School in the 2020-2021 Academic Year & Coronavirus (Part 2)

They didn’t say they would be online for the full semester. They are starting that way. In the fall they also started online and then transitioned into in-person for some classes.

Brown brought Freshman to campus this semester. (Sophmores, Juniors and Seniors were all there for the Fall and all of them can stay for Spring). Well, move in was a few days ago and there is supposed to be a 2 week quiet period. Evidently, unlike last semester, A LOT of kids are violating the quiet period rules.


I Bet. This age group is just getting so tired of all the rules. Even Brown I guess.

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I think a lot of the upper classmen are doing OK with following the rules, and it’s the Freshmen who are violating the rules. I think this played out in a lot of colleges in the Fall, but that Brown is just seeing it now because this is the first time Freshmen are on campus.

Oh that’s interesting if that’s the case (that freshmen are more apt to violate the rules). I guess it might depend on what the rules are. Upperclassmen already have friends, so if the rules say they’re allowed to hang out with, say, 5 people, they can have a pretty decent time hanging out with their 5 best friends. But freshmen don’t know people yet, and need to sort through all those kids to find their “people”. Hanging out with 5 random people might mean only 0 or 1 people who you click with (if you’re a picky person :blush:). So I guess it makes some sense that the freshmen would be more likely to socialize more. On the other hand, I would have thought that the freshmen are more “innocent” rule-followers, trying to do everything they are asked and more afraid of consequences. Well, too bad for all of them–they better start following the rules! It will be more important in January/February than at any other time in the pandemic, I believe.

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UChicago began this week. They had delayed the start of the quarter by one week and asked everyone to shelter at home for 7 days before returning over the weekend; there is now another 7 day stay-at-home with remote classes. Those living on campus can walk outside for exercise, grab food from the dining halls, pick up groceries, medicines and other essentials. No quarantine, thankfully. Those living off campus are supposed to follow the city’s travel orders, which may include a 10-day quarantine depending on where you are coming from. For the one week beginning Friday 1/8 (first day of allowed move-in) and ending today (1/14) there are, so far, 11 cases identified via mandatory and volunteer surveillance testing. This compares to 15 during that first week last quarter. The number may update by tomorrow; I don’t think 11 is the official number for the week. But so far it doesn’t appear out-of-hand. The university has isolation housing for those living on campus. Those living off campus are told to self-isolate and I believe they are checked on but don’t really know the details there. Could be just a self-monitoring thing where they call you. The university has been doing thorough contract-tracing and it’s helped change behavior, among other benefits. As last quarter progressed, R-0 fell to under 1.0. However, with the increased community spread throughout the city, that number was creeping up just before T-G. Post-Christmas through end of last week it’s been pretty low but should be higher - probably higher than 1.0 - this week. If the university continues with its excellent response and students with their responsible compliance, it’ll fall again and the university can continue to open up common areas as planned.

They briefed everyone last night at a webinar and so far no plans to change the calendar. They want everyone to stay put during Spring Break but they won’t cancel it because students really need that time off following Winter Q. Instead they are stepping up their programming to keep everyone entertained.

The epidemiologists shared a bit about the new strains of the virus and vaccine outlook for students. UC Medicine has apparently been doing about a fifth of all vaccinations going on in the city right now. Colleges and universities have been prioritized to 1-C but that doesn’t include students. They don’t have a date for the students yet; others on the South Side are taking priority. The two new strains are apparently more infectious and get you sick more quickly. They warned that this quarter was a crucial time to follow the rules even more diligently than before due to the higher rate of infection, but commended everyone for their success in the fall. It really was an extraordinary contrast to other universities, but that’s probably due to understanding the specific epidemiology as well as designing good systems to contain the spread and having a realistic understanding of the virus. Most importantly, the university there is a culture of non-ending change and experimentation, so figuring out how to work around a virus just wasn’t as big a deal as it apparently was at other places. They seemed to have been able to adapt pretty easily to a world of Covid and get on with their work.

While the focus has to be on following the Health Pact, of course, they are a lot more concerned with re-introducing and/or re-imagining ways to improve social interaction. Of all the things that didn’t work last fall, the ability to socialize properly among faculty and among students was #1 on the list. UChicago can be a place where one feels socially isolated anyway so it’s hard to understand what’s Covid-related and what’s “typical.” But the pandemic has cause the administration to turn a much more keen eye on the general problem, and I suspect that this year’s experimentation will result in some new “best practices” going forward, even for when things return to normal.

Housing opened under de-densified capacity but with 100 additional students who opted to move in this quarter. Currently there are 2,000 living in dorms so just at about 50% of normal capacity. They can take up to 60%. Not sure how many have moved back to live off-campus. First years are required to live in the res halls but they waived the residency requirement for second years and most of that group are not in the dorm, is my understanding.


S18 received his first vaccine dose yesterday. He’s feeling fine and said his arm doesn’t hurt any more than it did with other shots. It’s a huge relief for us after the last 10 months.


