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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/14/20

We hope you will join us on August 21 for our next Friday 5 Live!  Denise Swett will help us look at what to expect for the fall semester, predict the future of this term, and provide insights into student needs and resources.  We look forward to our discussion on August 21!


The State of Higher Education This Week

This week saw students begin to move into residence halls and prepare for the fall semester.   Institutions like Pace are requiring students to self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  At Colgate University, students won’t do this alone.  Colgate’s president, Brian W. Casey, will quarantine in a residence hall room eating the same food that is delivered to students and abiding by the same rules as an act of solidarity with Colgate’s students.  His mother has promised to send him cookies during his time in self quarantine.

“Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble. Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of Covid-19 is significant.”  - Larry Scott, the PAC-12 conference’s commissioner


The PAC-12 and Big 10 Conferences announced this week that they would not participate in NCAA sports this fall, including football.  The Power 5 conferences also met to discuss fall football.  The NCAA has issued new guidance for the fall semester which includes that student athletes who opt not to play due to health concerns cannot be penalized for that decision. As of late last week, 11 of 23 Division II conferences have announced they will not play fall sports; Division III did not report the number of conferences that have suspended fall play. The NCAA called off fall championships for Division II and III sports.


500: The number of colleges that expect to function in person, at least in part, for the fall


Inside Higher Ed reports this week on the BioButton which will roll out at Oakland University this fall.  The half-dollar sized button adheres to the skin and collects data like temperature and respiratory rate so university officials can follow up with individuals who might be exhibiting early signs of COVID.  While the initial plan made it mandatory for students living on campus to wear the buttons, the university is now encouraging faculty, staff and students to wear the buttons.  There has been pushback from privacy experts on mandatory data collection and tracking.


Students returning to campus are finding major differences in their dining hall experiences as a result of COVID. At institutions like St. Norbert and Cornell, large dining hall capacity has been cut in half.  Rather than all you can eat buffets, students can expect to have set times to collect to-go meals and alternative eating locations like outdoor tents.  Students will be asked to eat quickly to allow for sanitizing between dining sessions.  Many institutions have also adopted OpenTable for students to use to make reservations for food pick up or to space out dining-in options.  Overall, students should expect to see menus that cater to grab-and-go options or take and reheat and constant reminders to stay distanced from fellow students.


Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week on a new movement to abolish “predominantly white fraternities and sororities that has gained traction at more than a dozen campuses this summer, driven by the national reckoning over racial injustice.” Many students of color are frustrated by Greek life’s inaction on diversity and inclusion. Fraternities and sororities are disbanding on campuses like Swarthmore and American University, and at Vanderbilt, students are pushing campus-wide discussions about the role of Greek life in today’s higher education settings.
Author: Meg Foster
August 14, 2020
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