring

California State University, one of America’s largest public-university systems, will conduct instruction mostly online again in the spring semester, the chancellor, Timothy P. White, announced on Thursday. “This decision is the only responsible one available to us at this time,” White wrote.

Cal State was among the very first institutions of higher education to announce it would be primarily online this fall. According to White, making that decision in May allowed the university’s faculty to successfully plan for online teaching, yet didn’t put a dent in the system’s enrollment. White wrote that preliminary enrollment figures for the fall are “strong across the system, with a few exceptions.”

“This is quite gratifying,” he added, “and it will be to the great benefit of our future alumni and the state of California in the years and decades ahead.” —Andy Thomason

6:06 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Minnesota Cuts 4 Sports

5:10 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Michigan Strikes Intensify

A strike of University of Michigan at Ann Arbor graduate assistants over Covid-19 safety concerns intensified on Thursday as a group of student dining workers announced they would also walk off the job the following day. The action would follow a strike of about 100 resident advisers who sought safety protections and hazard pay.

The dining workers are asking for more-frequent testing of all staff members, more-lenient attendance policies until the group determines it’s safe to return to work, and “a clear and transparent sanitation plan which is consistently enforced by management,” according to the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.

The union that represents the university’s graduate assistants, the Graduate Employees’ Organization, announced on Labor Day that members would strike. Since then they’ve been picketing — while socially distanced and wearing masks — over several demands, including randomized testing of students, better representation in pandemic decision-making, and time-to-degree extensions.

Faculty Senate members are scheduled next week to consider votes of no confidence in both the university’s reopening plan and President Mark S. Schlissel. “Staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty have exhausted all channels of communication to express their grave concerns about reopening plans,” states one of the no-confidence motions, “and President Schlissel has shown little substantial changes in policy in response to expressed concerns.” —Vimal Patel

1:59 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

Va. Colleges No Longer Using Unproven Provider for Covid Testing

After a Chronicle article last month raised questions about Kallaco — an unproven new provider of Covid-19 tests — some colleges in Virginia are backing away from the firm. The College of William & Mary’s website now states that “we have changed labs until we have a clearer answer” about whether the tests had full FDA authorization. Although the college will no longer use Kallaco’s lab partner for its tests, Kallaco will still handle “shipping and logistics,” according to the website.

George Mason University, which also hired Kallaco for Covid-19 testing, recently announced that it had used up all of its Kallaco testing kits, and will not be ordering more. Read The Chronicle’s story from last month. —Michael Vasquez

11:53 a.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Wisconsin at Whitewater Leader: ‘It’s Probably Too Late’

The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater’s interim chancellor told the Whitewater City Council on Wednesday that his university was “not far behind” the Madison flagship, referencing the campus’s decision to move classes online for two weeks. The Janesville Gazette reports that Greg Cook told city leaders, “I actually fear it’s probably too late. We should have done this over a month ago,” he said, seeming to cite Madison’s decision to move online. According to the university’s coronavirus dashboard, it reported 69 positive diagnoses among students this week. —Andy Thomason

11:37 a.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Wisconsin Moves Classes Online for 2 Weeks After Outbreaks

The University of Wisconsin at Madison announced on Thursday that it would move classes online for two weeks after a series of Covid-19 outbreaks among students, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. The university will also quarantine all students in two of its largest dorms. “I share the disappointment and frustration of students and employees who had hoped we might enjoy these first few weeks of the academic year together,” said the chancellor, Rebecca Blank. The university has tallied more than 1,000 Covid-19 infections since the semester began last week. —Andy Thomason

5 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

At Least 46 Outbreaks Tied to U. of Wisconsin

At least 46 outbreaks of Covid-19 have been tied to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a county leader wrote to university officials on Wednesday. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Dane County executive, Joe Parisi, urged the university to increase testing and quarantine capacity, triple the number of contact tracers it employs, and consider sending home students currently living in residence halls. The letter was disclosed the same day that the local public-health agency advised anyone who lives or works in downtown Madison to “assume you were exposed to Covid-19.” —Andy Thomason

4:19 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Over 2,000 in Quarantine at U. of Tennessee

More than 2,000 people — a majority of them students — are in quarantine at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the count of active Covid-19 cases stands at 600, the university’s chancellor said on Tuesday, CNN reports. “Our case counts are going up way too fast,” said the chancellor, Donde Plowman, “and we will need more drastic measures to stop the upward trajectory.”

Also on Wednesday the university informed residents of one of its dorms that they would need to relocate to make room for isolation space for students who have tested positive. —Andy Thomason

4:11 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

U. of Georgia Reports Over 1,400 Cases in One Week

The University of Georgia logged more than 1,400 student cases of Covid-19 last week, the university disclosed on Wednesday. According to The Red & Black, the university’s student newspaper, the new data bring the cumulative number of cases at the university to 3,045 since the start of the pandemic. —Andy Thomason

1:49 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Bradley U. Mandates All-Student Quarantine for 2 Weeks

Bradley University on Tuesday required all students to quarantine in their residences for two weeks, the president, Stephen Standifird, announced in a video message. Standifird said that the Illinois university had observed among students a concerning lack of compliance with safety protocols, and that more than 500 students were already in quarantine due to several dozen positive diagnoses. Students are allowed to engage in “only the most essential activities,” Standifird said, and all classes will be conducted remotely for the two-week period. Standifird said violations of the quarantine would “not be tolerated” and could result in disciplinary action. —Andy Thomason

1:17 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Universities Are Already Planning for Spring

Two universities said on Tuesday that they would stick with their current hybrid instructional plans into the spring semester as long as public-health conditions allowed for some in-person learning. The University of Connecticut told employees that it would use “a mix of virtual and in-person formats” for learning in the spring, according to the student newspaper, The Daily Campus. Similarly, Pennsylvania State University’s provost wrote in a message to the campus that it would continue its hybrid model into the spring. —Andy Thomason

1:01 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Football Game Postponed After 38 Louisiana Tech Players Test Positive

A Saturday football game between Baylor University and Louisiana Tech University was postponed after Louisiana Tech said 38 of its players had tested positive for Covid-19, CBS Sports reports. Louisiana Tech’s athletics director, Tommy McClelland, said a recent hurricane had complicated the program’s safety protocols. “It is obvious that the impact of Hurricane Laura in our community a few weeks ago really sparked our significant increase in numbers,” he said. —Andy Thomason

10:11 a.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Football Player at California U. of Pennsylvania Dies of Covid-19 Complications

Jamain Stephens, a defensive lineman at California University of Pennsylvania, died on Tuesday “after suffering from complications of Covid-19,” according to the high school he attended. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Stephens, the son of a retired NFL player, was a senior and business-administration major at the university. In a news release, the university’s athletics director, Karen Hjerpe, called Stephens “a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him.”

In July the university’s athletics conference postponed fall sports in response to the coronavirus, and the university is operating remotely this semester. —Andy Thomason

4:37 p.m. Eastern, 9/8/2020

Indiana U. Reports Over 1,300 Cases of Covid-19

Indiana University on Tuesday said it had logged more than 1,300 cases of Covid-19 since August 22, the vast majority of which occurred on the flagship Bloomington campus. The university published the new data on its coronavirus dashboard and added that “predominantly those identified as positive are not getting very sick.” —Andy Thomason

1:24 p.m. Eastern, 9/8/2020

Over 700 Florida State U. Students Tested Positive in One Week

More than 700 students at Florida State University tested positive for Covid-19 last week, bringing the cumulative number of student cases to 839 since the start of August, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The New York Times on Tuesday reported that the Tallahassee metro area currently registers the eighth-biggest spike in per-capita cases nationwide. —Andy Thomason

1:15 p.m. Eastern, 9/8/2020

University Spokesman to NYT: Can I Ethically Promote Reopening?

An anonymous submitter to The New York Times’s “The Ethicist” column posed an interesting question on Tuesday. Describing himself as “a communications director at a large public university,” the man said he felt his institution’s attempt to welcome more than 40,000 people back to campus was “the opposite of good public-health policy during a pandemic.” Is it ethical for him to continue in his job? Read Kwame Anthony Appiah’s reply. —Andy Thomason

5 p.m. Eastern, 9/7/2020

West Virginia U. Shifts Most Undergraduate Courses Online Until Late September

President E. Gordon Gee of West Virginia University announced on Monday that a majority of the institution’s undergraduate courses would temporarily move online. In a letter to the university community he wrote, “We have been transparent throughout our Return to Campus planning that if we determined the local public-health situation was deteriorating, the university would take swift and immediate action. The time has come to do so on the Morgantown campus.”

Except for courses in the health sciences that require in-person rotations, all undergrad courses will become online only on September 9. Gee added, “If we can reverse the trends and see our numbers improve, we will return to on-campus learning on Monday, September 28.”

2:20 p.m. Eastern, 9/5/2020

Northeastern U. Expels 11 Students for Gathering Inside

Northeastern University dismissed 11 first-year students for the fall semester after they were found gathered in a Boston hotel room in violation of health-safety protocols, the university announced. Some observers, reacting to the news that the students would not have their tuition refunded, criticized the university.

Northeastern has a lot at stake in curbing the spread of the virus: It has been very public about committing more than $50 million to ensure a safe reopening. — Jennifer Ruark

11:55 a.m. Eastern, 9/4/2020

Ohio’s Governor to College Students: ‘We Ask You to Be Careful’

Rising counts of Covid-19 cases at several Ohio universities are prompting concerns across the state. At Ohio State University, more than 1,000 students have tested positive since mid-August, The Lantern reports. At Miami University, which has now recorded more than 800 student cases, campus officials are attributing a recent spike to off-campus partying. And on Thursday, Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, reported on Twitter that 78 cases had been traced to “multiple off-campus parties with students attending from several universities” in Cincinnati.

DeWine said at a news conference that colleges and universities are doing their best to limit off-campus gatherings, according to Cleveland.com. But he made a plea to students: “To our friends in college, we ask you to be careful. While all of us at your age thought we were invincible, you can pass this on.” —Brock Read

11:04 a.m. Eastern, 9/4/2020

Penn State Update: No, a Study Has Not Found Myocarditis in One-Third of Athletes With Covid-19

The statistic was striking: At a local school-board meeting on Monday, a Pennsylvania State University doctor reported that roughly one in three Big Ten athletes who had tested positive for Covid-19 also had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

It was also erroneous. On Thursday the university and the doctor — Wayne Sebastianelli, director of athletics medicine — corrected that number. In fact, Penn State officials said in a written statement, Sebastianelli was citing “initial preliminary data that had been verbally shared by a colleague on a forthcoming study.” The published data, which await peer review, indicated that 15 percent of athletes who had contracted Covid-19 had heart inflammation. —Brock Read

2:06 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

SUNY-Oneonta Sends Students Home After Outbreak

The State University of New York’s Oneonta campus will send its students home and suspend in-person operations, the college announced on Thursday. The decision followed an alarming uptick in cases of Covid-19 — at least 389 since the semester began less than two weeks ago. The move came the day after the college’s president, Barbara Jean Morris, said she did not think its fall reopening plan had fallen short. —Andy Thomason

1:57 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Indiana U. Encourages All Fraternities and Sororities to Close

1:54 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Fauci: Sending Students Home Is ‘Worst Thing You Could Do’

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Wednesday discouraged colleges that have seen Covid-19 outbreaks from sending their students home. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” NBC News reported him as saying. “When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.” —Andy Thomason

1:47 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Penn State Official: One-Third of Athletes With Covid-19 Have Myocarditis

Roughly a third of athletes in the Big Ten Conference who tested positive for Covid-19 appear to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, the Centre Daily Times reported. That statistic came from Pennsylvania State University’s director of athletic medicine, Wayne Sebastianelli, who said at a meeting of the State College Area school board that MRI scans of the athletes had revealed that “30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles [are] inflamed.” Sebastianelli said that revelation had contributed to the Big Ten’s decision to postpone the fall sports season in August. —Nell Gluckman

1:43 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Temple U. Flips Online After Uptick in Cases

Temple University will conduct instruction online for the remainder of the fall semester following an uptick in positive Covid-19 cases, the campus announced on Thursday.

In a letter, Temple’s president and provost expressed disappointment to students — who “told us loud and clear that they wanted to come back to campus” — but said the risks were too great to continue in-person operations. The university had previously suspended most in-person classes, but had said it hoped that suspension would be temporary.

The university is giving students incentives to leave the campus by refunding housing and dining charges for all who depart by September 13, according to the letter. —Lindsay Ellis

4:58 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

Gettysburg College Confines Students to Dorm Rooms in Effort to Stem Spread

Gettysburg College on Tuesday night instructed all students who live on the Pennsylvania campus to quarantine in their dorm rooms until “at least the end of the week,” the Patriot-News reports. The move followed an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases on the campus. According to the newspaper, students have been told that they may leave their rooms only to get food, use the bathroom, or be tested for Covid-19, and that students who break the quarantine will be kicked off campus. All campus buildings have also been closed. —Andy Thomason

4:49 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

U. of Illinois Steps Up Student Discipline After Rise in Cases

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has been lauded as among the universities best equipped to conduct a safe fall semester, is stepping up discipline after a rise in cases of Covid-19. The university said on Wednesday that after an initial and expected rise in positive diagnoses, “the numbers did not go down as predicted.” The university attributed the rise to “unsafe behavior by a number of undergraduate students” and said that in response it would be “intensifying discipline efforts and swiftly removing individuals who have created this risk for the campus and the community.”

The university, which has logged more than 400 new cases since the first day of classes, is instructing students not to socialize even in small groups for the next two weeks. Students who don’t follow the rules could face immediate suspension.

The institution has won praise for its immense testing capacity, more than 10,000 tests per day, allowing it to test all students twice a week. —Andy Thomason

2:11 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

Iowa State President Reverses Plan to Seat 25,000 Fans at Football Opener

6:23 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

Cal State Will Be Online Again in the Spring

California State University, one of America’s largest public-university systems, will conduct instruction mostly online again in the spring semester, the chancellor, Timothy P. White, announced on Thursday. “This decision is the only responsible one available to us at this time,” White wrote.

Cal State was among the very first institutions of higher education to announce it would be primarily online this fall. According to White, making that decision in May allowed the university’s faculty to successfully plan for online teaching, yet didn’t put a dent in the system’s enrollment. White wrote that preliminary enrollment figures for the fall are “strong across the system, with a few exceptions.”

“This is quite gratifying,” he added, “and it will be to the great benefit of our future alumni and the state of California in the years and decades ahead.” —Andy Thomason

6:06 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Minnesota Cuts 4 Sports

5:10 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Michigan Strikes Intensify

A strike of University of Michigan at Ann Arbor graduate assistants over Covid-19 safety concerns intensified on Thursday as a group of student dining workers announced they would also walk off the job the following day. The action would follow a strike of about 100 resident advisers who sought safety protections and hazard pay.

The dining workers are asking for more-frequent testing of all staff members, more-lenient attendance policies until the group determines it’s safe to return to work, and “a clear and transparent sanitation plan which is consistently enforced by management,” according to the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.

The union that represents the university’s graduate assistants, the Graduate Employees’ Organization, announced on Labor Day that members would strike. Since then they’ve been picketing — while socially distanced and wearing masks — over several demands, including randomized testing of students, better representation in pandemic decision-making, and time-to-degree extensions.

