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Less than half of US colleges are now planning for in-person classes


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The Chronicle of Higher Education has been tracking over 1,250 colleges across the country to gauge school reopening plans.
In late June, it found that roughly 65% of colleges were planning on in-person semesters. As coronavirus cases have surged in the US, that number has plummeted.
Just 49% of colleges are still planning on an in-person semester, according to the Chronicle’s most recent tally, meaning many institutions have walked back initial decisions to bring students to campus.
Both large public universities and smaller private universities are doing so. On Monday, both Miami University of Ohio and George Washington University in Washington, DC rolled back their in-person reopening plans. Classes are set to start in less than a month.
Schools everywhere are flying blind. There has been limited federal guidance on how to reopen, even though more than 6,300 coronavirus cases have been linked to college campuses.
One university president, Texas A&M’s Michael Young, said forming a plan to bring students back to campus was harder work than when he was a State Department employee drafting a plan to unify East and West Germany — meaning reopening schools has become ending-the-Cold-War levels of difficult.
Schools that are reopening in some capacity are doing so with unusual precautions: The University of Notre Dame is building an outdoor dining hall while Rice University is building outdoor classrooms.
Harvard and Cornell plan to test students for the coronavirus as often as every three days; most colleges are requiring campus members to self-report symptoms daily.
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