School in the 2020-2021 Academic Year & Coronavirus (Part 1)

I’ve been reading all of the coronavirus threads here as well as a lot of scientific articles that my doctor friends have been posting on other sites. What I can’t seem to grasp is the timeline of any sort of recovery from this pandemic. Many scientists point to an 18-24 month scenario.

I understand that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes with research but it seems there’s no cohesive plan past putting out the fire of the infection spikes across the country. What comes next? I don’t think I’m being particularly pessimistic when I say I don’t see standardized tests happening in the summer or in the fall and I do not see how colleges can call the kids back to campus in August. August is four months away.

What would have to happen regarding COVID-19 testing in order for school to resume? Does every American need an antibody test? Do we need to find meds that lessen the symptoms and decrease the mortality rate of the virus? Or do we flat out need to wait until there’s a vaccine before kids can safely go back to school? How will colleges make this decision?

Unfortunately, I think it’s too early to tell right now. The state that I live in is desperately trying to deal with the immediate crisis…which is pretty bad. The primary goal now is to save lives and flatten the curve. Discussions about anything else will resume once this immediate crisis is controlled.

I think families with college students have to sit tight, but I do recognize how difficult that is. As far as SAT testing…I don’t see it happening in the near future.

I think families will have to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks and months. Depending on how this goes, I suspect my D will stay with her position an extra year (or more) before applying to grad schools…but she has an essential job where she can work from home. I feel she is blessed compared to others who are struggling…and that makes me very sad. The stories I see and hear about are gut wrenching. D already said she signed up to babysit for healthcare professionals (she had the virus). Not sure if they will call her.

I know how stressful this is, but unfortunately nobody has the answers and for the time being we all have to wait and see.

@twogirls yeah I know. Wait and see…

But why is there no info out there as what comes next after we get through this scariest of time with the spike in cases? There must be experts out there somewhere planning what comes next. That’s what I’m curious about.

Honestly…I think it’s because things are so bad that the only goal is to save lives and flatten the curve. I know ER doctors in my state who say they don’t have the supplies they need. It’s bad…college and SAT testing just isn’t a priority right now.

Hopefully things will settle down a little by May or June and then these discussions can take place.

In the meantime many families will be analyzing their finances and trying to figure out what makes sense…in a world where we don’t really know.

@twogirls I know and I respect that. I’m not talking about doctors on the front line coming up with a long term plan, but there are researchers working on all kinds of meds, rapid tests, and vaccines. I presume they are also working on a plan as to how to use them once they are safe and whether we are realistically looking at a few more months until people can be near each other or if it will be much longer.

I hear about testing everyone for antibodies…when would that happen and how would those results determine if schools could open etc?

So, really, there are the people reacting to what’s happening now and others working on a plan going forward.

Just one person’s opinion but regarding standardized testing, in the interim I think they will figure out a way to proctor exams remotely or most colleges will give any exam results less weight in admissions for the class of 2021.

Regarding fall classes, I see three realistic scenarios:

  1. colleges will continue their online instruction through 1st semester and open up the campus spring 2021;

  2. colleges open up their campus in the fall but the CV virus rears it’s ugly head again mid-semester and students have to leave campus;

  3. colleges open up their campus in fall and the CV virus is not too bad, some kids will get it like the flu but will self-isolate as needed. In 6 months there will be lots of meds to treat symptoms (ex. Z-pack like meds).

With that said, I don’t think the college experience in the foreseeable future will be what it was 2 months ago. Until we get a vaccine colleges may really limit major social activities like large lecture halls, fans attending sporting events, school clubs, gyms, large parties, etc even if kids are allowed to be back on campus.

I hope I’m wrong…

Yes I agree that this type of work is happening behind the scenes. There seems to be an antibody test in the works…that will be helpful. But…we can’t take the antibody test until we are permitted to leave the house. That’s why I say that these discussions will be made more public once the immediate crisis starts to diminish.

I hope that by May/June some of these questions begin to be addressed in more detail.

@socaldad2002 I like your new avatar!

I’m sure that schools are desperately going to want to open. I saw a comment on a college counselor’s website that said “a small MA college is considering not having freshmen on campus this year”. I’ve dug a little bit trying to find out more about that but can’t confirm or even find more detail. That is an interesting idea, though, since it would leave more space for kids to spread out in the dorms or leave whole dorms open in case kids get sick and need to quarantine.

Colleges could also have all the international students stay home and do mandatory online learning. That could be the reality no matter what though…who knows about visas and international travel by August.

There Is too much uncertainty to come up with a timeline, virus is spreading and evolving, country is dealing with an unprecedented crisis. They may have a better understanding of future in June-July.

What’s worrisome is our unpreparedness to face a pandemic. Government had no contingency plan and is taken by a surprise. We don’t have enough protection equipment, medicine or ICU beds. Heck, we don’t even have enough toilet paper.

