TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Colleges in the United States are reassuring students that the fall semester will be spent in the classroom, in-house sports, and most dormitories. But those promises come with stars.
Administrators say how quickly life on campus will return will depend on the success of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts and its ability to avoid widespread outbreaks.
Universities saw their budgets shrink during the coronavirus epidemic, which emptied dormitories, led to a drop in enrollment, and pressured them to reopen altogether. A flood of announcements has begun in schools outlining their plans as high school seniors and returning students decide where they will be next fall.
Some students are waiting to decide what to expect at university, while others are still worried about the economic uncertainty caused by the epidemic.
Like many colleges, the University of Ashland, Ohio, is seeing its freshmen admit slower this year. To encourage them, the university is offering a free semester next spring for first-time students who come in the fall and promise that tuition will not increase for four years.
Many students ‘burn out’ because of one year of virtual training և limited activity և asking themselves if they were willing to invest another year if the viral protocols were still in place, says Carland Campo, president of Ashland, who envisions almost all classes There should be clubs, in-house, Greek life should start normal activities.
“We owe it to the students to let them know what is expected,” he said.
Casey Nutson missed the spring semester after starting his first year of college at Ohio State University last fall. “His grades were good, but” I realized I was not learning anything, “he said. “It was not worth the money.”
He hopes to be at university next fall for a slightly more normal college experience.
“I really do not want to stay in my hometown,” he said. “I think a lot of students feel that way.”
Eventually, the epidemic will determine what universities will look like in the fall, said Terry Hartl, senior vice president of the American Board of Education in Washington, DC.
“There are no guarantees, but we hope that for a long, long time, colleges and universities will see things as they normally are,” Hartl said.
Schools have received a $ 80 billion federal coronavirus boost from colleges and universities and college students. But the epidemic has had serious consequences, including the dismissal of some 650,000 people from the university’s 3 million staff, he said.
“It will take a few years for the institutions to return to normal, it really will be four or five years before we can figure out what the real impact is,” Hartl said.
University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel predicts that most groups of students will be able to meet in person, and fans will be allowed to play as COVID-19 cases have decreased and vaccine supplies have increased.
Some large lectures are likely to remain online, and some dormitories will be open if students need quarantine, said Rick Fitzgerald, the school’s spokesman.
“Will it be exactly as it was before the epidemic?” “No,” he said. “But it will come close to what happened.”
Seung Rin, a senior at the Notre Dame Academy High School in Toledo, said some of the plans to reopen the college he had seen were vague. But whether the school starts entirely in person will not affect his choice of college, he said, adding that he would be more concerned if it did not have safe guidelines.
“I think for us we have already passed our senior course, part of the junior year with masks,” he said of the high school. “It is difficult to imagine that you wear a mask at school, everything is normal.”
Local health rules will also determine how quickly colleges are out of activity.
Sheila Gestring, president of the University of South Dakota, says the school plans to return this fall without social exclusion rules or masked mandates as long as the infection rate is low.
The university system has told state state universities to plan normal activities, although most higher education staff are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
“We anticipate that then we will be able to vaccinate the faculty,” Shaudron Gill, a provocateur at the University of North Orgia in early March, wrote to faculty. “Of course, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we must be prepared for the unexpected.”
At the University of Connecticut, where enrollment for fall classes began Monday, Provost Carl Lejeux said the school aims to offer 90% of the classes in person. But he said it would depend on widespread vaccinations, state guidelines, which now require 6 feet (2 meters) of social distance.
He said that this week a message will be issued for prospective students, which reads:
“What we decided to do was to approach the semester in a way where we would have as many people as possible to register for, but based on vaccinations, virus levels, state guidelines, and a number of other factors,” Lejeux said. “We have become really good at being flexible.”
Associated Press writers Michael Melia in Hartford, Connecticut և ff Emin Atlanta participated in this report.