Faculty Senate members are scheduled next week to consider votes of no confidence in both the university’s reopening plan and President Mark S. Schlissel. “Staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty have exhausted all channels of communication to express their grave concerns about reopening plans,” states one of the no-confidence motions, “and President Schlissel has shown little substantial changes in policy in response to expressed concerns.” —Vimal Patel

1:59 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

Va. Colleges No Longer Using Unproven Provider for Covid Testing

After a Chronicle article last month raised questions about Kallaco — an unproven new provider of Covid-19 tests — some colleges in Virginia are backing away from the firm. The College of William & Mary’s website now states that “we have changed labs until we have a clearer answer” about whether the tests had full FDA authorization. Although the college will no longer use Kallaco’s lab partner for its tests, Kallaco will still handle “shipping and logistics,” according to the website.

George Mason University, which also hired Kallaco for Covid-19 testing, recently announced that it had used up all of its Kallaco testing kits, and will not be ordering more. Read The Chronicle’s story from last month. —Michael Vasquez

11:53 a.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Wisconsin at Whitewater Leader: ‘It’s Probably Too Late’

The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater’s interim chancellor told the Whitewater City Council on Wednesday that his university was “not far behind” the Madison flagship, referencing the campus’s decision to move classes online for two weeks. The Janesville Gazette reports that Greg Cook told city leaders, “I actually fear it’s probably too late. We should have done this over a month ago,” he said, seeming to cite Madison’s decision to move online. According to the university’s coronavirus dashboard, it reported 69 positive diagnoses among students this week. —Andy Thomason

11:37 a.m. Eastern, 9/10/2020

U. of Wisconsin Moves Classes Online for 2 Weeks After Outbreaks

The University of Wisconsin at Madison announced on Thursday that it would move classes online for two weeks after a series of Covid-19 outbreaks among students, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. The university will also quarantine all students in two of its largest dorms. “I share the disappointment and frustration of students and employees who had hoped we might enjoy these first few weeks of the academic year together,” said the chancellor, Rebecca Blank. The university has tallied more than 1,000 Covid-19 infections since the semester began last week. —Andy Thomason

5 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

At Least 46 Outbreaks Tied to U. of Wisconsin

At least 46 outbreaks of Covid-19 have been tied to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a county leader wrote to university officials on Wednesday. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Dane County executive, Joe Parisi, urged the university to increase testing and quarantine capacity, triple the number of contact tracers it employs, and consider sending home students currently living in residence halls. The letter was disclosed the same day that the local public-health agency advised anyone who lives or works in downtown Madison to “assume you were exposed to Covid-19.” —Andy Thomason

4:19 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Over 2,000 in Quarantine at U. of Tennessee

More than 2,000 people — a majority of them students — are in quarantine at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the count of active Covid-19 cases stands at 600, the university’s chancellor said on Tuesday, CNN reports. “Our case counts are going up way too fast,” said the chancellor, Donde Plowman, “and we will need more drastic measures to stop the upward trajectory.”

Also on Wednesday the university informed residents of one of its dorms that they would need to relocate to make room for isolation space for students who have tested positive. —Andy Thomason

4:11 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

U. of Georgia Reports Over 1,400 Cases in One Week

The University of Georgia logged more than 1,400 student cases of Covid-19 last week, the university disclosed on Wednesday. According to The Red & Black, the university’s student newspaper, the new data bring the cumulative number of cases at the university to 3,045 since the start of the pandemic. —Andy Thomason

1:49 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Bradley U. Mandates All-Student Quarantine for 2 Weeks

Bradley University on Tuesday required all students to quarantine in their residences for two weeks, the president, Stephen Standifird, announced in a video message. Standifird said that the Illinois university had observed among students a concerning lack of compliance with safety protocols, and that more than 500 students were already in quarantine due to several dozen positive diagnoses. Students are allowed to engage in “only the most essential activities,” Standifird said, and all classes will be conducted remotely for the two-week period. Standifird said violations of the quarantine would “not be tolerated” and could result in disciplinary action. —Andy Thomason

1:17 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Universities Are Already Planning for Spring

Two universities said on Tuesday that they would stick with their current hybrid instructional plans into the spring semester as long as public-health conditions allowed for some in-person learning. The University of Connecticut told employees that it would use “a mix of virtual and in-person formats” for learning in the spring, according to the student newspaper, The Daily Campus. Similarly, Pennsylvania State University’s provost wrote in a message to the campus that it would continue its hybrid model into the spring. —Andy Thomason

1:01 p.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Football Game Postponed After 38 Louisiana Tech Players Test Positive

A Saturday football game between Baylor University and Louisiana Tech University was postponed after Louisiana Tech said 38 of its players had tested positive for Covid-19, CBS Sports reports. Louisiana Tech’s athletics director, Tommy McClelland, said a recent hurricane had complicated the program’s safety protocols. “It is obvious that the impact of Hurricane Laura in our community a few weeks ago really sparked our significant increase in numbers,” he said. —Andy Thomason

10:11 a.m. Eastern, 9/9/2020

Football Player at California U. of Pennsylvania Dies of Covid-19 Complications

Jamain Stephens, a defensive lineman at California University of Pennsylvania, died on Tuesday “after suffering from complications of Covid-19,” according to the high school he attended. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Stephens, the son of a retired NFL player, was a senior and business-administration major at the university. In a news release, the university’s athletics director, Karen Hjerpe, called Stephens “a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him.”

In July the university’s athletics conference postponed fall sports in response to the coronavirus, and the university is operating remotely this semester. —Andy Thomason

4:37 p.m. Eastern, 9/8/2020

Indiana U. Reports Over 1,300 Cases of Covid-19

Indiana University on Tuesday said it had logged more than 1,300 cases of Covid-19 since August 22, the vast majority of which occurred on the flagship Bloomington campus. The university published the new data on its coronavirus dashboard and added that “predominantly those identified as positive are not getting very sick.” —Andy Thomason

1:24 p.m. Eastern, 9/8/2020

Over 700 Florida State U. Students Tested Positive in One Week

More than 700 students at Florida State University tested positive for Covid-19 last week, bringing the cumulative number of student cases to 839 since the start of August, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The New York Times on Tuesday reported that the Tallahassee metro area currently registers the eighth-biggest spike in per-capita cases nationwide. —Andy Thomason

1:15 p.m. Eastern, 9/8/2020

University Spokesman to NYT: Can I Ethically Promote Reopening?

An anonymous submitter to The New York Times’s “The Ethicist” column posed an interesting question on Tuesday. Describing himself as “a communications director at a large public university,” the man said he felt his institution’s attempt to welcome more than 40,000 people back to campus was “the opposite of good public-health policy during a pandemic.” Is it ethical for him to continue in his job? Read Kwame Anthony Appiah’s reply. —Andy Thomason

5 p.m. Eastern, 9/7/2020

West Virginia U. Shifts Most Undergraduate Courses Online Until Late September

President E. Gordon Gee of West Virginia University announced on Monday that a majority of the institution’s undergraduate courses would temporarily move online. In a letter to the university community he wrote, “We have been transparent throughout our Return to Campus planning that if we determined the local public-health situation was deteriorating, the university would take swift and immediate action. The time has come to do so on the Morgantown campus.”

Except for courses in the health sciences that require in-person rotations, all undergrad courses will become online only on September 9. Gee added, “If we can reverse the trends and see our numbers improve, we will return to on-campus learning on Monday, September 28.”

2:20 p.m. Eastern, 9/5/2020

Northeastern U. Expels 11 Students for Gathering Inside

Northeastern University dismissed 11 first-year students for the fall semester after they were found gathered in a Boston hotel room in violation of health-safety protocols, the university announced. Some observers, reacting to the news that the students would not have their tuition refunded, criticized the university.

Northeastern has a lot at stake in curbing the spread of the virus: It has been very public about committing more than $50 million to ensure a safe reopening. — Jennifer Ruark

11:55 a.m. Eastern, 9/4/2020

Ohio’s Governor to College Students: ‘We Ask You to Be Careful’

Rising counts of Covid-19 cases at several Ohio universities are prompting concerns across the state. At Ohio State University, more than 1,000 students have tested positive since mid-August, The Lantern reports. At Miami University, which has now recorded more than 800 student cases, campus officials are attributing a recent spike to off-campus partying. And on Thursday, Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, reported on Twitter that 78 cases had been traced to “multiple off-campus parties with students attending from several universities” in Cincinnati.

DeWine said at a news conference that colleges and universities are doing their best to limit off-campus gatherings, according to Cleveland.com. But he made a plea to students: “To our friends in college, we ask you to be careful. While all of us at your age thought we were invincible, you can pass this on.” —Brock Read

11:04 a.m. Eastern, 9/4/2020

Penn State Update: No, a Study Has Not Found Myocarditis in One-Third of Athletes With Covid-19

The statistic was striking: At a local school-board meeting on Monday, a Pennsylvania State University doctor reported that roughly one in three Big Ten athletes who had tested positive for Covid-19 also had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

It was also erroneous. On Thursday the university and the doctor — Wayne Sebastianelli, director of athletics medicine — corrected that number. In fact, Penn State officials said in a written statement, Sebastianelli was citing “initial preliminary data that had been verbally shared by a colleague on a forthcoming study.” The published data, which await peer review, indicated that 15 percent of athletes who had contracted Covid-19 had heart inflammation. —Brock Read

2:06 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

SUNY-Oneonta Sends Students Home After Outbreak

The State University of New York’s Oneonta campus will send its students home and suspend in-person operations, the college announced on Thursday. The decision followed an alarming uptick in cases of Covid-19 — at least 389 since the semester began less than two weeks ago. The move came the day after the college’s president, Barbara Jean Morris, said she did not think its fall reopening plan had fallen short. —Andy Thomason

1:57 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Indiana U. Encourages All Fraternities and Sororities to Close

1:54 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Fauci: Sending Students Home Is ‘Worst Thing You Could Do’

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Wednesday discouraged colleges that have seen Covid-19 outbreaks from sending their students home. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” NBC News reported him as saying. “When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.” —Andy Thomason

1:47 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Penn State Official: One-Third of Athletes With Covid-19 Have Myocarditis

Roughly a third of athletes in the Big Ten Conference who tested positive for Covid-19 appear to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, the Centre Daily Times reported. That statistic came from Pennsylvania State University’s director of athletic medicine, Wayne Sebastianelli, who said at a meeting of the State College Area school board that MRI scans of the athletes had revealed that “30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles [are] inflamed.” Sebastianelli said that revelation had contributed to the Big Ten’s decision to postpone the fall sports season in August. —Nell Gluckman

1:43 p.m. Eastern, 9/3/2020

Temple U. Flips Online After Uptick in Cases

Temple University will conduct instruction online for the remainder of the fall semester following an uptick in positive Covid-19 cases, the campus announced on Thursday.

In a letter, Temple’s president and provost expressed disappointment to students — who “told us loud and clear that they wanted to come back to campus” — but said the risks were too great to continue in-person operations. The university had previously suspended most in-person classes, but had said it hoped that suspension would be temporary.

The university is giving students incentives to leave the campus by refunding housing and dining charges for all who depart by September 13, according to the letter. —Lindsay Ellis

4:58 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

Gettysburg College Confines Students to Dorm Rooms in Effort to Stem Spread

Gettysburg College on Tuesday night instructed all students who live on the Pennsylvania campus to quarantine in their dorm rooms until “at least the end of the week,” the Patriot-News reports. The move followed an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases on the campus. According to the newspaper, students have been told that they may leave their rooms only to get food, use the bathroom, or be tested for Covid-19, and that students who break the quarantine will be kicked off campus. All campus buildings have also been closed. —Andy Thomason

4:49 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

U. of Illinois Steps Up Student Discipline After Rise in Cases

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has been lauded as among the universities best equipped to conduct a safe fall semester, is stepping up discipline after a rise in cases of Covid-19. The university said on Wednesday that after an initial and expected rise in positive diagnoses, “the numbers did not go down as predicted.” The university attributed the rise to “unsafe behavior by a number of undergraduate students” and said that in response it would be “intensifying discipline efforts and swiftly removing individuals who have created this risk for the campus and the community.”

The university, which has logged more than 400 new cases since the first day of classes, is instructing students not to socialize even in small groups for the next two weeks. Students who don’t follow the rules could face immediate suspension.

The institution has won praise for its immense testing capacity, more than 10,000 tests per day, allowing it to test all students twice a week. —Andy Thomason

2:11 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

Iowa State President Reverses Plan to Seat 25,000 Fans at Football Opener

1:21 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

Northwestern President Apologizes for Sudden Decision to Limit In-Person Learning

Morton O. Schapiro, Northwestern University’s president, apologized on Tuesday for the sudden decision last week to reserve on-campus activity for juniors and seniors, the Chicago Tribune reports. The decision, which barred most freshmen and sophomores from living or learning on campus, came just nine days before move-in was scheduled to begin. “I apologize for people who are so angry, and I understand that anger as a parent and as an educator,” Schapiro said. “In retrospect, I probably should have decided earlier in the week.” —Andy Thomason

12:58 p.m. Eastern, 9/2/2020

Half of Indiana U. Greek Houses Are in Quarantine

More than half of Indiana University at Bloomington’s Greek organizations have been instructed to quarantine following an increase in cases on the campus, the Indiana Daily Student reports. As of Wednesday, 23 fraternities and sororities had been directed to quarantine; earlier this week the university reported nearly 300 positive cases. —Andy Thomason

7:28 p.m. Eastern, 9/1/2020

James Madison U. Is Latest University to Flip to Online Instruction

Less than a week after classes started and 11 days after students moved in, James Madison University said on Tuesday it would shift to primarily online instruction through the month of September, with a possible in-person return on October 5. James Madison, a 22,000-student public institution in Virginia, has accumulated more than 500 coronavirus cases in the last week. Students living on campus were asked to vacate their housing by Labor Day.

5:21 p.m. Eastern, 9/1/2020

U. of Iowa Provost Urges Faculty Members to Be ‘Role Models’ on Eve of Planned ‘Sickout’

The University of Iowa’s interim provost in a Tuesday letter urged faculty members not to participate in a Wednesday “sickout” — in which instructors would call in sick — to protest the university’s in-person reopening, The Gazette reports. “I respectfully remind you that as role models, you have an obligation to deliver instruction as assigned, and to provide appropriate notice of absences due to illness,” wrote Kevin Kregel.

The university has seen hundreds of new cases of Covid-19 in recent days, totaling at least 935 as of Monday. —Andy Thomason

5:02 p.m. Eastern, 9/1/2020

U. of South Carolina Passes 1,000 Active Cases

The University of South Carolina at Columbia disclosed on Tuesday that there were 1,017 active cases of Covid-19 among its students and nine among its employees. Cases have increased roughly fivefold since this time last week, when the university’s president, Robert Caslen, said the rise in cases was potentially “unsustainable.”Andy Thomason

1:17 p.m. Eastern, 9/1/2020

Colorado College Flips Instruction Online, Citing Quarantined Dorms

Colorado College announced on Tuesday that it was moving all classes online temporarily and most of them online for the rest of the fall, citing the fact that it has been forced to quarantine entire dorms due to positive cases. The private liberal-arts college said in an email on Monday that “we can’t offer a quality residential experience to our students under these circumstances.” Positive diagnoses forced the college to place all three major dormitories under two-week quarantine at one point, The Colorado Sun reported. The college will now ask most students living on campus to leave their residence halls. —Andy Thomason

1:06 p.m. Eastern, 9/1/2020

Birx Urges College Students Not to Spread Virus

The White House’s coronavirus-response coordinator, Deborah Birx, urged college students to be tested for Covid-19, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. In an appearance on Monday in Madison, Wis., Birx cited the large gatherings that have sparked outbreaks on campuses nationwide and cautioned students against traveling over the Labor Day weekend.

