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

All kinds of people – contractors, delivery personnel, construction workers, etc., --access campuses every day even now.

Re: unions – There are some quiet grumblings that a vaccine requirement isn’t part of the current negotiated agreement so new negotiations on the contract would have to happen first.

But before Covid , people got sick. I would think with a 95% effective vaccine, even with those who dont get the vaccine , by next fall, if someone gets covid, similar to the Flu, you get some therapeutic. With less getting sick , it will make those who do easier to treat. I dont think we will be a masked society forever. At some point if this becomes less deadly and with less hospitalizations, and therapeutics, those who work at the schools who are not vaccinated should not require everyone else to still Socially distance and wear masks. We are so covid fatigued now, that by summer/fall there will be some cases , but I can see more and more life as we knew it in 2019 in regards to education.

The unions job is to demand a certain set minimum level of safe working conditions of the employer on behalf of the employees. If the college cleaners don’t want to return to work before getting vaccinated, when the vaccine is available, then they tell their union to negotiate for that. Isn’t that how it works?

No!. Those are the minimum wage workers who are disproportionally dying now of this disease. We can’t sacrifice them for the sake of some inconvenience.

Schools like Williams and Middlebury have been doing a great job with all students back on campus (rural location helpful, of course).

I’m surprised to hear so many are optimistic about next fall, believing vaccines will be readily available and that we will be back to some semblance of normal. I don’t think this will be the case but I sincerely hope I’m wrong. My understanding is that vaccine distribution will be logistically complicated and will take several months to achieve. I also wonder if colleges can require students to be vaccinated before allowing in-person attendance.

I anticipate the fall of 2021 to be somewhat similar to the fall of 2020 except there may be more colleges offering in-person. I think sports will be challenging at LACs because so many LACs have opted to be remote-only, or have opted to have students on campus in shifts, with each class having one semester or less of on-campus living. Anyway, interesting times ahead.

Colleges require vaccinations for a number of other illnesses so I don’t see why they couldn’t require a covid vaccine too.

We analyzed the COVID responses of the LACs D21 was considering. Given that I believe it will take months for vaccine distribution, the COVID responses held significant weight in deciding where my D would apply. I personally don’t think things will be back to quasi-normal in the fall and one of our priorities is for our D to have an on-campus experience (safely, of course). It has definitely been challenging to make choices without visiting. Our plan, if D21 is not admitted to her ED school, is to visit the campuses (or surrounding areas if campuses closed to public), of the schools to which she has been accepted, and then make a choice based on that. We’ve tried to research as much as possible, reading reviews, reading student newspapers, attending virtual sessions, and trying to get a feel for the culture of each school – I’ve found many people on CC to be incredibly helpful. From what I’ve seen, it seems to be the resource-heavy schools that have stronger COVID responses, and these schools have more competitive admissions. I’m not thrilled with the responses of some of D21’s safeties but there is little to be done about it. It’s all so complicated this year.

Bowdoin’s president said on a town hall virtual session that, if there are available vaccines, fall will be “normal” and he expects that will be the case. I don’t know why you think fall 2021 will be like fall 2020. Colleges can absolutely require students and faculty to take the vaccine. Bowdoin’s school year has not been normal in any way. Only freshmen on campus for fall with only freshmen seminars in person. Spring will have the other classes back but very few classes in person. No sports of course. President Rose was very conservative in his plan so, if he thinks next fall could be normal, I’m believing it. He’s not the kind of leader to give false hope and, if he didn’t believe it, he wouldn’t say it - he would double down on how great Bowdoin’s remote learning is (with all kids receiving iPad Pros, etc.)

I wouldn’t say Williams and Midd doing a ‘great job’ if you’re comparing the pre-Covid experience to this year. Many students don’t want to return to these LACs until they can have the in-person experience they expect from schools like these.

We’ve been trying to predict “What Bowdoin will do in the Fall” for two consecutive admissions cycles now. I see nothing in the horizon that says they will reach “normality” before any of the other NESCACs, especially the ones that enrolled nearly 90% their students during the pandemic (Middlebury, Williams, Wesleyan, etc…)

I didn’t say Bowdoin will be different. I think it’s Bowdoin’s expectation that all NESCACs will be back in business more normally next fall.

Masks-because their are variations of the virus. Yes, certain smaller schools might be lucky. But even creating a bubble on campus you will see spread to some degree. This is like CV 1a… What happens when CV1b comes around. This is just the start of this. Just because they all will have their vaccines doesn’t mean we’re done and life is normal… Approaching normal… Maybe… Everything I have read and just listened to a Michigan Public Health official… Everyone is predicting 2022 should be the year things are normal.

So what happens between, say, fall 2021 when all kids and faculty are vaccinated on a campus and 2022 when you think things will be more normal? What makes life take the jump from “some” masks to “normal” again if it is not the vaccines?

@homerdog. It’s not me… No one knows how long that the immunity will be. You also need 80 % of people for herd immunity… That’s not happening… Possible other subsets of this virus. I hope I am wrong but when the professionals are saying 2022. I think their close to correct. We don’t know about reinfections etc etc etc… It’s a great start no question. I know families are planning for the fall. Planning with the expectations of no masks to me is foolish. Every family I talk to is planning on masks to some degree.

