Winston-Salem Journal: Higher ed for the most part is pretty predictable. The year-to-year routine doesn’t change all that much. But because of COVID-19, all colleges and universities are having to rethink the entire campus experience, from the layout of classrooms to maximum attendance at football games to whether there should be a self-serve dessert bar in the dining hall (which is something Elon University nixed last Monday). There are a million different details to be identified, decided on and, if they’re in high-traffic areas, sanitized.
If you find yourself in an encounter (properly socially distanced, of course) with a college student or a college professor or any other university employee over the summer, here’s an icebreaker for you:
Keeping track of what might happen this fall at colleges and universities in and around Greensboro and Winston-Salem is kind of my main hustle right now. It appears at the moment that all the local schools will reopen in August largely with in-person and on-campus instruction. Most have announced revisions to their fall semester calendars and outlined a few changes to campus operations.
Except for Elon, which laid out a very thorough reopening plan, all the other area schools are still working through most of those details.
Nationally, though, it’s a little bit of a different story, according to this Chronicle of Higher Education survey of higher education leaders at 357 two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The survey was conducted in May, and the results were published Sunday.
According to the Chronicle, nearly 20% of schools say they plan to start the fall semester with most or all instruction online. Think about that a minute: A year ago, that number among traditional brick-and-mortar higher education institutions would have been zero.
Here are some other highlights from the survey:
- 46% of schools surveyed say they anticipate starting the fall semester with in-person instruction. Another 38% are still deciding.
- The survey asked about what conditions college leaders would require to open their campuses in the fall.
The top five responses: increased cleaning protocols (92 percent said this would be required), lower-density instruction (80 percent) mandatory mask wearing (79 percent), an adequate stock of personal protective equipment (74 percent) and mandatory health and safety training for all employees (71 percent).
- The survey also asked about scenarios for which college leaders are developing contingency plans. The top three: declines in total enrollment (88 percent), declines in net tuition revenue (86 percent) and offering most or all fall semester instruction online (78 percent).
The Chronicle also asked if colleges had priced out the items they think they’ll need to open safely in the fall. More than half said they have estimated the cost of things like an adequate stock of personal protective equipment, designated quarantine space and low-density student housing arrangements. I can’t say this enough times: College will look very different in the fall.
P.S.: Most colleges and universities will see enrollment declines this fall of between 5 and 20 percent.
The declines will vary by region, type of school and several other factors.
The good news for colleges, most schools can absorb a 5 percent enrollment decline without too much problem.
Moody’s Investors Service is predicting enrollment increases across the entire higher ed sector of between 2 and 4 percent in the fall. The reason? When the economy goes ‘south’, people go back to college, especially community college.
VERSE: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” Psalm 150
QUOTE: “A person who loves his job, will never work a day in his life.”
MON-SAT 6A-10A(& Sunday@5 host)