“Please help us protect one another,” Birx was quoted as saying. “If you have gone to a large gathering, if you have gone to, let’s say, a fraternity house and there is a party and people didn’t have masks on, [it’s] more than likely you became exposed to the virus. Please go get tested. Please do not go home and spread the virus to your mom or your dad or your aunts and your uncles over Labor Day weekend.” —Andy Thomason

11:49 a.m. Eastern, 9/1/2020

Illinois State Logs Over 1,000 Cases Among Students

Illinois State University has reported that more than 1,000 students have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the campus NPR affiliate. The 1,023 positive diagnoses account for nearly 5 percent of the enrollment, and the university has seen a positivity rate of about 24 percent over the past week. A chemistry professor told the radio station that increased surveillance testing in the coming weeks should cause the positivity rate to fall. —Andy Thomason

7:13 p.m. Eastern, 8/31/2020

More Jumps in Covid-19 Cases

  • The University of Iowa reported 329 new cases, while Iowa State University reported 503 new cases, The Gazette reports.
  • The number of cases tied to Central Michigan University has increased to 178, The Detroit News reports.
  • After almost 30 new positive diagnoses, California State University at Chico moved online the small percentage of classes that were being held in person and instructed students to move out of residence halls.

1:01 p.m. Eastern, 8/31/2020

Iowa State Expects 25,000 Fans at Home Opener

Iowa State University’s athletics director said on Monday that he expects 25,000 fans to attend the university’s football home opener in less than two weeks, the Iowa State Daily reports. Jamie Pollard wrote in a letter to fans that only season-ticket holders would be allowed to attend the September 12 game.

The announcement came even as Covid-19 infections surged in the city of Ames, where Iowa State is located. The New York Times reports that Ames is currently seeing the highest number nationwide of new cases per 1,000 people, with Iowa City — home to the University of Iowa — a close second. —Andy Thomason

12:30 p.m. Eastern, 8/31/2020

A March Madness ‘Bubble’?

11:06 a.m. Eastern, 8/31/2020

Temple U. Shuts Down In-Person Classes Temporarily

Temple University is shutting down all in-person instruction for two weeks after registering more than 100 cases of Covid-19, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “We are hopeful, of course, that we will be able to return to the full hybrid program in place at the start of the semester,” said Temple’s president, Richard M. Englert, “but any such decision will be driven by the data and public-health guidance available at the time.” —Andy Thomason

6:30 p.m. Eastern, 8/29/2020

U. of Alabama Covid-19 Cases Exceed 1,000

The University of Alabama recorded 481 new cases of Covid-19 on its flagship campus, in Tuscaloosa, from August 25 to August 27, bringing the total on that campus to 1,043, the Tuscaloosa News reported. According to The Washington Post, that outbreak is one of the largest reported at a college or university since the start of the fall semester. —Jennifer Ruark

11:00 a.m. Eastern, 8/29/2020

U. of South Carolina Case Numbers Balloon in One Week

The University of South Carolina has released data showing 557 active Covid-19 cases on the campus as of Thursday, a jump from earlier in the week The State reported. On Monday the university had 94 active cases. In the middle of the week, South Carolina’s president, Robert Caslen, reacted to the rising figures by saying the university would consider “shutdown options” if the numbers continued to rise. On Friday he wrote to students that he remained “committed to ensuring in-person classes are held.” —Jennifer Ruark

6:15 p.m. Eastern, 8/28/2020

U. of Iowa Reports 500 New Covid-19 Cases

Just a week into classes, the University of Iowa reported 500 student cases of Covid-19 on Friday, on top of 107 cases reported there on Monday. The Gazette, a local newspaper, said that 76 percent of undergraduate course hours are now online. With many students and faculty members in quarantine, the paper reported, university administrators hinted they might take more drastic action if the caseload doesn’t flatten next week. —Don Troop

2:48 p.m. Eastern, 8/28/2020

UNC-Chapel Hill Will Offer Pass/Fail Option to Undergrads

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill seems to be extending an olive branch to its students after abruptly shifting to online instruction this month following a spike in campus coronavirus cases. University officials announced on Friday that undergraduate could opt to make any of their courses pass/fail this fall, The News & Observer reported. —Don Troop

2:26 p.m. Eastern, 8/28/2020

Notre Dame Will Begin Gradual Return to In-Person Learning

Ten days ago, in the face of rising coronavirus numbers, the University of Notre Dame announced it was moving instruction online for at least two weeks. On Friday, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, said that in-person classes would gradually resume starting next Wednesday.

New cases on the campus have been dropping steadily since Monday, with just 15 new cases reported on Thursday. That marks a return to the low levels Notre Dame was reporting during its first week of classes.

Jenkins called on people to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and limit the size of social gatherings to 10 or fewer people, among other measures. “If we adopt these practices,” he said, “we can have a safe and successful semester on campus.” —Don Troop

5:58 p.m. Eastern, 8/27/2020

UMass-Amherst to Furlough Nearly 850 Employees

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will furlough nearly 850 employees in an attempt to partly make up a $168.6-million revenue shortfall, the chancellor, Kumble R. Subbaswamy, announced on Thursday. In his message, Subbaswamy laid out the university’s projected losses for the coming semester, including $67.4 million in unrealized revenue from dining and housing. The university announced earlier this month that most students would not be invited back to campus for the fall. —Andy Thomason

2:44 p.m. Eastern, 8/27/2020

U. of South Carolina President Calls Spike in Cases ‘Unsustainable’

Robert Caslen, president of the University of South Carolina, said on Thursday that the spread of Covid-19 among students was becoming “unsustainable,” The State reports. Caslen told the institution’s governing board that 191 people in the university community had tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, eclipsing the sum of positive tests for the previous six days. “Am I concerned? Yes, I am,” Caslen said. “Is it acceptable? No. It’s not. I don’t know if you can sustain 191 positives.” —Andy Thomason

2:01 p.m. Eastern, 8/27/2020

Virginia Commonwealth U. Sees 44-Case Cluster in Athletics

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a 44-case Covid-19 cluster has emerged in Virginia Commonwealth University athletics. According to the university’s case-tracking dashboard, the 44-case total is as of Wednesday. The university says there are currently 98 active cases. —Andy Thomason

1:52 p.m. Eastern, 8/27/2020

U. of Iowa and Iowa State Fuel Statewide Surge of Cases

Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds, said on Thursday that college-age students in the counties that contain the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are driving statewide case numbers to record levels, a local TV station reports. In response, Reynolds ordered that bars close in six counties across the state. —Andy Thomason

1:02 p.m. Eastern, 8/27/2020

Colleges in New York State Must Go Remote at 100 Cases

Colleges in New York State that plan to reopen in person will be required to take instruction remote for two weeks or more if they observe 100 cases of Covid-19, or if there is an outbreak that encompasses 5 percent of the campus population, the Times Herald-Record reports. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the new rules on Thursday. —Andy Thomason

2:08 p.m. Eastern, 8/26/2020

N.C. State Will Shut Down On-Campus Housing

Less than a week after moving classes online, North Carolina State University announced on Wednesday it would severely limit on-campus housing early next month, asking all residents who can to move out. “We hoped and strived to keep residence halls open and safe to best serve our students,” wrote the chancellor, Randy Woodson. “However, the rapid spread and increasing rate of positive cases have made our current situation untenable.” The move came a day after the university reported seven new clusters of Covid-19. N.C. State has tallied 546 total cases of the coronavirus since March. —Andy Thomason

12:51 p.m. Eastern, 8/26/2020

U. of Oregon and Towson U. Go Online for Fall

12:47 p.m. Eastern, 8/26/2020

U. of Iowa President Tells Bars They Could Jeopardize Fall Semester

Bruce Harreld, president of the University of Iowa, wrote in a letter to Iowa City businesses that they must come into “immediate compliance” with Covid-19 safety rules and guidelines, The Gazette reports. The letter follows reports of unmasked students packing bars over the weekend. “Your decisions will directly impact the university’s ability to honor the choices our students made to be in our community and on our campus,” Harreld wrote. “Our students want to be here. The university wants them here, and the university knows how to keep them safe. Please help them stay here by doing your part.” —Andy Thomason

11:48 a.m. Eastern, 8/26/2020

U. of Alabama Students Say They Were Forced to Move So Others Could Quarantine

The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa’s student newspaper, The Crimson White, reports that some students were given two days to move out of their dorm because it was being converted into quarantine space. One student, Amalia Halpin, told the newspaper that the sudden move had forced her to drop out. “I can’t afford to go here if they’re gonna send us home,” she said. “It’s super-unfortunate, but I had to drop out of college for it. This has been an absolute disaster.”

The newspaper quoted an email from the university’s housing office confirming that the university had decided to convert the Burke West Residence Hall into quarantine housing “after careful consideration.” The campus has tallied more than 500 cases of Covid-19 since August 19. —Andy Thomason

10:47 a.m. Eastern, 8/26/2020

New York Times Counts Over 26,000 Cases on Campuses Since Pandemic Began

The New York Times is tracking cases of Covid-19 on college campuses, and has counted over 26,000 cumulative cases at more than 750 colleges. The newspaper also counted at least 64 deaths. View the searchable page. —Andy Thomason

5:41 p.m. Eastern, 8/25/2020

N.C. State Reports 7 More Clusters

12:00 p.m. Eastern, 8/25/2020

U. of Alabama Tallies More Than 500 Cases

The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa has tallied 531 cases of Covid-19 among students, faculty, and staff — in addition to 310 positive diagnoses detected through entry testing. The new case count came one day after the university’s president, Stuart R. Bell, referenced an “unacceptable rise” in cases of Covid-19 on campus. —Andy Thomason

4:26 p.m. Eastern, 8/24/2020

Ohio State Hands Out 228 Suspensions

Ohio State University has handed out 228 interim suspensions in response to students’ breaking Covid-19 safety rules, a local TV station reported on Monday. The university said the suspensions were related to parties held within the last week, and some of the suspensions had already been lifted. —Andy Thomason

2:08 p.m. Eastern, 8/24/2020

Zoom Outage Mars First Day of Classes

Instructors at several universities reported on Monday that their first day of online classes had been disrupted by a technical problem with the Zoom platform. Many colleges were likely to have been affected. A local news outlet reported on the problem at Penn State, and Texas Tech said that it was seeing the same problem. According to The New York Times, Zoom confirmed that there had been a partial outage but said the problem had been fixed by Monday afternoon. —Andy Thomason

1:58 p.m. Eastern, 8/24/2020

U. of Alabama Helps Shut Down Bars as Auburn Tallies Fivefold Increase in Cases

Bars in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will be shut down for two weeks at the University of Alabama’s request, university and city officials announced on Monday. The news followed reports that students had crowded bars and that cases of Covid-19 had increased, The Crimson White reports.

Meanwhile, at Auburn University, more than 200 students tested positive for Covid-19 last week — a fivefold increase from the week before. And that total doesn’t include the results of the university’s entry testing, AL.com reported. —Andy Thomason

1:41 p.m. Eastern, 8/24/2020

Eastern Michigan Delays In-Person Operations

1:35 p.m. Eastern, 8/24/2020

On First Day of Classes, U. of Iowa Reports More Than 100 Cases

The University of Iowa reported on Monday that 107 students and four employees had tested positive for Covid-19, The Gazette reports. The university, which did not conduct entry testing, said the positive results had been only those that were self-reported. Most of the university’s undergraduate courses are being taught online, but its residence halls are operating. —Andy Thomason

10:43 a.m. Eastern, 8/24/2020

Cornell Provost: 250 Cases in a Week Could Prompt Shutdown

Cornell University’s provost said on Friday that the campus would consider a shutdown if there were more than 250 positive Covid-19 cases in seven days, The Cornell Daily Sun reported. Such a trigger would push the university to evaluate other benchmarks. Cornell expects to release a dashboard tracking its testing capacity, positive diagnoses, and quarantine capacity on Monday, according to the Sun.

The provost, Michael Kotlikoff, spoke at a University Assembly meeting at which he distanced Cornell’s plan from other universities’, including that of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which abruptly reversed plans for in-person instruction last week.

“A lot of the big schools have just decided, ‘We’re going to open and roll the dice,’” Kotlikoff said, according to the Sun. “There are going to be some disasters out there.” —Lindsay Ellis

2:50 p.m. Eastern, 8/23/2020

Several More Colleges Put All Classes Online for Now

At East Carolina University, all undergraduate courses will go online for the rest of the fall semester, the interim chancellor announced. Residence halls will begin move-out operations this week, he said. Towson University moved all of its classes online at least through August 30, after 55 people on the campus tested positive for Covid-19, Erie News Now reports. Classes at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will begin as scheduled on September 7, but online only, for both undergraduate and grad students; in-person instruction will be delayed until October 1, the chancellor told students. And at Butler University, “a lack of compliance with health and safety guidelines” by a relatively few students, the president wrote, helped officials decide that all undergraduate instruction will be online for the first two weeks of the semester. “Our campus will remain residential,” he added. —Mitch Gerber

4:53 p.m. Eastern, 8/21/2020

UCLA Scales Back On-Campus Housing

The University of California at Los Angeles will drastically scale back its on-campus housing plans, the Los Angeles Times reports. The university had planned to house as many as 6,500 students on campus, but new county guidance is mandating stricter rules for colleges. Students who don’t have a safe housing alternative and athletes are among those eligible to stay on campus, the Times reports. —Andy Thomason

4:13 p.m. Eastern, 8/21/2020

Northeastern Warns Students Who Said They Would Party Not To

Northeastern University has sent a letter warning more than 100 incoming freshmen not to attend parties after they signaled, in an Instagram poll, that they planned to party, The Boston Globe reports. In strong language, the university’s senior vice chancellor for student affairs, Madeleine Estabrook, condemned the students for voting “HELL YEAH” in the poll, which asked, “WHO’S PLANNING ON GOING/HAVING PARTIES.”

Even if users voted yes as a joke, Estabrook wrote, “your willingness to mock the well-being of our community, and the efforts made to protect it, demonstrates a degree of carelessness that does not meet the values and principles we uphold.”

