Regardless of whether the rest of the country reopens, a number of U.S. university and college administrators say the odds of resuming in-person classes this fall are slim at best.
Barbara Mistick, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, says schools are concerned about coronavirus outbreaks if they jump the gun on resuming classes. Also, she says getting ready for a deluge of students takes time. “Most institutions need somewhere around a six-week to two-month runway to be able to be open,” Mistick says. “There is concern about bringing students back to campus too soon and perhaps having an outbreak.”
Most schools, like Boston University and Harvard, have already pulled the plug on all in-person summer classes and activities. But many are unwilling to commit to a fall return just yet. “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,” a statement issued by Boston University reads.