With the number of COVID-19 infections decreasing thanks to masking and vaccinations, many governors have released the mask usage and other restrictions that kept many of us at home since last March.
The first coronavirus article on my blog was published on March 5, 2020. I asked our program director for Public Health, Dr. Samer Koutoubi, M.D., Ph.D., to write a guest post about the effect of the pandemic on our schools.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, weekday mornings began with the sound of my alarm chirping, usually at 6 am. Leaping out of bed, I would shower, shave, get dressed, and head downstairs for a cup of coffee and bowl of cereal before getting in the car.
On July 31, three researchers associated with the Yale School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School published an article in the JAMA Network Open (the Open Journal of the American Medical Association). This article described a study outlining a simulation the Yale and Harvard researchers developed to determine what would be needed in order to operate a college campus safely this fall.
In an article published by Brookings, authors Steven Hemelt and Kevin Stange report that their analysis suggests that moving classes online is unlikely to reduce instructional costs. According to the authors (who are associate professors of public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan, respectively), evidence on the relationship between online coursework and costs is sparse, and the evidence on how online instruction differs by program and field is largely nonexistent.
With cases of the coronavirus on the rise around the U.S., colleges leaders that made the early call to go online for the fall appear more prescient every day as we get closer to the anticipated start date. While the safety of students, faculty, and staff has to be at the forefront of any decision to return to campus, there are some who have asked if the decision to return has been driven primarily by financial considerations.
Nationwide, all aspects of higher education were forced to quickly adapt to the deep and widespread changes necessitated by mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic. While the movement to work from home has impacted all of us differently, I'm proud of what we have collectively accomplished at American Public University System and in higher education as a whole. By making the decision to "social distance" and then "work remotely," I believe we minimized the potential spread of the virus to all of us.
In the second part of this blog interview, Dr. Karan Powell and Father Malachi further explain Saint Francis University's conversion to an online learning format.
Saint Francis University is one of the oldest Catholic universities in the United States with an enrollment of approximately 2,300 students and a Division 1 athletic program. I was curious how they converted from face-to-face courses to online learning, and Dr. Powell and Father Malachi Van Tassell agreed to provide me with answers to a few of my questions.
As an anthropologist, I've been studying wildlife overseas for the last 17 years. The global pandemic has created challenges and upheaval for most of us, personally and professionally.