It is unclear who runs the Instagram account that posted the poll, which appeared to say that the results would be anonymous. —Andy Thomason

11:54 a.m. Eastern, 8/21/2020

Colleges Hand Out Suspensions for Breaking Covid-19 Safety Rules

An incomplete list of institutions that have suspended students for violating safety rules:

Andy Thomason

10:11 a.m. Eastern, 8/21/2020

President and Former Chancellor Speak Out Against Blaming Students

As some college and university administrators chastise their students for threatening the fall semester by gathering in large groups, two prominent names in higher education offered words of caution. From Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College:

And from Holden Thorp, a former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and former provost of Washington University in St. Louis who is now editor in chief of Science:

4:36 p.m. Eastern, 8/20/2020

Baylor Steps Up Police Patrols to Curb Partying

Baylor University’s president, Linda Livingstone, said on Thursday that the institution would step up off-campus patrols by university police officers in an effort to curb large gatherings that could spread Covid-19, a local TV station reported. “Students, we know you have missed your friends and you want to connect and have fun, but you must do so safely in this Covid-19 environment in which we now live, study, and work,” Livingstone said in a message to the campus. —Andy Thomason

4:21 p.m. Eastern, 8/20/2020

U. of Georgia Professors Speak Out Against Reopening

In an open letter, more than 300 faculty members at the University of Georgia took aim at the institution’s reopening plan, calling it “unwise.” The instructors cited spikes in cases at campuses across the country in concluding that “a widespread outbreak of Covid-19 is inevitable unless there is an immediate change in plans for the fall semester.” —Andy Thomason

2:53 p.m. Eastern, 8/20/2020

N.C. State Moves Classes Online After Cases Spike

North Carolina State University is moving all undergraduate classes online after observing a spike in cases of Covid-19, the chancellor, Randy Woodson, announced in a message to the campus. The university reported 41 new cases on Thursday, and Woodson cited clusters of off-campus cases in his message. “Unfortunately, the actions of a few are jeopardizing the health and safety of the larger community,” he wrote. Students who wish to remain in their dorms can do so, he said.

The announcement follows similar moves by the University of Notre Dame, which flipped online for at least two weeks, and the nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which moved classes online and sought to move many students out of residence halls. —Andy Thomason

1:38 p.m. Eastern, 8/20/2020

Penn State President: Students Are Flouting Covid-19 Measures

Eric Barron, president of Pennsylvania State University, wrote in a Thursday message that the institution had intervened on Wednesday night to break up a large outdoor gathering of students. “Last night’s behavior is unacceptable,” Barron wrote. “I ask students flaunting the university’s health and safety expectations a simple question: Do you want to be the person responsible for sending everyone home?” —Andy Thomason

1:22 p.m. Eastern, 8/20/2020

‘Large Majority’ of Positive Cases at U. of Kansas Come From Greek Life

In a Thursday message, the chancellor of the University of Kansas, Douglas A. Girod, said the “large majority” of the 87 students who had tested positive for Covid-19 upon entering the campus were members of fraternities and sororities. “Last night,” he wrote, “I met with leaders in these communities along with other campus officials to stress the importance of adhering to the health and safety guidelines and rules we’ve laid out while laying out some additional policy recommendations.” The university has conducted more than 7,000 entry tests so far. —Andy Thomason

1:08 p.m. Eastern, 8/20/2020

Syracuse Administrator Scolds Students for Outdoor Gathering

In a scathing message, a Syracuse University administrator on Thursday took aim at students for gathering on Wednesday in a large group on campus, saying they may have cost the institution a chance at in-person learning. “Last night a large group of first-year students selfishly jeopardized the very thing that so many of you claim to want from Syracuse University — that is, a chance at a residential-college experience,” wrote J. Michael Haynie, the vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation.

The student newspaper, The Daily Orange, compiled videos of the gathering and estimated that at least 100 students had attended. In his message, Haynie said a “full investigation” of the gathering was underway. “I want you to understand right now and very clearly that we have one shot to make this happen,” he wrote, referring to an in-person fall semester. “The world is watching, and they expect you to fail. Prove them wrong. Be better. Be adults. Think of someone other than yourself.” —Andy Thomason

5:49 p.m. Eastern, 8/19/2020

Birx Pushes Entry Testing for Colleges

Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus-response coordinator, said on a private call on Wednesday that colleges should conduct entry testing as they begin their fall semesters, according to reporting by the Center for Public Integrity. She also said colleges embarking on in-person semesters must have the capacity to conduct “surge” testing — running as many as 10,000 tests a day, if needed.

The recommendation appears to conflict with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which wrote in guidance for colleges that it does not recommend entry testing for all students. That advice has proved controversial among some public-health experts. —Andy Thomason

5:42 p.m. Eastern, 8/19/2020

UNC Suspends Athletics and Reports 2 New Clusters

2:58 p.m. Eastern, 8/19/2020

Purdue President Adds New Rule on Off-Campus Parties

Purdue University’s president, Mitch Daniels, has added a new provision to the institution’s student code that would expose students who host or attend parties to penalties, the Journal & Courier reports. Daniels also said on Wednesday that Purdue leaders were getting anxious about how off-campus parties could threaten the university’s in-person reopening plan. The president cited the recent examples of the Universities of Notre Dame and of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I think what we’re seeing is getting it 98 or 99 percent right may not be good enough,” Daniels said. —Andy Thomason

2:46 p.m. Eastern, 8/19/2020

Democratic Senators Ask Feds to Track College Outbreaks

Three Democratic U.S. senators are asking the Trump administration to formalize plans to collect data on Covid-19 outbreaks on college campuses. In a letter dated on Wednesday and obtained by Politico, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut urged the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with local health departments “to collect demographic data in a standardized format from institutions of higher education in order to monitor any disparities among affected students and staff.” —Andy Thomason

5:33 p.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

Michigan State Moves Fall Term Online, Asks Students to Stay Home

Michigan State University is taking the fall semester entirely online, reversing its plan to hold some classes in person, the university’s president, Samuel Stanley, announced on Tuesday. Stanley said the university was asking students who had planned to live in residence halls to stay home.

“Given the current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they repopulate their campus communities — it has become evident to me that, despite our best efforts and strong planning, it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of Covid-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus,” Stanley wrote.

The president seemed to be alluding to spikes of Covid-19 at campuses like the Universities of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Notre Dame, both of which have moved operations online (for the rest of the fall semester in Chapel Hill, temporarily at Notre Dame). —Andy Thomason

5:17 p.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

New Cluster Reported at N.C. State

5:14 p.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

Notre Dame Flips Courses Online Temporarily After Covid-19 Spike

The University of Notre Dame will move undergraduate instruction online for two weeks after a recent spike in cases of Covid-19, the university’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, announced on Tuesday. The move makes Notre Dame the second campus — after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — to move instruction online soon after welcoming students back for the fall semester. Jenkins said the move was only temporary, unless cases continued to rise.

“We believe we can take steps short of sending students home for remote instruction, at least for the time being, while still protecting the health and safety of the campus community,” Jenkins said at a virtual town hall.

The announcement came on the same day the university disclosed its highest one-day total of coronavirus diagnoses yet — 80 out of 418 people tested on Monday. While the university required students to submit a negative test result before returning to campus, that has not stopped the virus’s spread. Only about half of a percent of those required tests came back positive, but positive diagnoses since students returned have only risen. Last week the university said some of the cases could be traced to an off-campus party.

Jenkins was among the most fervent advocates of an in-person reopening. In a New York Times op-ed announcing Notre Dame’s intent to reopen, Jenkins wrote that “we are in our society regularly willing to take on ourselves or impose on others risks — even lethal risks — for the good of society.” He invoked Aristotle in arguing that reopening Notre Dame in person was “the attempt to find the courageous mean.” —Andy Thomason

3:37 p.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

Cluster at U. of Tennessee Traced to Off-Campus Party

A cluster of new Covid-19 cases at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has been traced to an off-campus party last week, according to the chancellor, Donde Plowman. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the university disclosed 75 active cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday and said 270 people were in self-isolation. “We know students have missed their friends, and they want to connect, but they have to do it safely,” Plowman was quoted as saying. —Andy Thomason

12:57 p.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

Notre Dame Reports 80 New Covid-19 Cases

The University of Notre Dame has reported 80 new cases of Covid-19 out of 418 people tested on Monday — a positivity rate of about 19 percent. It’s the highest sum of positive cases the university has reported since move-in began, at the beginning of August. View the university’s testing dashboard. —Andy Thomason

12:33 p.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

Penn State Faculty Group Predicts Thousands of Infections

Faculty members at Pennsylvania State University’s University Park campus have released projections that show about 2,500 students could contract Covid-19 if the institution returns to in-person instruction this fall, with two students dying within 90 days.

The models were produced by engineering and science faculty members as part of a group called the Coalition for a Just University at Penn State. They indicate that the institution’s quarantine housing could be filled within two months. The group’s recommendations include testing all students before they arrive on campus — as opposed to the university’s plan to test roughly 30 percent of students — and testing 10 percent of the campus community each day rather than the currently planned 1 percent.

The coalition presented a slideshow and 16-page report to administrators on Monday, but a university spokeswoman told the Centre Daily Times that their work was “flawed.”

“This group has advocated against any reopening of campuses,” the spokeswoman, Lisa Powers, said in a written statement. “This latest, anonymous communication in their advocacy effort fails to properly account for critical factors like contact tracing and adaptive surveillance approaches.” —Megan Zahneis

11:30 a.m. Eastern, 8/18/2020

Ithaca Flips Online for Fall

4:29 p.m. Eastern, 8/17/2020

UNC Pulls Plug on In-Person Fall

Read more.

3:37 p.m. Eastern, 8/17/2020

As Dean Calls for Shift Online, UNC Reports 135 New Cases of Covid-19

The dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s public-health school on Monday called for the institution to abandon in-person operations, saying that “growing numbers of clusters and insufficient control over the off-campus behavior of students (and others)” demanded a change in strategy. “We have tried to make this work, but it is not working,” wrote Barbara K. Rimer, the dean, in a blog post.

The public post was an open challenge to the university’s administration, which has proceeded with a primarily in-person semester under a mandate from the statewide university system. Later Monday, UNC reported 135 new cases of Covid-19, 130 of them among students, in just the last week. The week before, it reported only 11. —Andy Thomason

11:46 a.m. Eastern, 8/17/2020

A Compilation of Colleges’ Testing Plans

11:40 a.m. Eastern, 8/17/2020

Reports of Outbreaks at Oklahoma State and Colorado College

Twenty-three people at an Oklahoma State University sorority chapter have tested positive for Covid-19, NBC News reports, prompting the entire house to be placed under quarantine. Meanwhile, at Colorado College, one student’s positive diagnosis has prompted an entire 155-person residence hall to be quarantined for 14 days, according to the Colorado Springs Independent. —Andy Thomason

2:55 p.m. Eastern, 8/16/2020

UNC Reports Fourth Cluster in Three Days

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Sunday notified the campus of a fourth cluster of Covid-19 infection, at a residence hall.

The latest disclosure means that the university has seen at least 21 new cases since Friday (the Daily Tar Heel reported that one of the four clusters was composed of at least six people; the rest are by definition made up of at least five people). The university has not disclosed the size of clusters apart from weekly additions to its Covid-19 dashboard, which is updated each Monday. —Andy Thomason

6:00 p.m. Eastern, 8/15/2020

Notre Dame and UNC See Covid-19 Outbreaks

Covid-19 cases broke out at the University of Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last week, shortly after students returned to their campuses for the fall semester. Notre Dame reported 29 cases, 10 of them on Friday alone, a rate of 8 percent of people tested. A Notre Dame spokesman said many of the infected, all of whom were then quarantined, had attended a party off campus or had contact with the partygoers. (Update: As of Sunday, Notre Dame was reporting 45 new cases since August 3, a positivity rate of about 10 percent.)

In two days at UNC, three clusters — defined as five or more cases — were found in two dormitories and a fraternity house. The university did not release exact numbers of cases and said those who had tested positive were “isolating and receiving medical monitoring.” —Jennifer Ruark

2:39 p.m. Eastern, 8/14/2020

Columbia and Barnard Flip Online

2:36 p.m. Eastern, 8/14/2020

Boston U. Apologizes for Timing of Policy Allowing Degrees for Deceased Students

Boston University has apologized for the timing of a new policy that lays out the process for granting posthumous degrees to students, MassLive reports. “This policy is not a result of the pandemic, and we sincerely apologize for the insensitive timing of the announcement,” a university spokesman, Colin Riley, told the news organization. Social-media users had lambasted the university online after The Daily Free Press, a student newspaper, tweeted about the policy.

Andy Thomason

2:18 p.m. Eastern, 8/14/2020

Hundreds of Students Are Quarantined at College in Mississippi

About 300 students are in quarantine at Northeast Mississippi Community College after nine people on the campus tested positive for Covid-19, the Daily Journal reports. The college resumed classes on August 3. The Journal reports that those in quarantine represent about 10 percent of the college’s enrollment. —Andy Thomason

12:37 p.m. Eastern, 8/14/2020

One in Four 18- to 24-Year-Olds Has Considered Suicide

Concerns about how the pandemic is affecting students’ mental health have been top of mind for college leaders over the past five months, and a new survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is yet another warning sign of just how much young people are struggling. One in four young people ages 18 to 24 — the group that most undergraduates fall into — reported in the survey that they’d seriously considered suicide in the previous 30 days. Half of the respondents in that age group reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, and 75 percent reported experiencing at least one “adverse mental- or behavioral-health symptom.”

The alarming rate of suicidal ideation among young people doesn’t have a direct historical comparison. But in the most recent Healthy Minds Study, which surveys tens of thousands of students annually, 14 percent said they’d seriously thought about attempting suicide in the past year.

Before Covid-19 hit, students were already struggling mightily with their mental health and overwhelming campus counseling centers with demand for therapy. The isolation, loneliness, and stress — financial, academic, and otherwise — of going through the pandemic have heightened those problems, experts say. The CDC survey found that, among all demographic groups, symptoms of anxiety and depression “increased considerably” from April to June, compared with the same period of 2019. The online survey was conducted in late June and included 5,400 respondents.

The prevalence of mental-health challenges was higher across all categories for 18- to 24-year-olds than for the other age groups, which were 25 to 44, 45 to 64, and 65 and older. —Sarah Brown

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255; text TALK to 741741; or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

3:51 p.m. Eastern, 8/13/2020

Stanford Calls Off Plan to House Students on Campus

Stanford University announced on Thursday that it was canceling plans to house first-year students and sophomores on campus. “The public-health challenges associated with bringing large numbers of undergraduates back to campus dormitory residences under current health conditions, coupled with the limited nature of the on-campus experience we would be able to offer, have led us to the conclusion we are announcing today for our undergraduates,” wrote Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford’s president. He also wrote that “almost all” undergraduate instruction would be remote. —Andy Thomason

3:45 p.m. Eastern, 8/13/2020

U. of Maryland Students Say They Can’t Get Out of Leases

Hundreds of University of Maryland at College Park students living at apartment complexes run through a public-private partnership say they’re having trouble canceling leases for the fall, Maryland Matters reports. According to the outlet, students have protested their inability to cancel leases without financial penalty, as students who live on campus have been allowed to do. Students living in the privately owned complexes can also re-lease their apartments to other students, but, because most of the university’s fall classes are being held online, “no one wants to live here,” one student said. —Andy Thomason

3:30 p.m. Eastern, 8/13/2020

28 Test Positive at U. of Tennessee

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that 28 people have tested positive for Covid-19 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville — 20 students and eight employees. One hundred and fifty-five people are self-quarantining, the university said. Student move-in began on Sunday. —Andy Thomason

11:49 a.m. Eastern, 8/13/2020

Police Report 400-Person Party on East Carolina U.’s Reopening Weekend

East Carolina University’s move-in has been accompanied by an uptick in large parties, The News & Observer reports, a worrying sign for colleges that hope to maintain in-person operations this fall. The police told the newspaper that while most parties last weekend were attended by 25 to 50 people, one lasted four days and was attended by 400 people. The campus police department’s head of emergency and event management told the newspaper that the social activity observed by the police had been “reasonable” and “manageable” in comparison to what the university has seen during past fall move-ins. —Andy Thomason

2:14 p.m. Eastern, 8/12/2020

Morgan State and DePaul Flip Fall Terms Online

Morgan State University and DePaul University are among the latest colleges to take their fall terms online in response to the pandemic. “Given our Vincentian values to take care of one another and our community, we do not believe that currently there is a reasonable way to open campus to the full extent we originally had planned,” says an email to DePaul students from the Chicago university. Morgan State said an increase in Baltimore’s count of Covid-19 cases, among other things, had prompted it to move all fall courses online. —Andy Thomason

2:00 p.m. Eastern, 8/12/2020

Big 12 Sticks With Fall-Sports Plan for Now

A day after two Power 5 conferences postponed athletics competition until next year, the Big 12 Conference said on Wednesday it was proceeding with the fall football season, as planned. “Our student-athletes want to compete, and it is the board’s collective opinion that sports can be conducted safely and in concert with the best interests of their well-being,” said the chair of the conference’s Board of Directors, Victor Boschini, who is also chancellor of Texas Christian University. The ACC and SEC have also signaled their intent to go forward with the season, as planned. —Andy Thomason

4:51 p.m. Eastern, 8/11/2020

On Big Ten’s Heels, Pac-12 Cancels Fall Sports

The Pac-12 Conference announced on Tuesday it had joined the Big Ten in calling off fall sports, including football. “Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble,” said Larry Scott, the conference’s commissioner, in a statement. “Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of Covid-19 is significant.”

