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COVID-19: New York State To Lay Out Plans For Reopening Colleges, Universities In 'New Normal'

Colleges must come up with a plan to reopen in New York.
Colleges must come up with a plan to reopen in New York. Photo Credit: ny.gov

New York State will soon be releasing guidance for colleges and universities as they prepare for the fall semester amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Jun 18 in Albany, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state will be issuing guidance to schools to allow some potential residential and in-person programming in the fall.

Colleges fall under Phase 4 of New York’s economic reopening plan. Cuomo said that before opening up for classes, universities would have to address four considerations: a reopening plan, a containment plan, a monitoring plan, and a shutdown plan in case the virus spreads across any campus.

Cuomo cautioned, however, that it remains unclear what college and university campuses will look like in the fall, when there could be a second wave of the virus. 

He noted that it is likely some schools will have to transition to a hybrid-learning method, including a combination of in-person and distanced education.

According to a survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 73 percent of those polled are planning in-person instruction this fall. Fifteen percent are waiting to decide what to do, while 5 percent are considering a range of scenarios or proposing a hybrid model.

States in the Northeast have been working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a plan for a hybrid approach for K-12 students. 

Under hybrid learning plans, students will have the option to take any course, or portions of courses, online or in-person, with the exception of courses that have been pre-designated as distance learning classes.

“We’re asking colleges to develop plans,” Cuomo said. “But we still need more data between now and September before we can make any diminutive determination. Colleges will be following the same guidelines as K through 12 schools.

“Colleges can go and get examples of considerations, but we need reopening plans, monitoring plans, containment plans, and shutdown plans,” he added.

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