Just an update. Kid tested negative a week after last possible exposure. So that’s a win! In the interim he stayed mostly in his room and came out only with a mask and kept distance. I suppose the even better news at this point is the teacher will now be immune. Seems to me masks do work.

And now spouse and I head back to work on site after 10 months working from home. Seems crazy for an organization or company to go back in person NOW but that’s where we are. Kid’s experience makes me hopeful but I do question employer’s thinking here.

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UNC at Charlotte has move in this weekend for those that asked to move in on the original schedule. Classes will start as scheduled on 1/20 but be online until 2/22. More students will move in mid-Feb. All students still have their own bedrooms. Those living near but off campus are encouraged to stay at their permanent residence until mid-February. Wastewater testing will continue and increased random testing will be added. We have been very pleased with how UNCC handled things thus far and are looking forward to another well managed semester. Communication has been excellent, even though not all have liked what has been communicated.


D is back on campus and settling in before classes resume on Jan. 20. There is a mandatory “quiet period” until Feb. 1 during which students may leave their campus residence for limited, essential reasons and are allowed to socialize only with other on-campus students.

Move-in was easier than expected and easily accomplished within the allotted 2-hour window. Gateway/arrival Covid test was negative; turnaround time for results is still ~12 hours. There is a testing site right next to D’s dorm so that is nice. According to D, the college has hired thousands of workers to staff the eight testing sites throughout campus. Hopefully, campus can remain open for the duration of spring semester.

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Purdue moves students back this weekend too.

My D started back with her coop last week in another state. Same covid precautions as the summer. Temp checks, masks, distancing, hand washing. :crossed_fingers:


My son’s college does have some students living on campus (maybe 1/3 of usual?) but there are very few classes on campus. He lives off campus and will end this year with a fully online schedule. Such a bummer.

Are most of your college kids taking classes remotely or are they actually in classrooms?

Officially, Penn is reopening under a hybrid instructional model. In-person research in campus labs and hospitals has resumed. Currently, D’s classes are scheduled to meet remotely but professors will have in-person office hours and a few have said they may hold class in larger lecture halls or outside (weather permitting).

When D visited campus last fall, she was able to attend an outdoor study session with her TA. Professors will also need to be flexible and creative (i.e. think outside of the classroom) to meet the needs of students. As an undergrad at CU-Boulder, my classes regularly met outdoors when the weather was nice. There are ways to meaningfully engage with students during the pandemic that extend beyond delivering content remotely.


My daughter’s college has a mix of in person and remote classes. Her academic classes all happen to be remote this semester, but she was accepted into a credit-bearing dance ensemble and it meets live. Last semester, had she been on campus, her classes would’ve been 50/50- it’s kinda luck of the draw.

My daughter was online in the spring, summer, fall, winter and again this spring.

I’m going to offer a contrarian and likely highly unpopular view on in-person classes in the midst of a raging pandemic. Setting up in-person classes in this environment takes a lot of resources, significantly more than remote classes. Every extra hour professors and students have to spend for these in-person classes is one less hour they have for other things (e.g. one-on-one office hours). I’m just not sure in-person classes should be a priority right now.


my son is about 50/50 in person and online. The in person is just once a week, and then the other half of the class meets the other time. At his school there was no spread in the classroom in the fall; most spread was off campus students and near the end on campus. To return, a negative test is needed and those not in the surrounding states needs to Q and test on day 4 again (my son, who is flying back tomorrow and staying in a school sponsored hotel) I also believe in NY college professors are considered essential workers and can get the vaccine (if they can find it). Classes start the 25th and so far still on target.

My daughter heads back on 1/20 and classes will begin on 1/25. Testing upon arrival and students will need 2 negative tests to have access to campus facilities. All students including those living off campus will need to test 2x a week in order to use campus buildings etc. Her classes are all remote. It pains me to pay OOS tuition for her to take classes from her dorm room, but she actually likes it. She has roughly 20 hours of practice per week for her sport, so this gives her so much more flexibility in her scheduling. Her biggest frustration from the fall was finding enough to do socially that was safe. Her school was pretty tough on covid violations and it was stressful for these kids.

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Last semester it was a mix- one all in-person, two all online, one where she went every other session, one where they broke up the class into smaller but shorter sessions.

This semester there were some online classes this week, but next week she will start all in-person. I think she is in pretty small classes.

Hope College has everyone back on campus this semester, as was true in the Fall (except high risk students who choose to be remote). Most students are in doubles. My kid did a saliva test through Vault Health on Wednesday and just got the negative result today. Kid is flying to MI on Saturday 1/23 and classes start 1/25. One class is fully online synchronus, one is fully in person, and the others are a hybrid where the class is divided into two groups that alternate being in the classroom. Hope is relying mostly on wastewater testing and will not be doing the random surveillance testing that they did in the Fall.

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