The announcement came less than two hours after the Big Ten announced it was canceling its fall season. Both conferences said they would look into the possibility of holding athletic competition in the spring.

In the college-sports world, all eyes are now on the remaining three Power 5 conferences — the Big 12, the ACC, and the SEC — to see whether they will follow suit and pull the plug on fall sports. —Andy Thomason

4:37 p.m. Eastern, 8/11/2020

More Colleges Flip Online

As the fall semester begins on some campuses and draws nearer for others, a few colleges did an about-face on Tuesday on their in-person plans:

  • The University of Pennsylvania abandoned its hybrid plan and said it could offer on-campus housing only to a very limited cross section of the student body. The institution cited the level of quarantine that would be required to welcome back students, as well as problems in obtaining testing supplies, in making its decision.
  • Macalester College announced it would start the semester remotely, citing rising case counts in Minnesota.
  • Brown University — whose president, Christina Paxson, has been a vocal proponent of in-person reopening — said it would delay the start of in-person undergraduate instruction until October.

3:35 p.m. Eastern, 8/11/2020

After Protests From Coaches and Politicians, Big Ten Cancels Fall Football

The Big Ten Conference announced on Tuesday afternoon that fall sports — including football — have been canceled. “As time progressed … it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall,” said Kevin Warren, the conference commissioner, in a statement. The conference will look to resume sports in the spring, if possible.

The announcement followed a day and a half of frenzied calls from federal and state lawmakers, Big Ten coaches and players, and fans not to cancel the football season following reports that the conference was on the verge of doing so. On Monday the head coaches of Ohio State, Michigan, and Nebraska spoke up in opposition to the apparent decision by the university presidents who collectively make decisions for the conference.

It’s not clear whether some member institutions will explore the idea of competing outside the conference. In a statement, leaders of the University of Nebraska — including the flagship chancellor, the athletic director, and the football coach — said they were “very disappointed” by the decision. “We hope it may be possible for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to compete,” they said. —Andy Thomason

7:47 p.m. Eastern, 8/10/2020

U. of North Carolina System Faces Faculty and Staff Lawsuit Over Plan to Reopen

Faculty and staff members in the University of North Carolina system have filed a complaint in county court for a lawsuit asking the system to default to online instruction for the fall semester. The Chronicle previously reported on the complaint’s preparation as the 16-campus system plans to reopen for in-person instruction. “We contend that the law does not permit the University of North Carolina system or the governor to force these employees to work in conditions that place them at an increased risk of getting sick, being unable to work, being hospitalized, and even dying,” Gary Shipman, the North Carolina-based lawyer filing the complaint, wrote in an email. “The decision has to be made to place the safety of these employees and the communities where these campuses are located above the financial concerns that are associated with not returning all these students to these campuses.” —Megan Zahneis

2:15 p.m. Eastern, 8/10/2020

Trump Weighs In Amid Pushback to Apparent Big Ten Decision

As the college-sports world grappled with reports that the Big Ten Conference had decided to cancel fall football, President Trump weighed in on Twitter:

Meanwhile, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh — the head football coach — released a statement opposing the cancellation of the season. Referencing “the rumors that are swirling today,” Harbaugh cited the Michigan program’s testing protocols and low positivity rate in arguing that the season should proceed as planned. —Andy Thomason

12:09 p.m. Eastern, 8/10/2020

Report: Big Ten Cancels Fall Football

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Big Ten Conference has voted, 12 to 2, to cancel the fall football season, a move that is likely to prompt the other four major conferences to take a hard look at the feasibility of hosting games amid the pandemic. The Free Press cited unnamed sources who confirmed that the season had been called off and that a formal announcement was expected on Tuesday. It’s not clear whether the conference will postpone the season until the spring. —Andy Thomason

10:58 a.m. Eastern, 8/10/2020

Is College Football About to Be Canceled?

A flurry of news-media reports on Sunday night brought disappointing news to fans still hoping for a college-football season: Commissioners of the five major athletic conferences met in the aftermath of the Mid-American Conference’s decision to postpone the season, and it was reported that the Big Ten Conference was on the verge of pulling the plug. That would be a big domino to fall.

But later Sunday night, a group of prominent football players tweeted their desire to play this season, to be granted firmer health protections, and to eventually form an association of college football players. The message invoked the demands of the #WeAreUnited movement that has shaken up the Pac-12 Conference. Another prominent voice joined the chorus in favor of preserving fall football: Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, who sent a letter to Big Ten presidents urging them not to cancel competition. “Canceling the fall season would mean closing down socially distanced, structured programs for these athletes,” wrote Sasse, a former president of Midland University. “Young men will be pushed away from universities that are uniquely positioned to provide them with testing and health care.” —Andy Thomason

4:02 p.m. Eastern, 8/9/2020

Trump Extends Pause on Student-Loan Repayment Until Year’s End

President Trump signed a memorandum on Saturday night that defers federal student-loan borrowers’ repayments until the end of 2020 and waives all interest for that time period, The Washington Post reports. The action effectively extends a measure, enacted at the onset of the pandemic, that was slated to expire at the end of September. —Andy Thomason

11:15 a.m. Eastern, 8/8/2020

First FBS Conference Postpones Football Season

The Mid-American Conference, whose member institutions play football at the NCAA’s highest level, has postponed the fall season — becoming the first Football Bowl Subdivision conference to pull the plug, Stadium reports.

Fall football is looking less likely by the day. This week the NCAA canceled Division II and Division III fall championships, and on Friday top association officials cast doubt on the practicality of football in 2020. Mark Emmert, the president, said that fall sports would be “difficult, to say the least, going forward.” Brian Hainline, the association’s chief medical officer, said that in order for fall sports to proceed as planned, “almost everything would have to be perfectly aligned to continue moving forward.”

11:01 a.m. Eastern, 8/8/2020

66 Test Positive for Covid-19 at Iowa State

While several colleges have decided to start the fall semester online, some are going forward with move-in — and finding that some students are bringing the coronavirus with them to campus. Sixty-six out of more than 3,000 Iowa State University students who were tested for Covid-19 during move-in were positive, The Gazette reports.Andy Thomason

2:17 p.m. Eastern, 8/7/2020

U. of Georgia Protesters Hold Die-In as Plexiglass Photos Spark Concern

Students and employees at the University of Georgia held a die-in on Thursday, protesting what they say is the institution’s dangerous plan to reopen for in-person operations this fall. Photos published by the Athens Banner-Herald show protesters holding signs and lying motionless on the lawn in front of the university’s administration building. The demonstrators also presented an open letter to administrators demanding that instructors be allowed to decline to teach in person, among other things.

The protest came as photos of plexiglass barriers, apparently installed in university classrooms, surfaced on Twitter.

“Many measures to prepare rooms and facilities are still in progress,” a university administrator told a local TV station. “Our teams are working to correct the height and effectiveness of the barriers in classrooms as needed.” —Andy Thomason

2:00 p.m. Eastern, 8/7/2020

2 Major Campuses Go Online for Fall

The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are among the latest major universities to call off their in-person fall plans. At Johns Hopkins, leaders looked at rising case counts in Baltimore, as well as the risk to the community of welcoming students from across the country, in making the decision. At Amherst, administrators cited “worsening conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic” in announcing that they would no longer be offering on-campus housing to students whose coursework is remote. —Andy Thomason

6:41 p.m. Eastern, 8/6/2020

Harvard Sees 340 First-Year Deferrals

In what could be a harbinger of what’s to come for other institutions, Harvard University is seeing a large increase in first-year deferrals for the fall — 340, which is triple the typical number.

According to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the projected fall-enrollment numbers are:

  • 5,231 total undergraduates
  • 1,168 freshmen in residence
  • 464 upper-level students in residence
  • 3,599 students remote
  • 340 first-year deferrals

The university will be operating online this fall, but residence halls will be open to a reduced number of students. Last month Harvard prepared for a residential population of 40 percent of its undergraduates; now it anticipates housing 25 percent of undergraduates. —Elin Johnson

10:54 a.m. Eastern, 8/6/2020

The Quarantine Discipline Begins

10:51 a.m. Eastern, 8/6/2020

Harvey Mudd: If State Nixes Reopening, Furloughs Begin

Harvey Mudd College said in a memo this week that if California guidance forbids the campus to open to students this fall, the institution would begin furloughs to cut a projected $12-million revenue shortfall. “We expect to know any day whether we will be in a position to welcome students back to campus this fall,” the memo reads. “If we are not able to do so, we will quickly announce staffing plans, including necessary reductions in hours and furloughs.” —Andy Thomason

5:30 p.m. Eastern, 8/5/2020

A Busy Day for Athletics

A few more developments from Wednesday:

  • The NCAA announced that all players would be able to opt out of competition this year for safety reasons and still retain their scholarships. It also canceled both Division II and Division III fall championships.
  • Eight football players at the University of California at Los Angeles tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The Mercury News reported the Pac-12 conference is considering a “mammoth loan program” for its member institutions in case the fall football season is canceled.
  • An organization claiming to represent more than 1,000 football players in the Big Ten conference publicized a list of demands related to keeping players safe amid the pandemic. —Andy Thomason

4:15 p.m. Eastern, 8/5/2020

Canada’s Border Rules Could Keep Alaskans From American Campuses

The U.S.-Canada border closed to nonessential travel on March 21, and the deadline has been extended several times now, to at least August 21. That could affect the many young Alaskans who every year drive through Canada to their colleges in the lower 48 states.

Maureen Johnson and her daughter, Julia, were planning to drive from their home, in Anchorage, to Fort Lewis College, in Colorado, to start Julia’s freshman year when they were turned around at the Canadian border.

Johnson, who had recently gone through chemotherapy, wanted to avoid packed airports that could be a risk to her health. Her daughter had just turned 18, and Johnson didn’t want her to make the drive alone, either.

“I didn’t want any more exposure,” Johnson said. “We were just going to make a beeline and get in and out in three days. We were told we would be OK.”

To prepare for their road trip, they packed all the camping equipment they would need to be self-sufficient in the Yukon wilderness. Before they left, Johnson said, they called the border checkpoints at least four times over the month of July to be absolutely sure they knew the rules: Don’t stay in any hotels, just get gas, don’t spend more than 24 hours in the Yukon.

But all that was for naught when a Canadian border-patrol agent stopped them at the Beaver Creek check point.

“He even said, ‘She doesn’t even have to go, that’s her choice,’” Johnson said the agent had told her about her daughter’s moving to college. The duo were traveling early for the start of Julia’s soccer season.

Johnson offered to show the agent a note she had brought from her primary-care doctor stating that she needs to avoid traveling by airplane or other high-exposure methods. She also said they would be willing to take Covid-19 tests. No dice.

“My biggest beef was there’s not a hard, fast rule,” Johnson said. They learned the hard way that passage is up to the discretion of the border agent at the time; they were told there’s no real consistency.

On its website the Canadian government’s guidance for foreign travelers states as much: “It is important to note that the final determination is made by a border-services officer at the port of entry. They base their decision on the information presented to them at the time of entry into Canada.”

A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency was not available to answer The Chronicle‘s questions about student travel on Wednesday.

Instead of a celebratory camping adventure to mark Julia’s transition into adulthood, the mother-daughter team had to drive more than 400 miles home before catching a very last minute — and thus very expensive — flight out of Anchorage. Johnson said the other passengers crowding the aisles had made the journey unsafe.

“Everything just exposed us more,” Johnson said. “It cost me so much more money.” They had to stay at hotels, repack Julia’s things, and face more risk, all “because of one guy.” —Elin Johnson

2:33 p.m. Eastern, 8/5/2020

Smith College Now Plans an Online Fall

Smith College on Wednesday became the latest institution to shift its fall plans to remote instruction. In a letter to the campus, the elite college’s president, Kathleen McCartney, cited “a civic duty to the communities in which we live and work” to “mitigate the potential exposure of many people to the virus.” She added: “As critical as higher education may be, none of us wants it to be the driver of a second wave of virus transmission in our host communities.” —Andrew Mytelka

2:21 p.m. Eastern, 8/5/2020

U. of Louisville Suspends 4 Sports After Off-Campus Party Infects 29

The University of Louisville has temporarily suspended team activities in four fall sports after 29 athletes tested positive for Covid-19, in an outbreak of infection blamed on an off-campus party, WDRB reports. The affected sports are men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball. —Andrew Mytelka

11:19 a.m. Eastern, 8/5/2020

UConn Cancels Fall Football

The University of Connecticut on Wednesday announced that it had canceled its football season, becoming the first institution that competes at the Football Bowl Subdivision level to cancel the fall slate of games because of Covid-19. “The safety challenges created by Covid-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk,” said the athletics director, David Benedict. The university is a member of the Big East athletic conference but competes independently in football.

The announcement came within hours of the Big Ten conference’s announcement of its fall schedule, even as the conference commissioner said there was “no guarantee that we’ll have fall sports or a football season.” —Andy Thomason

4:18 p.m. Eastern, 8/4/2020

Mitch Daniels: Purdue Will Give Reopening ‘the Old College Try’

Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University, has been among the higher-education leaders most vocally in favor of reopening in person this fall. Here he is on the other end of a pointed question from MSNBC’s Katy Tur:

Daniels answered the question, in part, by saying that the risk that a college student would die of Covid-19 was “as close to zero as you get,” and that Purdue had worked to minimize interaction between students and faculty members, who may be at greater risk of lethal infection. —Andy Thomason

3:43 p.m. Eastern, 8/4/2020

7 in 10 U. of Idaho Football Players Fear for Their Health

Stadium reports that University of Idaho football players conducted an informal poll that revealed 60 of 82 players on the roster said they felt uncomfortable with playing this fall because of safety concerns. Nine out of 125 players tested have been positive for Covid-19, and 24 athletes are currently in isolation, according to Stadium. The university competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, the second-most prominent level in the NCAA. —Andy Thomason

3:25 p.m. Eastern, 8/4/2020

2 Major Virginia Colleges Will Start Online

The University of Virginia and Virginia State University are among the latest institutions to announce that they will begin their fall semesters online. —Andy Thomason

3:08 p.m. Eastern, 8/4/2020

Big Ten Colleges Start Course-Sharing Initiative

A new course-sharing initiative from the Big Ten Academic Alliance is aimed at offering students more educational opportunities during the pandemic. Beginning this fall, undergraduates at any institution in the Big Ten Academic Alliance will be able to take an online course from any other institution in the alliance, at no charge.

