Universities May Cancel In-Person Classes Until 2021

In-person classes for the fall of 2020 are uncertain at this time.

Universities across the United States closed down in response to the coronavirus. It seems as if those college students may be staying home a lot longer than they bargained for. It might be possible that online learning continues to be a widespread reality to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. Some universities are already beginning to cancel classes until 2021.

Boston University has already come to that conclusion, making the statement that “all in-person classes and other academic activities” are already being canceled for the summer. Remote classes will be taking their place with “minimum housing and dining services” available. The protocols associated with the coronavirus recovery plan at the University will be in place should it be decided by school officials that students should not return in person.

“The Recovery Plan recognizes that if, in the unlikely event that public health officials deem it unsafe to open in the Fall of 2020, then the University’s contingency plan envisions the need to consider a later in-person return, perhaps in January 2021,” the university said in an online statement.

The president of Boston University, Robert A. Brown, hopes that students may return to the school in the fall. He refers to it as a “best-case scenario.” Efforts will be focused on how to find the safest and best way to do it.

The provost and chief academic officer, Jean Morrison, gave a statement to NBC10 Boston. She admitted that it is a possibility the fall semester would be suspended but it is not what they’re trying to do. She said: “We’re focusing our planning on a fall return to campus.”

Harvard is also looking into different possibilities for remote learning if the need still exists. According to CNN, every possible contingency is being considered so the students can return but it is up to the coronavirus to “determine what happens.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the University of Arizona said that the school is hopeful that they will have a regular school year. They are planning to “prioritize the health and well-being of our community in making that decision.”

When you stop to think about the incoming college freshmen who may have just made their plans for their post-graduation education, it is disappointing, to say the least. They will miss out on the experience of moving on to a big campus. High schools are also missing out on some milestones, from the prom to graduation. Students may be disappointed over the losses, but it is for the best.

An epidemiologist and visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Eric Feigl-Ding, told CNN that colleges are doing the right thing by getting ready for alternate options. “I think colleges should all definitely make plans for delaying start dates and for intermittent closings and reopenings, because epidemiology modeling suggests we may have to go into open and close waves until potentially even 2022.”