Student Raising Hand

In this week's roundup:

students are returning to the classroom at most colleges and universities, higher-grade masks are required on some campuses and fewer high school graduates enrolled in college last fall. 

January 6-12

  • Most colleges and universities are resuming in-person classes this semester, using trusted strategies for mitigation such as masks, testing and vaccine requirements. Data from the College Crisis Initiative suggest that almost 90% of colleges and universities are resuming in-person classes and 98% are starting on time. 
  • Four campuses within the University of California system are switching to remote instruction amid the omicron surge. UCLA, Berkeley, Riverside and Merced are planning to have remote instruction in January after several other campuses pushed back against in-person instruction. 
  • The number of high school students enrolling directly into college continues to decrease. Freshman enrollment for the Class of 2021 declined 2.7% from Fall 2020 and 13.1% from Fall 2019. 
  • The University of Southern California and the University of Arizona will require surgical or other higher-grade masks on their campuses, making (solo) cloth masks no longer acceptable. Higher-grade masks such as KN95s and KN94s will be required in indoor spaces and will be available for free at each building’s entrance. 
  • Survivors of sexual assault may have a new statute of limitations to sue the University of Michigan, if new legislation passes. The university will be unable to claim governmental immunity from any lawsuits coming from victims of Dr. Robert Anderson, a retired university employee. 
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to spend almost $40 billion in his 2022-23 budget proposal. Newsom’s equity goals for postsecondary education include having 70% of working-age California residents earn a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030. 
  • The decline in community college enrollment can be attributed to interference in hands-on programs. Programs such as construction trade and mechanical technology were disrupted due to the pandemic and as a result contributed to 20% of enrollment declines.
  • Staff and administrators at D’Youville College will be starting a new work schedule of 32 hours per week with the same compensation as a 40-hour work week. The private college in Buffalo, NY, will try the new schedule for six months before making an assessment. The goal is to provide rest and recuperation, according to Paul Hutchison, senior lecturer at Boston University. 
  • Student workers at Columbia University reached a contract agreement, ending a 10-week strike. The tentative agreement includes full arbitration or mediation for any claims of discrimination or harrasment. 
  • The University of Louisville threatened discipline for department chairs who switch to remote learning. Despite a petition from a group of 500 professors, staff members and students against a return to in-person classes, Executive Director of Communications John Karman spoke for the university when noting that in-person classes are safe and more effective than remote learning. 


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