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Will Colleges and Universities Have Students on Campus This Fall? – Criteria

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Colleges and universities across the country are trying to anticipate how to handle their students this fall.

Will they teach remotely or have students back on campus for in-person instruction? Will there be hybrids of partly remote instruction and partly regular classroom teaching?

Several institutions have already made decisions to have students back while others have chosen to teach primarily remotely. Many other universities are waiting until later in June to make their decisions.

Before academic administrations can make those final calls, they need data and they also need to have criteria to help make those decision.

They need to determine what factors are most important to protect the health and safety of students, faculty and staff at the same time that they provide quality educational opportunities.

In this episode of WOUB’s Spectrum Podcast, Dr. Kenneth Johnson helps us understand some of the criteria being used to make these critical decisions.

Dr. Johnson is the executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and chief medical affairs officer at Ohio University. He also is the chair of the Ohio Council of Medical School Deans.

It is important to open universities fully for the economic well-being of the institutions plus the economic well-being of the broader communities in which the universities reside, says Dr. Johnson.

However, it also is imperative to protect the health and safety of the broadly defined university community and its neighbors, he adds.

Data is vital, but data sets are ever-changing, almost on a daily basis, Dr. Johnson notes.

So many universities are waiting until society opens a bit to see whether there is any significant resurgence of COVID-19 cases and whether the dangers increase.

Long-term planning is extremely difficult in an environment of ever-changing facts and projections.