I don’t think that the virus will disappear in our lifetime

We though that we eradicated measles but then New York City had an outbreak only 2-1 years ago due to low vaccination uptake and there are always minor cases of say a medical worker bringing home TB after an assignment abroad.

It’s something that we will always need to keep an eye on even after normalcy is reached. “ Spanish flu” from a hundred years ago is actually still with us but it has evolved to be much less harmful type of influenza , though it still kills some.

I think that travel to developing countries will be hampered for several more years since they will take longer to fight it. The college backpacking tradition might not go back to normal for the current cohort,

I read sdl0625’s post very differently than msdynamite did. I think sdl is talking about “those who are not vaccinated” because they choose not to vaccinate. Pretty much all experts are saying the vaccine will be widely available in the US to everybody who wants it before school begins next fall (sounds more likely by late spring/early summer at latest). So workers who are not vaccinated will be by choice. Msdynamite seems to be talking about providing access to vaccines, which doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a problem by school in fall 2021. I don’t think sdl is talking about sacrificing anybody for the sake of convenience. We will learn more in coming months if there end up being many people who are not eligible to get the vaccine (ie possibly chemotherapy patients, etc), but I haven’t heard evidence yet of any really sizable groups who will be ineligible, but am curious who they might be if anyone else has read about that.

I wish we could do a poll and see how many of us think things will be basically back to normal on colleges next fall (in-person classes; office hours and lab work in person; dining hall dining without unusual capacity constraints; normal numbers of students in dorm rooms; social events allowed; extracurriculars in person; sports with spectators; etc) and who thinks not. And then revisit it next August/September if this thread is still going. I firmly believe things will be basically normal because I believe everyone will have been offered a 95%+ vaccine by then and therapeutics will help the few cases (perhaps small hangovers such as no open salad bars, masks in very limited circumstances or upon request, maybe slight capacity restrictions to avoid true over-crowding situations, and maybe the opportunity to watch more recorded lectures if you don’t feel well, etc). Can’t wait to see it unfold! In the meantime, I love hearing the range of predictions.

I don’t envision there being much of a difference between city and country schools next fall. Many city schools did great this fall. Harvard had only 25 undergraduate cases since June 1st and I heard that 6-8 of last week’s cases were considered false positives—there was apparently some sort of contamination with their batch at the lab, which is why Broad shut down the lab for a bit and has a backlog now; it will be interesting to see if it gets reported or not, but anyway, that means really about 18 or so true positive cases since June 1st, 15 of which were after students arrived for fall semester. They had just under 2000 undergrads on campus, plus they include 500 off-campus upperclass students in their testing & numbers, so ~2500 undergrad students. Wesleyan, which I think is in a quieter location with ~3000 undergrads (but likely fewer on campus this year) had 33 positives this fall. I’d consider those very similar results. Williams has had 7 this fall, with fewer students. Bowdoin had 5 student cases this fall also with far fewer students. These all seem directionally similar to me. I believe frequent testing was the key to controlling the virus, not really location type. Tufts, Northeastern, BU all with very large student populations and 100% on campus in the city all did quite well (they all had regular mandatory testing). I think students going to basically any US campus in fall 2021 can expect pretty great in-person experiences. ???

For those without medical insurance, the cost of the vaccine could be a barrier if it is not offered at no or very low cost to those without medical insurance (and in an accessible location and time/date).

A college or K-12 school may include medical insurance for its employees and arrange for a mass vaccination event (like many employers do for flu vaccines), but not all people who work at a college or K-12 school are employees of such (they may be employees of subcontractors).

Age < 18 seems to be starting phase 3 trials now, so availability for age < 18 (which could include some precocious college students as well as some “normal” frosh who are on the younger side of their year) may be delayed compared to availability for the general adult population.

USA has a population of 331 million. If all those people get vaccinated in 9 months when we still now can’t even test everyone who should be I will eat my hat.

Will low income area k-12 to community colleges also be back to normal next September or will the poor heath care infrastructure impede that. Will our undocumented students even be allowed access to a vaccine ?

I just picked up D from school yesterday and it was like a military operation to get her home, but it was also good to see the protocols in place. I had to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arriving in Maine, then I had to stay in the car on campus while she loaded her stuff into my truck on campus. We then brought her stuff to the storage facility we rented, and once she had left campus she was not allowed to return. She had taken a COVID test on campus on Friday, which came back negative, and this allowed her to return to CT without having to quarantine.

She was sad to leave, but relieved to be at home…and we are looking forward to all staying put for a while and hunkering down for the winter

Well, I am hopeful for a more normal Fall 2021. I am optimistic that the country will be in a much better place by the summer. That said, I think things will get crazy bad Covid-19 wise in the next two months…

In terms of the vaccinations, one thing I’d heard (perhaps on Michael Osterholm’s excellent podcast is that there may be the capacity to vaccinate about 10% of the population per month, possibly starting as soon as January.

Now, in all likelihood, college age students won’t be first in line here (unless they have underlying conditions). But these kinds of estimates are encouraging. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Princeton University, which didn’t invite ANY students back for fall semester (initially invited back first-years and juniors then shifted to all remote) is inviting all students back for the Spring 2021 semester.

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