|Weekly News Digest
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COVID-19 NEWS: Inside Higher Ed's 'What It's Gonna Take'
Elizabeth Redden writes the following for Inside Higher Ed:
As college administrators across the country continue announcing plans to reopen their institutions this fall, two important questions have been largely lost in the debates over those decisions. What will it take for colleges to reopen responsibly as long as there is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19—and how realistic is it that colleges can put measures in place by fall?
Testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantining of ill individuals are among the steps public health experts say will have to be taken. But myriad other measures will also have to [be] adopted. A 20-page document from the American College Health Association outlines considerations for colleges to take into account, from local public health challenges to containment and surveillance capabilities of campuses to the need to space out students in residence and dining halls. The ideal, the guidance states, would be to have one resident per room and per bathroom, which is not how most college dormitories are currently set up. …
The guidance outlines various measures for [colleges] to take into account in relation to their employees, their facilities, their athletics programs and recreation facilities, their student health centers. Mental health services, already stretched at many campuses, will need to be stretched further. Health promotion activities will be paramount. …
Many of the steps colleges may need to consider in reopening—from testing students in large numbers and reducing the numbers of students in residence halls to accommodate social distancing to monitoring quarantined students, disinfecting common spaces and classrooms more frequently, and installing signage promoting social distancing and Plexiglas at reception desks and other high-contact areas—come with price tags, some of them hefty. …
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