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College and university impacts due to Coronavirus

College and university impacts due to Coronavirus

Old Mar 10, 20, 12:31 pm
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College and university impacts due to Coronavirus

There's anecdotal data about college/university study abroad programs being cancelled with students being ordered to return immediately from certain countries such as China, South Korea, Italy, and Japan. [Few programs send students to Iran.] These are generally organized group programs in which undergraduates can have lots or almost no contact with local students (and even local faculty, as some programs organize special classes taught by imported faculty). Graduate students and postdocs are more likely to be doing individual research overseas and might or might not be subject to these policies.

In addition, some universities are discouraging contact with foreign academics and researchers by suggesting that faculty avoid foreign travel and avoid inviting/hosting foreign scholars. Research conferences and similar events are subject to cancellation.

Sporting events are being evaluated, so don't make plans to attend anything without checking whether it will be cancelled and whether spectators will be permitted.

However, the most widely known lists give information regarding colleges and universities that plan to provide all courses on-line or remotely for the remainder of the term. CNN has a map showing seventeen such institutions currently but doesn't provide details for many of them, so it's hard to know whether all classes are involved and other details.

Nevertheless, the following places appear to plan to move to all on-line instruction immediately:

University of Washington (presumably all campuses, of which Seattle is the primary location)

Stanford: they're on the quarter system, so it's unclear (to me at least) whether the policy applies to the remainder of the winter quarter, all of spring quarter or both)

U C Berkeley

Ohio State (main campus is in Columbus)

Princeton

Columbia

Harvard (students are being told not to come back from spring break)
ADDED: Harvard students are being told that they have five days to move out of dorms. Either this is an overreaction or someone there knows more about outbreaks near Boston than the numbers are showing. This will be horribly inconvenient and expensive for many students.

Again, I would be inclined to assume that all campus events at these places are cancelled for the remainder of this academic year unless one has information otherwise. Graduation is likely to be done remotely too unless warm weather really does reduce the incidence of COVID-19 quite quickly. Don't make nonrefundable travel plans.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Mar 10, 20 at 2:02 pm Reason: added as above
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Old Mar 10, 20, 9:57 pm
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Here in San Diego, UCSD and SDSU are moving to online instruction after Spring Break:

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/loc...break/2282686/
https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/loc...arter/2282073/

The exceptions seem to be courses that can't reasonably be moved online (such as labs). I imagine it's similar for the others that have already moved online.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 7:13 am
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Apparently the University of Dayton announced plans to go to all online courses and about a thousand students protested in the streets yesterday evening.

Also, some entire countries have closed their universities or switched to some form of online courses. I think this includes mainland China, perhaps Hong Kong (although IIRC some of their universities were already closed due to protests), South Korea, perhaps Japan, and Italy, although I'm unsure whether only certain regions were covered versus the entire nation.

However, shutting down classes while students continue to live on campus seems pointless as the kids are still congregating and in close contract with one another, while dorm rooms are much worse than living off campus in apartments due to the lack of individual bathroom and kitchen facilities in most dorm units, where in the USA the overall general standard still seems to be double rooms (versus many students sharing rooms in mainland China). Living in frat or sorority houses would generally be even worse, and packing kids together in off campus houses or apartments shared by many people (with no professional cleaning ever) might be worse yet.

ADDED: Greece and the Czech Republic have closed their universities.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Mar 11, 20 at 7:59 am
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Old Mar 11, 20, 7:39 am
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Well, in Singapore over here, class over 50 students will be taught online. All team sport activities and practice have been suspended

Now most campus area will require you to show your ID or else a temperature checking is needed. However, for all staff and student, we had to report our temperature twice daily and keep a proof of photo.

For resident hall, some hall students were ordered to evacuate during late January, because few hall will served as quarantine hall for those student who coming back from high alert countries.

