Back to Campus or Zoom?

As the fall semester quickly approaches many students, especially college students, are uncertain of their future in the COVID era. Many colleges in California have completely moved their instruction to online whereas other states are attempting to allow students back on campus although many restrictions are required. Not only will this be morphing class structure but even go as far as only allowing a small percentage of students to live in dorms on campus. International students will be suffering the most as many are and will struggle to obtain student visas especially if their classes are online only. As August is on the horizon, many colleges have made tentative announcements but none are set in stone. A lot depends on the spread of the virus as it has become rampant in many states yet again.

College sports are also a huge concern and question mark when it comes to what will be allowed and safe in the Fall semester. The Ivy Leagues (Yale, Harvard, Penn) has decided that Fall sports, including college football, will not be permitted at their institutions in Fall 2020 but could be reconsidered in January. In contrast, Penn State’s athletic director was quick to deem that making their next football season potentially in Spring 2021 was the last resort. Of course, a huge difference is in profitability and the decision for the Ivy League to take away sports for Fall isn’t as drastic as Penn State needing to furlough their millions in athletic revenue.

Students hoping to apply to college for the coming years are also facing challenges as no college campuses are currently open for tours. A lot of students spend days or even weeks touring colleges but for now, a virtual tour must suffice. These students are also struggling to apply to colleges as many have not taken the Standardized Tests that so many colleges require or strongly encourage.

Overall, many smaller colleges or branch campuses must succumb to closure due to low return rates or just cuts in funding. MacMurray College in central Illinois announced that they would be shutting their doors for good after 174 years due to declining enrollment and financial issues. Much like many small colleges, MacMurray College was defeated by the pandemic and the many hardships it caused fiscally and developmentally.

A lot of questions are still being asked and we may not know the answers until the very last minute. But the most important and obvious priority is the health and safety of students and faculty and no risks will be taken when it comes to the reopening of universities.

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