Stay supportive of your kids and help them navigate these uncharted territories.

@homerdog I think more schools will be test optional, and your daughter may have to choose a school to ED to (if she goes that route) without visiting. The application for Wake Forest opens in June. This will not be an easy decision for your family.

I am listening to an epidemiologist who says this will peak in NY toward the end of April and then we will see a drop. He says social distancing is working. IMO there are parts of the country that will eventually catch up to NY…and they might not reach their peak until later on.

I think colleges will start to make decisions in July. Some students will come back…others might not.

I think we can all agree that things wil not return to normal for a very long time. Families will have some decisions to make. Campus life will not be normal.

As per Dr. Fauci, the virus makes the timeline. We do not.

@twogirls thanks. Honestly I’m not worried about D21. More concerned about the fate of S19 and other college kids. This could (will?) be very disruptive and I don’t know how schools or families are going to make decisions. After a pretty fulfilling 3/4 of freshman year, I’m sad that sophomore year will likely be a mess or he will have to choose to not go to school for part of the time. I guess only time will tell.

It’s a difficult predicament to be in and I don’t even know how people will go about trying to figure it out.

I thought the CNN interview with Bill Gates was extremely informative. I came away with the conclusion that private entities, not the government will determine the future.

If an effective vaccine becomes widely available, it is likely that getting the vaccine will be accepted in lieu of an antibody test for the general public (though specific subgroups with higher exposure risk, like health care and emergency service workers, may still get the test after vaccine to check seroconversion to immune status).

Barring a vaccine #1 is looking more realistic every day. Risk and litigation will make #2 and #3 undoable. A repeat of this spring semester in the fall would be disastrous for many schools. Plus imagine if colleges hadn’t shut down early this spring. They all would probably be hotzones right now. Now picture that in the fall.

The coronavirus pandemic will fade away when the average person who is infected with the coronavirus passes the virus on to less than one other person on average. There are three ways that this could happen:

  • If someone develops a safe and effective vaccine, and a very large number of us get vaccinated.
  • If a high percentage of the population has already gotten this virus and recovered from it, and are left with an immunity that prevents us from getting it again.
  • If we all are so very careful that we do not pass the virus from one person to another.

None of these factors seem to be about to happen. Right now the number of infected people in the US is doubling approximately twice per week. If this continues, given 142,000 current cases in the US (including a few people who have either recovered or died), if the number of cases keeps doubling twice each week then we will all have been infected in about 5 1/2 weeks. If the rate of doubling slows down to once per week then it will take twice as long for most of us to have been infected and the medical community will have more time to prepare. Depending upon details, there might also be fewer people sick all at the same time at the peak of the infection.

However, before this happens the number of new infections will have to slow down for at least two reasons: There will be too few uninfected people remaining to support such high new infection rates; The few people left uninfected will mostly be precisely those people who are being exceptionally careful.

To me there is no way that this ends without either a huge number of us being exceptionally careful, or a huge number of us getting sick. I do not expect to see a vaccine within 6 weeks.

This could end before September. I find it very difficult to guess whether it will end that quickly. It cannot keep doubling even once per week from now to September because there just aren’t enough Americans, or perhaps because too many of us are already infected.

If I read the reports from China correctly they had people get sick, recover, then catch it again. That’s not a good sign.

I read somewhere… Probably on here lol that schools are thinking about going test optional just for next year… If that happens and colleges like their chosen classes you might se this carry over and change the landscape.

Also colleges could just adjust for next year and start in October and go later if needed.

It is so difficult to imagine them being able to live at residential colleges in the fall. This is extremely sad to me (among the bazillion other things that are even more sad regarding this virus).

Up until now, I felt most sorry for the college seniors (I have a current college sophomore and a soon-to-be-college freshman). But now, I think those seniors had 3.75 normal years of residential college. If next year is online, my sophomore will only have 2.75 normal years of residential college. The sad abrupt ending for the seniors may not be too bad in the end.

We will have to wait and see. But one thing is very clear to me. Online learning is NOTHING compared to in-person, for numerous reasons. I see some comments that maybe this experience will drive a shift to University of Phoenix-style learning. I feel exactly the opposite…this crisis is showing more people that the qualitative difference is vast. To that end, although I am sure I will leave my children with their existing universities regardless of the decision for the fall (online vs residential), if it ends up being online, I would probably believe they would have a better experience at our local community college as a day student than at their much more highly regarded university online.

I am assuming that by the fall, day schools will likely to be able to open (perhaps with intermittent weeks of reverting to online if the secondary COVID curves start getting too steep). So I’m predicting our public k-12 will be open in the fall, and I would picture commuter colleges being open as well. But residential colleges with dorm living, shared bathrooms, buffet style dining halls, lots of international or opposite-coast students, etc will have a harder time opening in person. Waaaaaah ;-(