For current situation, the one I like the most is our cafeteria now is less crowded. Since there are less outsider from nearby industry area coming in for lunch.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Harvard (students are being told not to come back from spring break)
MIT is sending its students home - it told undergraduates to begin moving out *this* Saturday and to be fully gone by noon Tuesday

In upstate NY, Syracuse, Cornell and Colgate Universities are all shifting to online courses -- but each university is doing it differently:
  • Syracuse's spring break starts next week; it students are not to come back to campus until at least March 30. Syracuse will communicate further guidance on or around then. After spring break classes will all be online.
  • Colgate is also on spring break next week, March 14-22. It is encouraging students to remain on campus during the break. After spring break, Colgate's classes will be online even though students will be living on campus.
  • Cornell is telling its students not to return after Spring Break, but its break doesn't begin until March 28.
It is really going to suck for the graduating seniors at Syracuse and Cornell.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 8:03 am
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That will be horribly inconvenient and expensive for MIT students.

What will the Colgate students do if they stay on campus for a ten day spring break? The campus is in a small town with not much to do, and I don't believe that they're going to sit around studying throughout spring break. OTOH, I can understand the concern that they might bring diseases back from home or their vacation destinations.

Does anyone know whether NYU is shutting down its classes? Columbia is and the NYC area seems to be a hot spot. NYU seems to have a lot of evening classes too, with local professionals generally traveling to campus by subway.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 9:02 am
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I'll almost always default to this sort of a response, but I'm gonna be very curious to see what happens with respect to room and board bills surrounding these uni closures. It's rough enough when a school closes for a storm (especially for an unnecessarily long time, as was the case with one storm here in VA not too long ago), but I do wonder how someone who has forked over $1500 for a dining plan or several thousand for a dorm room and is now being kicked out indefinitely (perhaps for half a semester given where this is going) is going to react? Were I a parent I'd be having a fun chat with the school about refunding fees for room and board not delivered, particularly if it is a case where it would be mandatory (e.g. "freshman/sophomore forced to live on campus and to buy at least X quality meal plan").

(This is arguably a subset of the "Who pays for a quarantine" discussion, but...well, what does happen if you have an apartment but you're kicked out for a few weeks because of something outside of your control?)
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Old Mar 11, 20, 10:11 am
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If the school is kicking kids out of its own dorms (note that some campuses have privately owned dorms), I would think that a pro-rata refund would be required. Some kids will have no choice but to try to find a storage place for their stuff and maybe rent a car/truck to get it there, although there are a few colleges that permit students to store belongings over the summer so that should be possible also for returning underclass persons. (Fraternity and sorority houses typically also permit summer storage, even for members not currently living in the house, but the storage can be of questionable qualify, for example in a basement which is musty.)

Students living off campus in apartments or rented houses presumably will have no recourse but to pay rent through the end of their leases, although of course they could continue living there in their college towns and move out or store stuff at their convenience. Sublets could be difficult, although they could offer to store belongings for other students; if they charge for this, there could be legal implications.

IMO there should also be partial tuition rebates since the online experience is not the same as having interaction on campus and access to campus facilities, although of course there's an argument that the institution's expenses increase when there is a sudden transition to all online courses.

ADDED: AFAICT there's been no guidance issued by any federal research funding agency regarding COVID-19 policies for business travel that would normally be reimbursed from research grants and contracts.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Mar 11, 20 at 10:35 am
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Old Mar 11, 20, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If the school is kicking kids out of its own dorms (note that some campuses have privately owned dorms), I would think that a pro-rata refund would be required. Some kids will have no choice but to try to find a storage place for their stuff and maybe rent a car/truck to get it there, although there are a few colleges that permit students to store belongings over the summer so that should be possible also for returning underclass persons. (Fraternity and sorority houses typically also permit summer storage, even for members not currently living in the house, but the storage can be of questionable qualify, for example in a basement which is musty.)

Students living off campus in apartments or rented houses presumably will have no recourse but to pay rent through the end of their leases, although of course they could continue living there in their college towns and move out or store stuff at their convenience. Sublets could be difficult, although they could offer to store belongings for other students; if they charge for this, there could be legal implications.

IMO there should also be partial tuition rebates since the online experience is not the same as having interaction on campus and access to campus facilities, although of course there's an argument that the institution's expenses increase when there is a sudden transition to all online courses.
I also think any "act of God" exemptions on refunds/rebates would be strained quite badly (for F&B at least, and probably for dorms as well) in cases where those have been "bundled" (I think that the idea that you can be forced into a set of bundled contracts of adhesion and then the other party, still a going concern, can choose to neither perform to the contract nor refund you might flirt with unconscionability). I think "unjust enrichment" might also come into play.