The arrangement will waive tuition and fees for one course each semester. Participating institutions include Indiana University at Bloomington, the University of Maryland at College Park, Michigan State University, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Rutgers University at New Brunswick. Students can view the courses on offer from each university and register for the class of their choice. —Megan Zahneis

11:19 a.m. Eastern, 8/4/2020

More Positive Cases on Football Teams

The number of positive Covid-19 diagnoses associated with the Rutgers University football team has spiked from 15 to 28, NJ.com reports. The news comes as the university gears up for a mostly online fall semester, and the same day Northwestern University paused team workouts after a player tested positive for the coronavirus. —Andy Thomason

6:02 p.m. Eastern, 8/3/2020

Michigan State Tells Students to Stay Home if They Can

Michigan State University is telling students to stay off campus this fall if they can, the Detroit News reports. In a message to students Monday, Samuel Stanley, the president, noted that the vast majority of first-year students will be taking all of their classes online. “Living away from campus may be the best choice for you and your family, particularly if you have family members at higher health risk,” Stanley wrote, according to the newspaper. — Andy Thomason

4:58 p.m. Eastern, 8/3/2020

Dynarski: Reopening Priorities Are Upside Down

The United States has its educational restart upside down, writes Susan Dynarski, a University of Michigan economist, in The New York Times. While college campuses are rushing to reopen, school districts are mostly opting for online — an arrangement that ignores how much more sensible it would be to prioritize an in-person return for younger students.

Finances have driven this topsy-turvy picture, Dynarski writes. “Many college administrators rightly fear they will lose students to their competitors if they don’t hold out the promise of in-person classes — which means opening their campuses,” she writes. But while campuses are driven by competition, school districts are victims of austerity. “If competition for students is preventing many colleges from making choices that would benefit the public, constrained public revenue streams are behind the existential challenge for schools that educate younger students,” Dynarski writes. —Andy Thomason

4:43 p.m. Eastern, 8/3/2020

Bennett President Details Her Decision to Go Online

4:36 p.m. Eastern, 8/3/2020

Unity College Looks to Sell Campus

Unity College, a small, liberal-arts institution in Maine, is looking to sell its physical campus, a move that was “expedited” by the financial effects of the pandemic, the president said. The college says it is shifting to a “hybrid learning model” featuring a “nonstandard calendar, shorter terms, differentiated tuition, and a multi-modality curriculum that does not rely on maintaining a physical campus.” Read more.Andy Thomason

2:37 p.m. Eastern, 8/2/2020

Pac-12 Players, Citing Health Threats and Exploitation, Threaten Strike

More than 100 football players at colleges in the Pacific-12 Conference are demanding health insurance, a revenue-sharing agreement, and that sports cut during the pandemic be reinstated. If their demands are not met, the players say, they will sit out upcoming practices and games. In making the demands, the players cited not just the health threats from Covid-19, but also what they say is the NCAA’s exploitation of Black athletes.

“The coronavirus has put a spotlight on a lot of the injustices in college athletics,” Valentino Daltoso, an offensive lineman at the University of California at Berkeley, told Sports Illustrated. “The way to affect change and the way to get your voice heard is to affect the bottom line. Our power as players comes from being together. The only way to do this is to do something collectively.”

The demands come amid heightened scrutiny of the major athletic conferences’ attempt to hold a college-football season even as cases of Covid-19 surge in the United States. The Washington Post reported that in a call between players and Southeastern Conference officials last week, players said they weren’t being adequately protected. In the same call, one official told the players that infections were inevitable. “We’re going to have positive cases on every single team in the SEC,” the official said. “That’s a given. And we can’t prevent it.” — Andy Thomason

5:53 p.m. Eastern, 7/31/2020

As July Ends, More Campuses Flip to Remote Falls

Catholic, Queens, Ohio, and Goucher Universities, as well as California University of Pennsylvania, are among the latest institutions to abandon in-person plans in favor of starting the fall semester online.

Revisit our story on the crumbling of the in-person fall, and Robert Kelchen’s essay on higher education’s cruel July. — Andy Thomason

2:29 p.m. Eastern, 7/31/2020

30 Tenured Professors Tell UNC Students to Stay Home

Thirty tenured professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill urged students of the flagship, in an open letter, to stay home for the fall semester even as the institution resumes in-person operations. “Under current conditions, it is not safe for you to come to campus — to live in dormitories and apartments, to sit in classrooms, and to socialize with your peers in the way that college students usually do,” the professors wrote.

The letter echoes a similar message written by the faculty at Appalachian State University, also in the UNC system, imploring students on that campus not to return for the fall. — Andy Thomason

2:24 p.m. Eastern, 7/31/2020

George Washington Cuts 7 Varsity Sports

1:14 p.m. Eastern, 7/31/2020

Quarantine Rule Upends Cornell’s Return Plan

Some Cornell University students will have to start the semester online, the university said Thursday, a step back by a campus that has released ambitious, thorough plans on reopening for fall semester. The reason? Cornell could no longer guarantee quarantine housing for all students coming from states and territories on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s travel advisory.

Individuals from those states need to quarantine for 14 days upon entry to New York. Just a quarter of Cornell’s students are New Yorkers. “If you are unable to quarantine for 14 days in New York or in a state not currently under the NYS travel advisory,” campus leaders wrote in an update, “you should prepare to begin the semester online.” Cornell made headlines earlier this summer for projecting that bringing students back to campus would ultimately lead to fewer Covid-19 infections than keeping instruction online — because it would have more control over their behavior.

An editorial in the student newspaper slammed the decision. “Students, parents, faculty, staff, Ithacans and administration members are putting their trust in Cornell, a trust based on repeated affirmation that the University was prepared for COVID-19 infections and had the capacity to take care of its community in this unprecedented time,” the editors wrote. “While only a fraction of students have returned to Ithaca, Cornell is already communicating that they do not have the capacity to be flexible, and low-income students will bear the brunt of the cost.”

The campus continues to plan for a residential fall “and remain confident about our abilities to safely reactivate campus,” Thursday’s post read. — Lindsay Ellis

4:29 p.m. Eastern, 7/30/2020

SEC Plans Conference-Only Football Schedule

The Southeastern Conference is going forward with a conference-only fall football schedule in which each team would play 10 games, Sports Illustrated reports. The plan largely mirrors that of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which this week approved an 11-game schedule in which 10 of each team’s matchups would be conference-only, with an option for one to be against a nonconference opponent.

The SEC’s move comes amid widespread doubts that college football will achieve anything resembling normalcy this fall, as players and staff continue to test positive for Covid-19. — Andy Thomason

1:09 p.m. Eastern, 7/30/2020

Grim Budget Implications at a Public Regional

The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee is projecting a budget deficit of between $25 million and $54 million for the fiscal year that ends in 2021, Milwaukee Public Media reports. In an online town hall meeting on Wednesday, administrators detailed the grim financial straits the university is facing. “This is the worst, biggest crisis we have ever gone through at UWM,” said Johannes Britz, the university’s provost, who added that restructuring was likely. “I don’t foresee that we will continue with 13 colleges with 13 deans,” he said.

The university is planning to teach most of its fall classes online, while residence halls will be about 60 percent full. — Andy Thomason

11:51 a.m. Eastern, 7/30/2020

Some Major D.C. Colleges Coalesce Around Online Falls

American University and Georgetown University have joined George Washington University in announcing that the fall semesters will begin online. While Georgetown said Wednesday that in-person instruction would resume “as soon as health conditions permit,” American said on Thursday that courses would be taught online for the entire semester, and that it will not offer on-campus housing. — Andy Thomason

10:53 a.m. Eastern, 7/30/2020

International Applications Down

8:28 p.m. Eastern, 7/29/2020

UNC Workers Plan Suit to Delay In-Person Classes

It’s no secret that faculty and staff at many colleges are nervous about returning to campus this fall, with Covid-19 case numbers surging across most of the United States. Now employees of the University of North Carolina system are prepared to do something about it.

The workers are readying a class-action lawsuit for an injunction to postpone the resumption of in-person classes at the system’s 16 campuses until the university can guarantee employees’ safety.

Their lawyer, Gary Shipman, says the campuses’ existing safety plans do not comply with North Carolina employment law, which specifies that workplaces to be “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious injury or serious physical harm” to employees.

Josh Ellis, a UNC system spokesman, rejected the allegation in an email to Spectrum News 1, which reported the story: “The UNC System is prioritizing the health and safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff. We have consulted with the foremost medical professionals and disease researchers, including at our member institutions, and are taking the necessary precautions to ensure our campuses are safe places to teach, study, live, and work.” — Don Troop

1:32 p.m. Eastern, 7/29/2020

6,300 Cases Linked to Colleges as Fall Reopening Looms

The New York Times today published the results of an expansive survey of higher education that tied more than 6,300 cases of coronavirus to 270 colleges in the United States.

The newspaper contacted nearly 1,000 institutions — every public four-year college, every private college that competes in Division I athletics, and every member of the Association of American Universities — yet it describes its alarming finding as “almost certainly an undercount.” Hundreds of colleges did not even respond to the survey, while others, citing privacy concerns, “refused to answer basic questions.” Some of the colleges were more transparent, providing numbers or even posting case information online.

“What is clear,” the article states, “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.”

A separate survey of Division I athletic departments found more than 630 cases on 68 campuses among athletes, coaches, and employees.

The Times’s report includes a U.S. map of confirmed campus cases, a searchable list of colleges, and a chart — drawing from The Chronicle’s fall reopening tracker — that shows colleges’ instructional plans.

Separately, The Times reported today that the death toll from the virus had surpassed 150,000 in the United States. — Don Troop

2:40 p.m. Eastern, 7/28/2020

How Our Fall Tracker Changed Over Time

The Chronicle‘s fall reopening tracker has been viewed more than 1.8 million times since we started it in late April. On Monday, the percentage of colleges planning an in-person fall dipped below 50 percent for the first time since we added our pie chart in May.

The three charts below show how plans have changed from May 8, with 253 colleges, to June 24, with 1,028 colleges, to last night, with 1,262. — Don Troop

12:17 p.m. Eastern, 7/28/2020

Columbia Arts and Sciences VP Prods Faculty Back to the Classroom

Columbia University has invited 60 percent of undergraduates as well as general-studies students to return this fall for in-person and hybrid courses. Just one problem: The “vast majority” of arts and sciences faculty are planning to teach online, says a top administrator.

Amy Hungerford, executive vice president and dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, wrote an email to faculty members on Monday reminding them that in-person classes are an important part of the academic experience and urging them to return to the classroom.

Instructors have until Thursday to reply. “In short: We are calling for your help to mount a more robust offering of in-person or hybrid courses to meet important student needs,” Hungerford wrote. “This has again become essential for our international students, and, beyond this, would significantly enhance options for in-residence first and second year students in the Core curriculum.”

Arts and sciences faculty are outliers, her email suggested. Elsewhere at Columbia, instructors have leaned toward hybrid instruction. “Business is looking at about 60% hybrid courses; even the Dental School and [Columbia’s medical center] generally, where risk is greatest, have returned safely to in-person clinical education.”

The voluntary return policy considered faculty members’ circumstances and students’ needs, Hungerford wrote. And the provost and many deans expected faculty to eagerly return to the classroom if they had no child-care or health considerations. Read the email in a Twitter thread. — Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz

6:17 p.m. Eastern, 7/27/2020

Covid-19 Moves a Presidential Debate From One Campus to Another

Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, an academic medical center, will host the first of three 2020 presidential debates in place of the University of Notre Dame, which withdrew as host on Monday.

Notre Dame’s president, John I. Jenkins, cited the “constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event” in an announcement explaining the university’s decision. “The necessary precautions,” he said, “would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”

The new hosts may face fewer constraints in reconciling debate logistics with the health of students, faculty, and staff. The debate will be staged about half a mile away from Case Western’s main campus, at the Health Education Campus, which the university and the clinic opened jointly last year. (The clinic has advised the Commission on Presidential Debates on the public-health implications of this year’s slate.)

It remains to be determined whether there will be an in-person audience for the event, which is set for September 29. Even without anyone in the seats, colleges can find plenty of value in hosting presidential debates. Read more on the payoffs here, from The Chronicle’s Audrey Williams June. — Brock Read

4:21 p.m. Eastern, 7/27/2020

George Washington U. Goes Remote for the Fall

The list of colleges changing their reopening plans because of the pandemic grows longer by the day.

George Washington University, the private research institution whose main campus lies within spitting distance of the White House, announced today that all but a few classes will be online in the fall.

And GWU was not alone in its pivot. Miami University of Ohio, West Virginia University, and several others announced today they would reopen either entirely online or nearly so.

Robert Kelchen, an associate professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, predicted a mass shift to remote learning in a Chronicle Review article back in May. Today he started a Twitter thread to log the reversals “until closures get too frequent to count.”

Any bets on how long he can sustain it? — Don Troop

2:51 p.m. Eastern, 7/27/2020

The Toll of Covid on Local Economies

Colleges suffered steep losses in housing and dining revenues when students left in the spring as a result of the growing pandemic. Now, with Covid-19 cases still on the rise, many are looking at a fall that could be even bleaker.

The same is true of their host cities, says a new article on Governing, a news site on state and local government.

Champaign, Ill., home of the state’s flagship university, increased the town’s food and beverage tax, effective March 1, only to see the university send students home two weeks later. The $6 million in hoped-for tax revenues that the city planned to spend on firefighters and programs for at-risk schoolchildren was not to be.

College towns like Athens, Ohio, and Clemson, S.C., are looking at losses of their own, the article points out.

But in towns where students are expected to return to campuses, there is also concern.

“Residents are mixed,” says RuthAnn Speer Loveless, mayor of Hamilton, N.Y., where Colgate University is located. “Many think that Colgate should not open its doors and are very concerned about the safety of the community, while others are glad for the economic and vitality boost it will provide.” — Don Troop

1:11 p.m. Eastern, 7/25/2020

Agnes Scott College President Tests Positive for Covid-19

Leocadia I. Zak, the president of Agnes Scott College, has been hospitalized after testing positive for Covid-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Zak is “resting comfortably” at Emory University Hospital, said Elizabeth D. Holder, chair of the college’s board of trustees, in a message to students, faculty, and staff.

Zak’s illness comes as Agnes Scott, a women’s college in Decatur, Ga., rethinks its approach to the fall. The college, which is currently listed in The Chronicle‘s fall-reopening database as “waiting to decide,” had been planning on a combination of remote and in-person teaching. But Zak said in a statement last week that “we are uncertain about our ability to follow through with these plans.” She pledged to announce the college’s decision next week. — Brock Read

5:23 p.m. Eastern, 7/23/2020

U. of Arizona President Sounds Confident Fall Will Begin as Planned

Even as Arizona remains a coronavirus hot spot, the University of Arizona president, Robert C. Robbins, said Thursday he was confident that the university will go forward with its plans to hold most classes in-person starting August 24. “I know many of you are awaiting the answer to the question: Will the University of Arizona be open for in-person classes in the fall of 2020? The answer is yes,” Robbins said at a virtual meeting about the upcoming semester.

