College Calendars in the Pandemic: No Fall Break and Home by Thanksgiving

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tags: colleges, universities, public health, COVID-19

SACRAMENTO — As colleges make plans to bring students back to campus, alongside discussions of mask requirements and half-empty classrooms, one common strategy is emerging: Forgoing fall break and getting students home before Thanksgiving.

The University of South Carolina, Notre Dame, Rice and Creighton are among the schools that have said they will find ways to shorten the fall semester, in an attempt to avoid a “second wave” of coronavirus infections expected to emerge in late fall.

Built into their calculations, university officials say, are epidemiological assumptions that reducing travel will help students avoid contracting and spreading the virus, and that any easing of the pandemic this summer will end with the return of flu season.

“We don’t know if the second wave will be weaker or stronger, but there’s a significant risk that this will resurge in the winter,” said Rice University’s president, David W. Leebron.

Rice, a private university in Houston, was among the first schools to adopt the strategy of a streamlined semester. It notified 7,000 students this month that the fall semester would not have the usual breaks, ending at Thanksgiving instead of around Christmas.

Read entire article at The New York Times

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