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Princeton's Semi-Confidence

Princeton is confident that it can be a research and a graduate university in the time of coronavirus—be face-to-face enough so as not to require a fundamental transformation. But as for undergraduates?:

Christopher Eisgruber: To the Princeton Community: The State of the University, and Planning for the Academic Year Ahead https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/05/04/president-eisgruber-writes-princeton-community-about-state-university-and-planning: ‘We will be dealing with COVID‑19 for months or longer.  This University, like all of America and the world, must proceed accordingly.... Our ability to restart our in-person teaching and research will depend upon whether we can do so in a way that respects public health and safety protocols.... [About] laboratories, libraries, and other facilities... we are optimistic.... We are also optimistic about resuming on‑campus graduate advising and instruction this summer and in the fall.... Undergraduate education presents more vexing questions...

...The interpersonal engagement that animates undergraduate life makes social distancing difficult. That is partly because undergraduates live in close proximity to one another, but even more fundamentally because they mix constantly and by design in their academic, extracurricular, and social lives. Many people have pointed out that COVID-19 infections are rarely fatal or even severe in people as young as our undergraduates.... Young people can, however, spread the virus to others.... To bring back our undergraduates, we need to be confident of our ability to mitigate the health risks not only to them, but also to the faculty and staff who instruct and support them, and to the surrounding community. We do not yet know enough about the path of this pandemic, and the medical response to it, to determine whether that is possible.... We are accordingly asking faculty members to begin planning now under the assumption that their classes will be online in the fall. In the event that we are able to resume residential instruction, we will be able to pivot quickly back to the instructional techniques more familiar to all of us—though we should anticipate that even if we can return to on-campus instruction in the fall, University life will be subject to significant restrictions for as long as the pandemic continues…

#coronavirus #education #noted #publichealth #university #2020-05-27