College during coronavirus: Fall reopenings a mixed bag for campuses

Many are pursuing mixed reopening models, such as ending the semester before Thanksgiving or hosting both online and in-person classes.

As new COVID-19 infections slow across the United States, universities are announcing plans to reopen in the fall.

The infection rate from COVID-19 is decreasing in most of the United States. As a result, institutions of higher education are weighing their options for resuming in-person classes in the fall.

Over the past few weeks, many university systems—especially those in states less affected by the pandemic—have announced that they are reopening in the fall of 2020. Virtually all of these universities also announced measures to mitigate the spread of the virus among students, including sanitation stations, the use of facemasks, and designated “quarantine” dorms in which to house students who will almost inevitably become infected.

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Several university systems are introducing hybrid learning models. Some systems—including the University of California schools—are hosting a mix of in-person and online classes. Others, including the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas, are ending their semesters early in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19 in late 2020. 

Many other universities are awaiting a decision or have announced a deadline this summer for a final decision. Meanwhile, they have postponed the class registration deadline for fall semester classes until July or even August in some cases so that students can decide whether to enroll knowing for certain whether the classes for which they register will be online or in-person.

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Some schools, like the University of Pennsylvania, have released statements strongly implying that they will reopen in the fall but have made no definitive statements as of yet. 


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