Some colleges plan fall re-opening

“That’s what we’re planning towards, and that’s what we’re hoping for."

University leaders across the country are hopeful their doors will open this fall.

While some American colleges are preparing for the worst, many of the country’s higher learning institutions are planning for a return to campus life in the fall.

Universities in America's largest cities, many of which were also coronavirus hot spots, universities in less populated areas are planning to reopen in fall 2020. Colleges from the Mountain West to the heartland to New England have all expressed similar plans. 

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1. Purdue University

Purdue University president Mitch Daniels seems committed to restoring normalcy, leading the charge to transition away from online schooling.  

“I can tell you for the moment, there is strong, strong interest for a Purdue education for this fall,” Daniels said, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier. “We have every intention of being on campus this fall. We are sober about the challenges that will bring. We believe in the value of the on-campus experience, and we’re determined, if we’re permitted to do so by the public authorities and medical circumstances. If at all possible, we intend to be open and operating.”

“Whatever its eventual components, a return-to-operations strategy is undergirded by a fundamental conviction that even a phenomenon as menacing as COVID-19 is one of the inevitable risks of life,” Daniels wrote in a letter to students. “Like most sudden and alarming developments, its dangers are graphic, expressed in tragic individual cases, and immediate; the costs of addressing it are less visible, more diffuse, and longer-term.  It is a huge and daunting problem, but the Purdue way has always been to tackle problems, not hide from them.” 

2. University of Idaho

The University of Idaho also announced a tentative decision to hold in-person classes. 

“We have been thinking and talking about the fall semester,” Dean of Students Blaine Eckles told student paper The Argonaut. “At the moment, we are planning to be open like we typically would be for the fall semester. That being said, as we have shown over the last several weeks, we are going to work closely with public health as we get closer to that date and time. We will pivot if we need to.”

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3. University of Missouri

In a letter from the chancellor to students, faculty, and staff, the University of Missouri announced it plans to open in the fall, saying, “We have teams working on the planning required to bring our beautiful campus to life once it is possible.”

“While remote classes will continue through the summer, we expect to return to in-person operations and classes this fall. In consultation with public health officials and Mizzou’s own health care experts, we are developing plans for our return to campus within a ‘new normal’ that we expect will be necessary." 

“Of course, the situation demands continued flexibility based on the evolving public health situation and in the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff,” the letter continued, “but we are looking forward to the fall semester.”

4. Miami University

Ohio's Miami University President Gregory Crawford voiced support for a fall return, writing to the campus, “We still expect everyone will return to our campuses this fall, and to welcome a diverse and talented first-year class for face-to-face instruction. We are all eager to see both old friends and new faces, and our passion to educate them is elevated. And as always, nothing is more important in our decision-making than the health and well-being of every single person in our community.” 

Crawford noted the economic hardship caused by the shutdown and saying that he would be taking a 25 percent pay cut.

5. William Jewell College

William Jewell College also announced plans to reopen its campus, with the Missouri school heavily emphasizing its ability to respond to any outbreaks of COVID-19 on campus.

“We are committed to our plan to provide students a safe living and learning experience on campus for the fall semester,” said school president Dr. Elizabeth MacLeod Walls. “With support from the Board of Trustees, City of Liberty and Clay County Public Health Center, we intend for William Jewell College to be open for in-person classes and co-curricular activities in August.”

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6. University of New England

The University of New England also remains optimistic, citing a desire to protect the health of its students, altering class sizes if necessary.

“Our goal is to be open one way or the other in the fall,” UNE President James D. Herbert said. “That’s what we’re planning towards, and that’s what we’re hoping for. Now we recognize that until a vaccine comes along, it’s probably going to look a little different.”

“I don’t know what it’s going to be,” he said. “But I would rather open up, even if it means we have to modify how we do business, than not open up until we can open in a completely normal way.”

7. University of Maine

The University of Maine also indicated that it plans to reopen in the fall, in accordance with state rulings. 

“We are planning under the assumption that there will be public health guidance in place that will require the university to adapt protocols and practices as part of our work to safely bring students, employees, and the public back to our campuses in the fall,”  university spokesman Dan Demeritt told the Bangor Daily News. “Consequently we could have thousands of decisions to make under a broad array of operational and academic categories.”

This is a developing list. If you know of other universities facing similar lawsuits, let us know by emailing

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