The month of July triggers many memories. When I was younger, the month kicked off with the Fourth of July holiday festivities of picnics and fireworks, all of which were fascinating to me, my siblings, cousins, and friends. July 4 was also my grandfather’s birthday, an occasion that we were fortunate to celebrate with him through his 95th.
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.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Inside Higher Education and Hanover Research have regularly surveyed college and university presidents, asking questions about their actions during the crisis. More recently, these presidents have been asked about their expectations of when campus life will return to normal.
On June 2nd, the virtual world exploded into an armada of black squares, and the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday dominated social media feeds. The murder of George Floyd, as with countless others before him, cast a harsh spotlight on our country’s painful racial divides. For some, the decision whether or not to participate in social media activism is based on personal beliefs about the movement itself and the many nuances surrounding the issue of racial injustice in America.
As a parent of Division I athletes, I found the points in the Forbes article “Has Higher Education Lost Its Mind?" written by Donna Lopiano and Andrew Zimbalist to be more than interesting. The authors opened their article with news about the suspension of voluntary summer workouts at the University of Houston, when six players tested positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks after their return to campus.
In a recently published article, Wall Street Journal reporters Dana Mattioli and Konrad Putzier ask the question, “When It’s Time to Go Back to the Office, Will It Still Be There?” Mattioli and Putzier state that because of the coronavirus pandemic, there will likely be fewer offices in the center of big cities. Companies will build hybrid schedules that will allow workers to stay home part of the week to free up space for social distancing, and smaller satellite offices will pop up in less-expensive suburbs as the workforce becomes less centralized.
Inside Higher Ed’s Rick Seltzer writes about two initiatives related to measuring institutional financial health. Mr. Seltzer reports that the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) voted to continue to use the federal financial composite scores as the primary factor for evaluating whether or not institutions are eligible to be members.
The month of March was not a good month for higher education. With the national, state, and local social distancing recommendations, college leaders recognized that college campuses had to be closed. Within two weeks, almost all of our colleges and universities transitioned to online classes with students attending classes remotely from home, their off-campus apartments, or in a few cases, from their dormitories.
In January, I went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning, unable to breathe. I was literally gasping for breath. I had a dry cough, no sense of smell, a throbbing headache, and a low-grade fever. Yet I had no symptoms the day before: no cold, no cough, not even the sniffles.
You are not alone – we need one another to remind each other that it’s OK to feel anxious, afraid and helpless. We are human and wired that way to respond to a threat, even when it is invisible. Feeling out of control is only natural. But we do have control over our inner self-narrative.