There is a wide range of issues that are currently being debated when it comes to the COVID-19 outbreak. For starters, people want to know when their children will be able to go back to school. College-age students also want to know if their semester is going to start on time.
The news is starting to roll in and it’s not positive. Dr. Fauci is already warning against the idea of opening schools until we are able to find a vaccine. The level of risk that schools would be taking on by deciding to open would be tough to swallow. It’s easy to see why so many of them are taking a cautious approach.
California State University is getting out in front of this issue with their newest announcement. Their 23 campuses will remain closed through the fall semester. They are the largest university system to make this sort of announcement but it should not be surprising to anyone.
Timothy P. White is the chancellor and he is already on record as stating that exceptions could be made. Nursing students could be allowed to return to a conventional classroom setting if safety and health precautions allow for it. Other essential forms of instruction may also be allowed to take place.
These types of conversations are a long way off, though. Most undergraduate students are going to be asked to attend classes online. White says that there is simply no way for the university to operate in the manner that his students have become accustomed to. Universities are also going to be forced to worry about the second wave of the virus once fall rolls around.
The last thing that any school wants is to become complicit in the spread of COVID-19. Non-partisan health experts are predicting a horrific second wave once fall arrives and it is best to get out in front of this issue now. The public immunity rate is not going to rise to a rate that makes larger gatherings tenable.
There is no imminent vaccine either. While scientists and researchers are working as fast as they can, there is no chance of receiving a widely available vaccine within the calendar year. It is very possible that White has been in touch with Dr. Fauci, as much of what he has said reflects his sentiments.
Dr. Fauci also had an interesting back and forth with Republican senator Rand Paul. Paul believes that the economy needs to be reopened and Dr. Fauci is preaching caution. Since there are new discoveries being made on an everyday basis, no one can say for sure what the future holds. In the meantime, all we can do is take the necessary precautions.
The decision that was made in California is not indicative of the rest of the country’s thinking. At the moment, 75 percent of all schools are still planning on holding in-person classes this semester. Some schools may also be able to have a hybrid curriculum, where online classes are combined with in-person learning.
Universities must also take the comfort of their student body into account when they are making these decisions. Let’s face the facts here. Students are not going to be able to enjoy the learning process and take their education to the next level when they are worried about contracting a potentially deadly virus.
The rest of the country now awaits further instruction from the schools and universities in their region. We cannot begin to imagine the level of stress that parents must be feeling at this point in time. What about the younger children that are going to need around the clock attention and care?
These children are going to have a rough go of things next year. Many parents are still considered to be essential workers and they cannot stay home all day. Homeschooling is hard! Parents all over the globe are learning the hard way about the difficulty of teaching. It seems so simple until you actually have to put together a lesson plan and spend your whole day making sure that your children are able to learn.
If this tragic event provides people with a greater level of appreciation for what teachers can do, we are all for it. Universities are probably going to remain closed across the board this fall and we wish college students all of the best. Online classes are also not as easy as they seem. More and more students may decide to take a gap year as well. One thing is for sure: tough decisions lay ahead.