As the United States reopens its economy, universities debate between vForget face-to-face classes next year and risk possible coronavirus infections, or stick with the online system that was imposed during the pandemic.
Throughout the country, there are numerous centers that have already announced that classes will resume during the fall semester, which usually begins during the second half of August; but many do not yet know under what conditions and format they will do it.
Meanwhile, thousands of students have participated in the last weeks in a virtual way in the final exams of this school year, and now they are wondering what the next one will be like, since most of them go to universities that are in other states than their residence. usual and must plan ahead for accommodation, meals and transportation.
DOUBTS IN YALE
This is the case of Yale, which forced all its students to leave campus before March 15 and now acknowledges that it does not know if they will be able to return to classrooms next August.
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“Yale will start the fall semester of 2020 on time. The decision on the format of the classes – whether they will be face-to-face, online or using a hybrid format – will be announced in early July,” said Karen Peart, a Yale spokeswoman, a of the most prestigious universities in the United States.
In the same situation is Howard University, in Washington D.C, which argues to Efe that it will publish in June a specific plan for the fall school term after canceling the classroom classes due to the pandemic.
The California State University system plans to cancel almost all face-to-face classes, except for some very specific cases, through a virtual planning strategy, something it considers “necessary for many reasons”.
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“This planning approach is necessary because a course that could start in a face-to-face mode would probably have to be switched to a virtual format during the period if a second serious wave of the pandemic occurs, as predicted,” says his president, Timothy White, in a statement to Efe. For him, the most important thing is the health, safety and well-being of his students, teachers and staff.
PRESENCE CLASSES WITH CAUTION
Even so, there are exceptions, such as the universities of Rice and Notre Dame, in the states of Illinois and Texas, respectively, that have communicated to their students that they hope to recover the face-to-face classes in August with preventive measures, such as the mandatory use of masks in some situations and the end of the school semester before the Thanksgiving holiday, about two weeks earlier than under normal conditions.
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The intention of these universities is to test for the coronavirus upon arrival of their students and professors, and to stipulate a travel restriction plan to better control infections within their community. In the event that someone becomes infected, they will be quarantined until recovery and their contacts will be tracked to stop the virus from spreading.
NEW YORK, WAITING
In New York State, Governor Cuomo decreed on May 1 that colleges and universities would continue to be closed during the current school year, although he announced that he would not make a decision on the reopening of the new course until later.
Likewise, he asked the educational centers to develop plans before an eventual opening; a proposal that has already been picked up by many centers, especially in view of the upcoming graduation ceremony.
NYU University was the first to take a step forward and announced on Tuesday its intention to start face-to-face classes coinciding with the reopening of the 2020-2021 academic year. “We are planning to meet in person, very carefully, in the fall (subject to government health guidelines), both in New York and at our international centers,” says a letter from the university sent to new students.
Among the plans that this New York university is considering are the semipresencial classes, the flexibility when it comes to distributing the courses throughout the three trimesters, or that international students who cannot travel to New York study on the campus of the nearest country to your location.
Likewise, they are reviewing all their spaces to ensure that all classes, activities and events allow maintaining social distance, including reducing density in student residences. The University will provide masks and their use will be mandatory. In addition, antibody tests will be performed and possible infections will be monitored.