Colleges seek to make plans for fall semester, some to reopen in-person classes

Arizona+State+and+others+are+planning+to+reopen+campuses+this+fall

Jackson Dungan

Arizona State and others are planning to reopen campuses this fall

Ole Olafson, Reporter

Just like individual states are making decisions on how to reopen their economies, colleges and universities are beginning to announce their plans for campus —  or in some cases, no campus life for the upcoming fall semester.

Shawn Huber reported today for the New York Times that progressively more colleges and universities are announcing whether they will reopen their campuses to students this fall.

To this point, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency within states and sometimes even within school systems.

The chancellor of the California State University system has announced that state universities would continue offering the majority of their classes remotely this fall, while the University of California plans to reopen their campus following summer break.

Here in Arizona, most Maricopa County Community Colleges seem to be planning to follow the lead of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona in reopening their campuses, while Scottsdale Community College has announced plans to continue with remote learning for most of their students.

Some schools seem to be following the lead of their Governors.

Georgia and South Carolina were two states who pushed to reopen early and the University of Georgia, along with the University of South Carolina and Clemson have already announced that their campuses will reopen for fall semester.

There is likely a financial element in some school’s decision to reopen their campuses.

The New York Times reported in April, that many universities are struggling after having to shut down in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.  Many are having to cut spending and freeze hiring in addition to some schools reportedly asking coaches and administrators to take temporary pay cuts.  All this comes as experts predict a 15% decrease in enrollment for the upcoming school year and the absence of foreign students who will likely be kept out by travel restrictions.

Revenues from bookstores, room and board, campus parking and college athletics would potentially be lost if campuses choose to not reopen for fall semester.  Many schools seem to be preparing for a variety of situations and remaining flexible may turn out to be the new norm for institutions going forward.