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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/28/20

At Innovative Educators, we recognize that it has been a challenging year for our friends in higher education, and we are inspired and amazed at all the hard work you’ve done to prepare for a fall semester that promises to be unlike any other!  We also believe in celebrating milestones and your accomplishments.  To that end, we would love to see your first day of school pictures of you, our colleagues and friends in higher education.  Please email your picture (at work, at home, in your shield or your mask) to Meg (  One back-to-school pic entry will win a $250 scholarship for students at your institution!



The State of Higher Education This Week

The first week of classes for many schools began with a Zoom glitch serious enough to halt learning across the U.S.: not an auspicious beginning to fall 2020.  The week also brought more shifts to fall learning plans with institutions including Towson University, the University of Oregon, and Virginia State University moving all learning online.  COVID cases continued to rise at colleges and universities prompting officials in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to close bars and restaurants for two weeks.  Other schools cracked down on students’ behavior. At Ohio State University, 228 students received interim suspensions for violating new coronavirus-related safety guidelines. Central Michigan suspended all Greek-life activities in an effort to curb students socializing in large groups. But is it fair to blame students for COVID outbreaks?



The Chronicle of Higher Education examined institutions’ responses this week to growing COVID cases on their campuses. While schools like Purdue and Syracuse University enforced student-conduct codes, the message being sent to students: “their behavior was jeopardizing universities’ painstaking plans to offer a safe, in-person semester.”  Critics question whether it is fair to blame college students, who have been away from friends for months, for engaging in their “normal” social college experience.  What blame should college administrators shoulder having students return to campus during a pandemic while expecting vast changes in student behavior?

“Dear administrators who are scolding students for messing up your ill-conceived plans: instead of blaming the students, perhaps we should analyze why you put them in that position in the first place.” - Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College


American College Health Association (ACHA) released guidelines this week advising college officials on how to protect vulnerable campus populations as they respond to the pandemic. Recommendations include: educating and training providers in culturally competent care and treatment and offering on-campus housing for students whose family homes are not a safe or supportive option.


447: COVID cases at Georgia College - representing 6% of the student population


Education Dive reports this week on the U.S. Department of Education’s new regulations governing distance learning.  While the definition of a credit hour remains the same, new regulations include criteria for evaluating faculty interaction with students and an allowance for the use of instructional teams versus individual instructors for classes.  While the regulations go into effect in July 2021, institutions are encouraged to begin implementing them now.


Innovative Educators On-Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


Kallaco, a four month old company, has received millions of dollars from Virginia colleges and universities to provide COVID tests for incoming students.  The throat swab tests are being mailed to students for at-home testing.  According to the FDA, however, these COVID tests are not designed for personal use but rather should be administered by a professional. Students and faculty are questioning the legitimacy of the tests as well as the company providing them.
Author: Meg Foster
August 28, 2020
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