Less than a month ago, on June 25, Robbins said that if the reopening decision needed to be made that day, he would not proceed with the plan. On June 25, Arizona reported more than 3,000 new cases of Covid 19, according to data compiled by The New York Times. On Wednesday, it reported 1,929 new cases. But just five days ago, the state posted its highest number of new deaths from the virus — 136 statewide. — Andy Thomason

4:58 p.m. Eastern, 7/23/2020

More Campuses Turn to Online for Fall

Azusa Pacific University, the Berklee College of Music, Pepperdine University, and Randolph College are among the latest institutions to shelve their in-person plans in favor of plans that begin the fall semester online. — Andy Thomason

4:46 p.m. Eastern, 7/23/2020

Amherst Residents Nervous About Students’ Return

The Boston Globe reports that tensions are flaring in Amherst, Mass., where residents are concerned about the impending return of thousands of students to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The town manager told the university in a letter that its decision to welcome students back to residence halls “will endanger the health, and perhaps, the lives of those who live in and around the Town of Amherst.” The Globe reported that university officials “said they are confident they will catch any outbreak, because off-campus students still use the UMass Amherst health center for their medical needs.” — Andy Thomason

4:47 p.m. Eastern, 7/22/2020

Several More Campuses Will Start Fall Virtually

Clemson University, the University of Delaware, and Edinboro University will all start their fall semesters virtually, shelving plans that would have seen students on campus at the start of the semester. Clemson announced Wednesday afternoon that it would delay the start of in-person operations by four weeks in hopes that Covid-19 cases would drop by then. Delaware announced that most classes for the fall would be held online, a reversal from the in-person plan it announced last month. Edinboro, too, announced that most classes would be held online and that on-campus living would be limited.

Read more about the developing trend of colleges backing off their in-person plans.Andy Thomason

11:51 a.m. Eastern, 7/22/2020

A Governor Pleads for Postponement of Fall Sports

New Mexico’s governor is asking the state’s public colleges to postpone the fall slate of college athletics, saying doing so is “an essential step we must take if we are to return to some safe and balanced new normal as quickly as possible.” Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote in a letter, obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, to University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University officials that long-term health effects to young people who are infected as well as their ability to spread Covid-19 to others were reasons to postpone the season.

“The decisions I have had to make throughout this pandemic have been difficult and I know you have been presented similarly difficult challenges in your leadership roles during this crisis,” wrote Grisham. “But as leaders we must continue to protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve. Those tough decisions, no matter how complex or how popular, must be made; the health and safety of those who look to us for leadership are and must continue to be our collective top priorities.”

Read more from the Journal. — Andy Thomason

11:34 a.m. Eastern, 7/22/2020

Another Fall Reversal

For those keeping track: Add Lafayette College to the list of campuses reversing fall plans to return to campus, the decision citing the national case count.

“Our community is best served by maintaining social distancing in miles rather than feet,” the president, Alison R. Byerly, wrote.

The college is reversing a planned tuition hike and cutting rates further for those who stay home.

We published a roundup of other campuses’s reversals on Monday, and you can find that here. — Lindsay Ellis

4:56 p.m., Eastern, 7/21/2020

AHA Cancels January Conference

4:34 p.m., Eastern, 7/21/2020

Dig Into This Look at Colleges’ Fall Plans

And head over to our searchable database.

4:28 p.m., Eastern, 7/21/2020

The Impact of a $25-Million Cut

Two legislative proposals in Nevada include a $25-million cut to the state’s public colleges, a sum that would come on top of a $110-million cut already proposed by the state’s governor. A document prepared by the Nevada System of Higher Education and obtained by The Nevada Independent suggests that the cuts could be devastating for the state’s campuses. The document, wrote the Independent, “outlines how the enhanced cuts will likely lead to reduced student services, layoffs, and, for some community colleges, call into question ‘their ability to adequately deliver basic instruction.’” Read more.Andy Thomason

11:49 a.m., Eastern, 7/21/2020

A Viral TikTok Hits Close to Home

5:37 p.m., Eastern, 7/20/2020

UC-Berkeley. Spelman. Morehouse. Grinnell. Miami Dade.

All of those colleges announced on Monday that they would be starting the fall semester remote. The rash of announcements prompted our Lindsay Ellis to take up the question of whether we’re at a tipping point. Has college leaders’ fall optimism collided with the reality of the pandemic? Here’s a key bit from the University of California at Berkeley’s chancellor, Carol Christ:

Berkeley typically has 6,000 classes in the fall, but the university was planning to offer only about 300 face-to-face classes in a hybrid model, Christ said. In-person instruction, Christ said, would have been reserved for courses that would be difficult to replicate online, including complex labs, performing arts, and field work. But the prospect of students, faculty, and staff members returning in the fall constituted what Christ and her team began to describe as a “mass migration event.”

“How do you handle a mass migration event in a way that doesn’t provide seeds for outbreaks?” Christ said.

The answer, Berkeley officials concluded, is: You don’t.

Read the full story, and check out the latest in reopening plans over at our comprehensive tracker.

4:36 p.m., Eastern, 7/20/2020

Campus Privatization and Coronavirus

Check out this instructive Twitter thread from Kevin McClure, associate professor of higher education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington:

4:30 p.m., Eastern, 7/20/2020

Dozens of Professors Reportedly Laid Off at Canisius

The Buffalo News reports that at least a few dozen professors have been laid off at Canisius College as administrators try to close a $20-million deficit spurred by the coronavirus. “Even before the Covid-19 shutdown, the college was addressing enrollment and financial challenges,” read an email from the college’s board chairman. “Those challenges have only been exacerbated by Covid-19.”

Read more.Andy Thomason

4:29 p.m., Eastern, 7/17/2020

UNC Board Tells Chancellors to Envision Extreme Budget Cuts

NC Policy Watch reported Friday afternoon that an email from the University of North Carolina system board chair instructed campus chancellors to submit plans for how they would achieve budget cuts from 25 percent to 50 percent. “These plans should not be general in nature,” wrote the chair, Randy Ramsey. “They should be very specific and include details of which programs will be shuttered, which positions will be furloughed, laid off or eliminated entirely and all other details of how a 25% to 50% spending reduction will be handled.”

Ramsey also wrote that chancellors do not have the final say on their reopening plans, writing that the system board and the system’s incoming president, Peter Hans, would “make the decision about this fall consulting with current leadership.”

Read more.Andy Thomason

2:13 p.m., Eastern, 7/17/2020

A Wave of Fall-Sports Cancellations

At least five athletic conferences canceled or postponed fall sports on Friday alone, including the Commonwealth Coast, North Eastern Athletic, East Coast, and Atlantic 10 Conferences, as well as the Colonial Athletic Association. For now, the conferences that compete in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, its highest tier of competition, are still planning on some form of fall season. — Andy Thomason

1:51 p.m., Eastern, 7/17/2020

Another University Backtracks on Its Fall Plan

Emory University had planned to open residence halls and offer in-person courses. Now the university is limiting the number of students who may return to campus as well as the number of in-person classes it will offer.

Read more in the Emory Wheel. — Andy Thomason

1:47 p.m., Eastern, 7/17/2020

Among UT-Austin’s ‘Triggers’: a Student Death

Many colleges have been mum about what would prompt them to abandon their in-person plans in the midst of the fall semester and default to online learning. But the University of Texas at Austin has publicized some of its triggers. Among the things that would prompt the university to close the campus: a student death, testing shortages, and lowered hospital capacity, among other things.

Read more from The Texas Tribune. — Andy Thomason

4:58 p.m., Eastern, 7/16/2020

App State’s Faculty to Students: ‘Stay Home!’

In an open letter, nearly 200 faculty at Appalachian State University encouraged students to stay away from campus, even as the university’s leadership plans for an in-person semester. “Bringing the broader student body back to campus is irresponsible,” the instructors wrote. “It is not safe for students, staff, faculty or the community.”

While the faculty signatories thanked the university’s leaders and public-health experts for their work in designing a reopening plan, they said such a plan is “insufficient to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in our community.”

Read the faculty letter and the university’s latest communication about its reopening plan. — Andy Thomason

4:47 p.m., Eastern, 7/16/2020

Rutgers Cuts Fees by 15 Percent

Rutgers University is cutting student fees for the upcoming academic year by 15 percent, the institution’s president, Jonathan Holloway, announced on Thursday. Holloway said the move was made “in recognition of the financial hardship that many of our families are facing and to better reflect for this semester the services and resources that this fee traditionally has funded.” The university is planning to offer most instruction online for the upcoming semester.

Read more in the Courier News. — Andy Thomason

1:41 p.m., Eastern, 7/16/2020

…or Maybe Not

1:34 p.m., Eastern, 7/16/2020

Hillsdale Opts for In-Person Commencement Amid Coronavirus Surge

Remember the days of in-person commencement ceremonies? Well those days aren’t over, at least at Hillsdale College, where this weekend students will gather for an in-person spring commencement ceremony, The Detroit News reports.

The private, conservative college’s ceremony comes amid warnings from public-health experts about the safety of such an event. Hillsdale, which does not take Title IV money from the federal government, says participants will be asked to wear masks and socially distance, but that in cases where individuals are unmasked, the college will “respectfully assume that you have a medical condition that exempts you from” Michigan’s mask order.

Read more.Andy Thomason

11:58 a.m., Eastern, 7/16/2020

Classes in Outdoor Tents?

That’s part of the plan at Rice University, according to reporting from the Houston Chronicle:

When Rice University plans to resume its on-site classes in August, students will be bringing their laptops and chairs into nine large tents and temporary buildings in order to manage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials.

“In order to make best use of all our outdoor spaces, we will ask students who have portable chairs to bring them when they return to augment those already around the campus. We will also purchase a number of lightweight, portable camping-style chairs for student use,” [a university] statement read.

11:53 a.m., Eastern, 7/16/2020

U. of Akron Has Shed 23 Percent of Full-Time Faculty

In the latest sign that higher education’s workforce will be severely altered by the pandemic, new layoffs at the University of Akron mean the university’s full-time, unionized faculty has been reduced by 23 percent since the pandemic began. Read more from The Chronicle’s Danielle McLean. — Andy Thomason

5:05 p.m., Eastern, 7/15/2020

3 Colleges Abandon Plans for In-Person Learning in the Fall

Three liberal-arts colleges on Wednesday reversed plans to bring students back for the fall semester.

At Occidental College, all instruction will be remote, and very few students will be allowed to live on campus. “The pandemic has taken a turn for the worse in Los Angeles County,” wrote Harry J. Elam Jr., the president. “Instead of flattening, the curve is now rising.”

The campus in June said it planned to reopen, reducing density in dorms and accommodating online learning for students off campus.

A second reversal came from Dickinson College. A letter sent Wednesday attributed its changed plans to the fact that cases and hospitalizations are going up. When the campus initially said it would bring people back, cases were declining.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that the pandemic is not subsiding,” wrote the president, Margee M. Ensign, announcing that the fall 2020 semester would be remote.

Another factor driving the decision? Getting Covid-19 test results took longer than expected. The campus planned to test all students and faculty when they came to campus, but the expected two-day turnaround lengthened. That time is now between five to seven days, Ensign wrote. “Company representatives say a further increase is likely.”

On Wednesday evening, a third liberal-arts college pulled the plug on in-person learning. Marjorie Hass, president of Rhodes College wrote in a letter to the campus, “Despite our hopes and plans, the external health conditions in Memphis do not support an on-campus fall semester.”

I’ll have my eye on whether these delays are reported at other campuses in the coming weeks. Widespread testing is a staple of colleges’ reopening plans. The Wall Street Journal published this good story on Wednesday, noting that the Texas A&M University System plans to send 15,000 test kits to its campuses each month. Princeton and Harvard Universities plan to test regularly.

These three colleges aren’t the first to change their plans. The University of Southern California and Pomona College did so earlier this month, my colleague Andy Thomason notes on Twitter. On May 7, three-fourths of campuses we tracked planned for in-person operations. Today that figure is 55 percent.Lindsay Ellis

1:52 p.m., Eastern, 7/15/2020

LSU Coach: ‘We Need to Play’ College Football

Ed Orgeron, head football coach at Louisiana State University, said in a roundtable meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and others Tuesday that the college-football season must take place. The remarks come amid surging Covid-19 case numbers in states across the country as well as growing pessimism about whether athletic competition this fall is safe or practical.

“I don’t think we can take this away from our players, take this away from our state and our country,” Orgeron said, according to ESPN. “We need football. Football is the lifeblood of our country.” ESPN reported that Pence applauded as Orgeron said, “We need to play. This state needs it. This country needs it.” — Andy Thomason

1:43 p.m., Eastern, 7/15/2020

A $40-Million Surplus Becomes a $91-Million Loss

The University of Pennsylvania is projecting a $91-million loss in the coming fiscal year, and about $40 million of that is attributed to direct costs from the coronavirus pandemic, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported. (Think personal-protective equipment and more money for financial aid.) That’s a far cry from what the campus expected. Back in December, according to the paper, the university expected a $40-million surplus. Still, that $131-million swing is less than 4 percent of the university’s $3.5-billion budget. — Lindsay Ellis

1:40 p.m., Eastern, 7/15/2020

Poll: Most Students Will Return to Campus If Given the Option

About 76 percent of 800 college students surveyed said that they will return to their campuses in the fall semester if they’re allowed to, according to a new poll from College Reaction/Axios. The poll asked students if they would return to campuses, and what parts of the college experience they would be willing to nix for safety measures.

Most of the students surveyed — 95 percent — said that they wear masks when they cannot practice social distancing.

Most respondents also said they would forgo parties and attending sporting events for the sake of safety. About 71 percent of students said that they would not attend sports games if the games still take place. And about 79 percent of students said they wouldn’t attend parties like those from before the pandemic. — Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz

5:20 p.m., Eastern, 7/14/2020

College-Town Mayor: Reopening Plan a ‘Recipe for Disaster’

The mayor of Charlottesville, Va. decried the University of Virginia’s plans to hold in-person classes this fall and said the institution’s decision to bring students back to campus is “a recipe for disaster,” the Daily Progress reported. The mayor, Nikuyah Walker, expressed concern over recent house parties and other student gatherings.

“I, for one, do not understand why the students are coming back into the community from all over the globe and why we would take that chance,” Walker said on Monday.

UVa.’s fall semester is slated to begin on August 25. The university plans to “offer as many in-person classes as we can,” with large courses moved online and remote learning options for other classes. Officials haven’t yet determined how many students they’ll bring back to campus, according to the Daily Progress.

A UVa spokesman told the newspaper that the institution will release a “broad health and safety plan” later this week. — Sarah Brown

3:58 p.m., Eastern, 7/14/2020

A Grim Thought for Colleges Planning to Reopen This Fall

3:38 p.m., Eastern, 7/14/2020

Big News: Trump Administration Rescinds Visa Rule

The White House has rescinded the guidance that would have prohibited international students from studying at campuses offering online-only instruction this fall. Read more.

