College reopen dates
College reopen dates remain uncertain for some institutions in the US. Source: SAUL LOEB/AFP

COVID-19 has unleashed a cloud of uncertainty over many universities around the world, especially regarding college reopen dates.

US universities are no different; many institutions are mulling over how they can adjust their teaching to the new norm, if such a thing would even be possible.

Inaction from universities, however, spells uncertainty for both domestic and international students in the US who are left wondering what to do when September rolls around: Continue learning online or head back to campus?

Getting the answer to this question is made harder still when not all universities are forthcoming with their college reopen dates.

Some universities plan to reopen in the fall

Radford University in Virginia is one of the US universities with a clear statement that they will reopen in the fall.

The university said its campus reopening will include full operations, such as on-campus housing and dining services, followed by face-to-face instruction beginning on August 24, 2020.

The reopening process will begin on August 3, 2020.

The university’s president Brian O Hemphill said they are “working diligently on contingency planning to account for continued developments based on analysis and research by public health experts. 

“Additionally, we are examining policies and procedures regarding social distancing protocol; personal protective equipment, or PPE, utilisation; testing availability; classroom configuration; event size; etc.”

The Seattle Times reported that Western Washington University will open for in-person classes this fall, but expects to use include online classes as well.

Other institutions that plan to reopen in the fall include Baylor University, Arkansas State University and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, to name a few. 

Others universities remain unsure

College reopen dates

Some US institutions have not committed to reopening this fall. Source: ROBYN BECK/AFP

Other universities, however, are using the “wait and see” approach. 

For instance, Tufts University will be closely monitoring the developing situation regarding the COVID-19.

Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences James Glaser was quoted saying by The Tufts Daily that the university is currently uncertain if it will reopen in the fall and is planning for multiple possibilities.

“I wish we could tell people, you know, here’s the plan, but some things have to develop further,” Glaser said.

Meanwhile, according to The Amherst Student, Amherst College President Biddy Martin said via a virtual town hall for students that the college hopes to have a decision on the status of the fall semester by June.

Martin reiterated that the college’s actions will continue to shift as the situation does, and advised students to wait until the college makes an announcement about the fall semester before deciding whether to take a gap year or semester.

In a statement dated April 30, Cornell University said they remain hopeful that they will be able to resume campus operations and welcome students back to their campuses for the start of the fall semester, but note that “it is simply too soon to make that guarantee”. 

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