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Some U.S. colleges stick to in-person reopening in pandemic despite doubts, pushback


REUTERS/Catherine Koppel

Many U.S. universities are revamping campuses to resume in-person classes despite COVID-19, requiring students to be tested, wear masks, and socially distance, but some college town residents and critics say schools are putting profits before public safety.


Tulane University, a private college in New Orleans, plans to reopen on Aug. 19 to as many as 13,000 students. Before students move into dormitories, they must report to an “Arrival Center” at a city hotel “where they will be guided through two days consisting of COVID-19 testing and orientation sessions” according to Tulane’s published guidance.


Maintenance workers at Tulane and other colleges are fitting auditoriums and classrooms with signage for social distancing. Students are being asked to wear masks, and at Tulane, those who host parties or gatherings with more than 15 people could face expulsion, the college said.


Rice University in Houston, Texas has contracted for 60,000 COVID-19 tests, and has bought temporary structures and open-sided tents for classes and meeting space.


Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, will require that students enter into a “behavioral compact” aimed at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 162,000 people in the United States and infected over five million.


Tulane president Michael Fitts said enrollment has been largely unaffected by the pandemic.


“The interest in sort of the classic, undergraduate, on-ground experience has never been stronger,” he said.


11 August 2020

News Source Reuters

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