1:34 p.m., Eastern, 7/14/2020

Wall Street Journal: White House Mulls Paring Back Visa Rule

The Trump administration is considering scaling back the controversial guidance that would prohibit international students from studying at colleges offering online-only instruction this fall, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to the newspaper, one idea under discussion is to have the rule apply only to new students.

Read more from The Journal.

— Andy Thomason

1:14 p.m., Eastern, 7/14/2020

Pence Goes to LSU

11:53 a.m., Eastern, 7/14/2020

Moody’s: Visa Rule Creates ‘No-Win Situation’

Moody’s Analytics on Tuesday weighed in on the controversial new guidance from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, calling it a “no-win situation” leading to either a big economic or public-health hit. On one hand, there’s a massive financial impact of international students studying in America. These students spend money locally and contribute significantly to STEM graduate programs. (A recent Nafsa report estimated that international students contributed $41 billion to the American economy in the 2018-19 academic year.)

But compelling students to take in-person courses raises big risks to public health, especially because university hospitals have laid off employees, Moody’s Analytics wrote. Pushing students to return to campus might make college towns “mini-hot spots for the virus…stressing local hospital resources.” Recall that, already, college towns have seen outbreaks this summer. Penn State University reported earlier this month that a student living off campus died from Covid-19.

For more, read my colleague Karin Fischer’s story from last week on the ICE guidance. — Lindsay Ellis

3:42 p.m., Eastern, 7/13/2020

Quote of the Day

“Ultimately, no one is playing football in the fall. It’s just a matter of how it unfolds. As soon one of the ‘autonomy five’ or Power Five conferences makes a decision, that’s going to end it.”

— An anonymous, high-ranking college official, in a Yahoo Sports opinion piece

2:55 p.m. Eastern, 7/13/2020

Campus Health Centers as ‘Wild West of Medical Care’

As many colleges plan for in-person learning and residential life this fall, officials will be relying on campus health centers to help carry out key safety measures, like scaling up Covid-19 testing, distributing personal-protective equipment, and isolating students who test positive. But a new Washington Post investigation questions whether those centers are equipped to play such a role, describing the universe of student health facilities as “akin to the Wild West of medical care.”

The Post found that many campus health centers lacked adequate staffing and resources, and chronicled multiple incidents of poor treatment and misdiagnoses that led to serious medical consequences — including several deaths. What’s more, The Post noted, there are colleges that don’t even have an on-campus clinic; some less-resourced institutions employ a nurse to respond to minor medical issues and then refer students off campus for additional care. According to an analysis by the newspaper of 200 colleges, one-third didn’t have a full-time physician on staff.

When it comes to Covid-19, campus health facilities, one consultant said, “most definitely will not have the depth and breadth and resources to manage a significant outbreak.” — Sarah Brown

1:33 p.m. Eastern, 7/13/2020

17 States Sue Over Visa Rule

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have sued the Trump administration over the rule that would forbid international students from studying at colleges offering online-only instruction this fall. The states are seeking an injunction that would block the rule from being enforced. Read more from NBC News. — Andy Thomason

11:45 p.m. Eastern, 7/11/2020

A University of Connecticut professor and clinical psychologist, working with a graduate student, asked students about reopening colleges during the pandemic. Read the thread below.

5:58 p.m. Eastern, 7/11/2020

5:54 p.m. Eastern, 7/11/2020

Greg Sankey, head of big-time college football’s preeminent conference — the Southeastern Conference — told ESPN that his concern about the upcoming season was “high to very high.”

He added: “The direct reality is not good and the notion that we’ve politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings. There’s some very clear advice about — you can’t mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the risk? … We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.” — Andy Thomason

5:51 p.m. Eastern, 7/11/2020

Concern is growing about the exposure of universities’ custodial workers to Covid-19 as campuses prepare to reopen.

The University of Texas at Austin announced on Tuesday that a custodial worker had died from the coronavirus. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a housekeeper told a local TV station that four other housekeepers had been diagnosed with Covid-19 — and that she was cleaning a dorm that housed football players, whose workouts have been paused amid a cluster of cases on the team. “I don’t even think we should be back at work. … It’s like a lose-lose situation,” Jermany Alston told WRAL. “You don’t know which way to go. You don’t know who has it.”

At the University of Maryland at College Park, some housekeepers have reported falling ill — not from coronavirus, but from cleaning buildings in which temperatures have reportedly reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit. The requirement to wear masks and a general reticence to use sick leave in case employees contract Covid-19 in the future have only made conditions more unbearable, some employees told The Diamondback, the university’s student newspaper. — Andy Thomason

2:21 p.m. Eastern, 7/10/2020

The New York Times reports that the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, challenging the Trump administration’s controversial new visa rule, suggested Friday that the suit would likely succeed.

“My gut on it is that the big-ticket item here is going to be a likelihood of success on the merits,” the Times quoted Judge Allison D. Burroughs of the United States District Court for the district of Massachusetts as saying.

No action to block the rule, which would prohibit international students from studying at colleges that offer online-only instruction in the fall, is expected until Tuesday at the earliest, the newspaper reported. — Andy Thomason

12:50 p.m. Eastern, 7/10/2020

Some of the most worrying spread of the coronavirus nationwide is happening in Florida, where cases have grown rapidly in the last three weeks. On Friday, the state’s public flagship, the University of Florida, released its reopening plan. Among the features:

  • All students will undergo Covid-19 “screening” as they return to campus, with “at-risk” students then being tested for the virus
  • The only change to normal on-campus housing arrangements is that no dorm room will house more than two students
  • Courses will be a mix of face-to-face, online, and hybrid

The reopening plan also features a striking preamble, which declares that “the Gator Nation will not be deterred” by the pandemic. It continues:

We have decided that we must learn to live, study, and work in the midst of COVID-19. That is our imperative if we are to achieve the goal we have set for ourselves—to be among the nation’s top research universities. We are committed to reopening and to welcoming students back to campus for the fall semester. We are committed to delivering our academic programs at the highest level of excellence and student success. We are committed to re-instituting our world-class research enterprise. We are committed to providing the public service and outreach for which we are known. We are committed to seeing our students compete and excel in all forms of co-curricular and extracurricular activities — whether in a robotics competition, on the playing field, or in the performing arts center.

— Andy Thomason

12:06 p.m. Eastern, 7/10/2020

According to The Sacramento Bee, California State University’s chancellor, Timothy White, told a Congressional subcommittee Tuesday that the system might have to hold instruction online for the entirety of the academic year. The system was among the first to announce instruction would be primarily online this fall. Read more. — Andy Thomason

5:58 p.m. Eastern, 7/9/2020

5:46 p.m. Eastern, 7/9/2020

The University of Southern California, which recently announced that its fall instruction would occur almost entirely online, also has about 16,000 international students. That makes it (and its students) especially vulnerable to new guidance from the Trump administration that would strip the visas of international students studying at universities where instruction happens online only.

The university on Thursday gave a hint as to how it might be responding to the new rule:

Read more on which institutions may be most affected by the new rule. — Andy Thomason

5:13 p.m. Eastern, 7/9/2020

So begins the whittling down of the college-football season. The Big Ten conference, home to football powerhouses like Ohio State and Penn State Universities, announced Thursday it will only have its members play within the conference for fall sports, including football.

This throws a wrench into existing schedules, with non-conference opponents presumably left to find new teams to fill the now-empty slots. That is, if any kind of athletics calendar is still intact come late August. With the coronavirus surging in sports around the country and football players continuing to test positive, a coordinated, on-time season is looking shaky, at best. — Andy Thomason

3:40 p.m. Eastern, 7/9/2020

Last month, when Williams College announced its plans for a pared-back fall reopening, it also cut tuition and fees by 15 percent for the coming academic year — a move, observers noted, that the nation’s richest liberal-arts college was uniquely well-positioned to make. With an endowment of roughly $10 million, Paul Quinn College has no such security. But the historically Black college announced today that it would reduce the cost of fall attendance by an even greater proportion, from $8,321 to $5,996 — a nearly 28-percent cut.

Paul Quinn’s price reduction came as its president, Michael J. Sorrell, said that the college will offer classes online only in the fall. Among other factors, Sorrell said, campus officials “employed a common-sense standard which gauged the likelihood of the College succeeding in creating an environment where we could both monitor and restrict student and staff behavior.”

It’s not surprising that Paul Quinn administrators weren’t confident they could create such an environment. The college is located in Dallas, Texas; as of yesterday, Dallas County had reported more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases for six days in a row. And even before the coronavirus swept through Texas, Sorrell had argued against optimistic and overeager reopening plans. “The inconvenient reality is that colleges, no matter what we do, are ideal settings for accelerating the spread of Covid-19,” he wrote in a May essay for The Chronicle. “It would be unwise to bring students and staff back to campuses until we have a vaccine and can do widespread testing. To do so without either constitutes unsafe and potentially deadly behavior.” — Brock Read

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2:21 p.m. Eastern, 7/8/2020

Stanford University, one of the wealthiest institutions of higher education in the country, will cut 11 of its 36 varsity sports after the upcoming academic year — yet another sign that the financial uncertainty wrought by Covid-19 will be felt in nearly every aspect of university life, on virtually every campus.

“While Stanford may be perceived to have limitless resources, the truth is that we do not,” wrote three administrators in announcing the cuts. “In general, Athletics has been a self-sustaining entity on our campus, and we are striving to preserve that model in a time when budgetary support for our academic mission is already under significant stress.”

The sports being cut: men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling.

9:13 a.m. Eastern, 7/8/2020

9:30 p.m. Eastern, 7/7/2020

On Monday, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated that international students whose colleges are offering courses online only will not be allowed to remain in the United States, two of higher education’s most prominent lobbying groups decried the decision as “incredibly unfair” and “horrifying.”

A day later, uproar across the sector has only intensified. Writing for The Chronicle, Brian Rosenberg, president emeritus of Macalester College, argued that the Trump administration’s policy will present colleges this fall with a “Sophie’s choice of moving online to protect public health and chasing away their international students, or keeping those students and making more people sick.”

The ICE guidance, Rosenberg wrote, “is among the most mean-spirited policies we have seen from an administration that embraces meanness every day.”

Which raises the question: Faced with guidelines they deplore, what will college leaders, and other critics of the decision, do? On Twitter, professors considered workarounds; many offered face-to-face independent study courses to international students who fear deportation. Andy Schwarz, an antitrust economist who has focused on college sports, recommended that colleges create a one-credit course for international students that “would meet outdoors in a socially distanced way for five minutes a week.” (It’s unclear that either adjustment would meet ICE’s standards for in-person learning.)

Christopher R. Marsicano, a visiting professor of educational studies at Davidson College, proposed a different approach: Rather than look for loopholes, start lobbying. Marsicano, an expert in higher-ed lobbying, laid out a proposal for a grassroots campaign in a widely shared Twitter thread.

Marsicano sounded an optimistic note about the role public pressure could play. There’s evidence that the ICE guidance struck a chord: A change.org petition opposing the regulations had surpassed 170,000 signatures as of late Tuesday. And there’s evidence that college leaders beyond Rosenberg are eager to speak up: Lawrence Bacow, president of Harvard University, criticized the guidance in a statement last night as “a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach to a complex problem.”

Harvard had announced just that morning that it would bring freshmen and some upperclassmen to campus in the fall, but keep all of its instruction online. In his statement, Bacow wrote that the ICE decision “undermines the thoughtful approach” that led to the university’s decision.

For Harvard, that’s a problem. For the Trump administration, that may be the point. At a White House roundtable on Tuesday, President Trump said he would put pressure on governors to open primary and secondary schools, and then took aim at Harvard’s move to online instruction. “I think it’s ridiculous, I think it’s an easy way out, and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves,” he said.

And Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, sounded more direct about the guidance’s intent in an interview on CNN. “This is now setting the rules for one semester, which we’ll finalize later this month that will, again, encourage schools to reopen.”

Cuccinelli cited the range of fall-opening approaches that colleges have adopted, including early start dates and hybrid models. “We’re trying to accommodate as many of those as we can,” he said, “while maintaining the protections for fraud and so forth that are necessary in any sort of international visa program.”

Colleges may be hard-pressed to convince the administration to change its policy on international students. Then again, it wouldn’t be Trump’s first about-face on the issue.

9:14 p.m. Eastern, 7/7/2020

Faculty across the country have registered their concerns about returning to the classroom with new coronavirus cases climbing sharply. On Tuesday, the higher-education subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives heard testimony about the health threat to the other vital employees of higher ed — the “custodians, food-service professionals, and maintenance workers that are disproportionately professionals of color.”

Shaun Harper, president of the American Educational Research Association, urged lawmakers to consider the “critical racial and equity consequences” of reopening college campuses. Federal aid to universities should be earmarked to improve the safety of essential workers, he said. Harper further called on higher-education leaders to consider the racial disparities of the work force when deciding to terminate positions, and to avoid sending students home to vulnerable communities when the fall semester ends.

“It is plausible that students of color returning home from college could pose an especially big risk to communities that have already been disproportionately devastated by Covid-19,” he said.

9:36 p.m. Eastern, 7/6/2020

ICE Releases Guidance for Foreign Students. Academe Erupts.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended higher education in countless ways, but one of the most vexing for colleges has been the impact on international students, who contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2018-19 academic year. On Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued guidance for foreign students that reads more like an escape-room puzzle than a set of instructions aimed at helping them and their host institutions make the best of a horrific situation.

Karin Fischer, our in-house expert on international education, posted her initial reactions on Twitter.

Here are the basics:

  • Foreign students will be allowed to study on American campuses if their courses are a mix of online and in-person, but they’ll have to leave the U.S. if the classes are entirely online.
  • If their college decides that in-person education is too risky, international students must either head back home and study at a distance or transfer to a U.S. college that offers a mix of delivery. Critics say the Trump administration wants to force colleges to reopen their campuses in the fall under a hybrid or in-person model or risk losing international enrollments. (President Trump made his education demands clear — for K-12, at least — in a tweet Monday afternoon.)
  • Colleges planning to go fully online in the fall must submit an operational change plan to ICE by July 15. Those with in-person or hybrid plans have until August 1.
  • A further complication for foreign students who returned to their home countries when the pandemic landed in the United States: Many of them have not been able to return, because flights are scarce and travel bans are in effect. Meanwhile, many new students have been unable to get visas because most American embassies and consulates remain closed.

For some of the international students who have stayed in the United States — and that’s a lot of them — the guidance may force difficult, even dangerous, choices.

For colleges, which have faced criticism from many corners — including the faculty and their own leadership ranks — for planning to continue at least some in-person education in the fall, the guidance may exacerbate pressure to do so.

What would happen to international students if colleges that open classroom doors in the fall have to move to fully remote during the semester? It’s unclear. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, raised concerns in a statement that the guidance could force those institutions’ hands.

Mitchell called the guidance “horrifying.” Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, described it as “incredibly unfair, harmful, and unworkable.”

What You Need to Know: July 6, 2020

  • Harvard and Rutgers Universities both issued reopening plans that will allow some students to live on campus in the fall, with all but a few courses — mostly labs and clinical and studio courses — delivered remotely.
  • Many colleges that are planning to open in the fall for in-person or hybrid learning are counting on a new generation of faster, more accurate tests. But such tests are still months away, The New York Times reports.
  • Four higher-education leaders will testify Tuesday on the impact of Covid-19 on the future of colleges before the U.S. House of Representatives’ higher-education subcommittee.
  • Tweet of the day:




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