As to "what will students do" in some of those towns, my guess is that they'll find ways to kill time so long as the internet doesn't go down.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by GrayAnderson View Post
I also think any "act of God" exemptions on refunds/rebates would be strained quite badly (for F&B at least, and probably for dorms as well) in cases where those have been "bundled" (I think that the idea that you can be forced into a set of bundled contracts of adhesion and then the other party, still a going concern, can choose to neither perform to the contract nor refund you might flirt with unconscionability). I think "unjust enrichment" might also come into play.

As to "what will students do" in some of those towns, my guess is that they'll find ways to kill time so long as the internet doesn't go down.
So Colgate is encouraging them to waste a week of their lives playing on the internet and (I assume) drinking, and then classes re-start but everything is online even though the kids are concentrated on campus in close quarters, staying in dorms and eating in college dining halls (which presumably will be kept open but will there be additional meal plan charges for the period?). That sounds like a great plan, although I guess anyone who violates the request to stay on campus during spring break could get a mandatory fourteen day quarantine.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
So Colgate is encouraging them to waste a week of their lives playing on the internet and (I assume) drinking, and then classes re-start but everything is online even though the kids are concentrated on campus in close quarters, staying in dorms and eating in college dining halls (which presumably will be kept open but will there be additional meal plan charges for the period?). That sounds like a great plan, although I guess anyone who violates the request to stay on campus during spring break could get a mandatory fourteen day quarantine.
I mean, for at least some of those kids it is a wash (others swapping off internships/service trips could be anywhere from a net loss to a net gain if they can force a refund).

It sounds like they've sort-of flubbed up, but this reeks of someone at Legal being just a bit too clever by half: If they're going to run everything online, the only reasons for not sending everyone home are either group projects (which might be out of the mix due to "everything being online") or to avoid getting slammed with refund demands for room and board. If they're going to keep everyone packed in the same place, they might as well just go all-in and engage in a full isolation effort but otherwise continue with BAU.
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Old Mar 11, 20, 2:49 pm
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College Republicans returned to campus from CPAC

From the student-run newspaper at Syracuse University:
Members of the SU College Republicans also returned to campus after attending a conference in Maryland where a person who had coronavirus was present, College Republicans president Rody Conway said in a text message to the Daily Orange.Ten members of the SU College Republicans arrived at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland on Feb. 26 and departed Feb. 29, Conway said.

Although there was a person who had coronavirus at the event, SU did not contact members of the College Republicans afterwards, Conway said. The group is still allowed on Main Campus, he said.

“A couple of us have called various health centers including (the Barnes Center at The Arch), and they didn’t give us any information,” Conway said. “They just said to call back later.”

The College Republican members did not come into contact with the patient, and have shown no symptoms, Conway said. The event and hotel staff at the CPAC event also tested negative for the virus, he said.

“As of now, we’re just behaving normally…taking the same precautions as everybody else,” Conway said.
Link: Daily Orange - SU Abroad students may have violated self-quarantine (March 11, 2020)

Last edited by RatherBeOnATrain; Mar 11, 20 at 2:49 pm Reason: typo
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Old Mar 11, 20, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by RatherBeOnATrain View Post
From the student-run newspaper at Syracuse University:

Link: Daily Orange - SU Abroad students may have violated self-quarantine (March 11, 2020)
Credit where it is due, at least they tried reaching out...sigh...
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Old Mar 11, 20, 3:13 pm
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Many Florida Universities (UF, FSU and UCF) are moving their classes online: https://www.news4jax.com/health/2020...irus-outbreak/
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Old Mar 11, 20, 3:40 pm
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My son is on Spring Break from RPI, Rensselaer Polytech this week. The students were basically asked not to come back to campus and that all learning would be "remote" until the end of March. Dorms are still open, but services are very limited. They are encouraging social distancing.

We will also be housing one of his friends from the PNW for the foreseeable future.

The RPI - Harvard hockey tournament will proceed without spectators. Other NCAA contests will be held in accordance with NCAA guidance.

Update: They extended Spring Break by a week and have asked all students to leave student and greek housing by 3/20. Education will be online for the remainder of the semester.

Last edited by AMflier; Mar 15, 20 at 3:08 pm Reason: New Info
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