These Universities Say Their Students Will Return to Campus in the Fall

April 30, 2020 Updated: April 30, 2020

College campuses in at least four states are expected to reopen for students and faculty in the fall—after dozens of universities across the US were forced to shutter their classrooms through the end of the semester.

Amid an unfolding pandemic, many institutions have said their summer classes will also be online or canceled while others consider keeping campuses closed in the fall.

Here is who is taking steps toward reopening:

In Alabama

The University of Alabama system says it plans to have teachers and students return to campus for in-person instruction for the fall semester, Kellee Reinhart, the senior vice chancellor for communications, told CNN.

The system includes the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Earlier this month, the system created a task force comprised of health experts that will help develop a plan for a safe reopening of the campuses.

“The task force will consider testing measures, enhanced cleaning, classroom procedures, housing policies, security and wellness programs, and the provision of personal protective equipment in developing a comprehensive plan to protect students, faculty, and staff,” the system said in a statement.

Reinhart says the plan is to return to on-campus instruction at all three universities.

“I think that’s everybody’s goal,” she said.

The plans that will be developed will be announced before campuses reopen and will later be made available to other two and four-year colleges and universities, the system said.

In North Carolina

In North Carolina, at least 17 campuses are expected to reopen, according to a statement by the University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper.

The system is comprised of 16 universities including, Appalachian State University, North Carolina A&T State University, the University of North Carolina schools, Western Carolina University, and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

“We are optimistically seeing indications of improvement and hopeful that this will continue,” the statement said. “North Carolina will likely have improved capacity for tracking student exposure and greater access to the tools, materials, and supplies that can help minimize the virus’s threat.”

University leaders will determine what measures need to be taken for vulnerable populations that can’t risk returning to class, the statement says.

In North Dakota

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a motion supporting the return of students to campuses in the fall “while maintaining a safe environment for faculty, staff, and students,” according to the state’s university system website.

The board governs 11 publicly supported colleges and universities, according to the website.

In a later news conference, the governor expressed his support for the decision.

“Given the population of the typical age of a college student is at less risk, I think it’s a smart way to signal that we’re going to try to figure out a way to add, at least at a minimum, a mix of in-person and online heading into next fall,” Gov. Doug Burgum said.

In Texas

Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec said in a statement this week the university will reopen its campus in the fall in a “phased return approach.”

“This decision is predicated on the fact that COVID-19 cases in the City of Lubbock continue to decline and that health officials advise us that it is possible to implement a return-to-campus process in a manner that protects the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff,” the statement said.

But campus life will be different, the president said.

Some scenarios officials are currently looking at include the use of “protective masks, testing, contact-tracing, and other tools.”

“We are developing several ways to reduce the density of groups in our student facilities, large lecture-based classrooms, and our popular campus areas,” the statement said. “These same plans extend to special events, including athletics.”

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