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Re-Opening Discussions

As many universities consider re-opening their campuses for the fall semester, Inside Higher Ed writes that many faculty members want to be included in discussions so that their COVID-19 concerns are addressed.

As IHE notes, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels has been advocating for a return to campus, even as surveys of faculty, staff, and graduate students there reveal that more than half feel it is unsafe to return to campus and that more than 90 percent say they are not confident students will follow social distancing protocols outside the classroom. Meanwhile, it says that at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — a state where COVID-19 cases are on the upswing — hundreds of faculty members have signed onto a petition asking the administration for assurances that no faculty member will be required to teach in person.

If campuses do re-open, Pennsylvania State University's Michael Bérubé wonders about how a socially distant class can even be taught, IHE adds. "This issue is picking up momentum nationwide as people realize a) how bad the pandemic is going to be in the fall and b) how awful the in-class experience is going to be for a lot of students," he tells it, adding that the "broader problem is that faculty didn't have a chance to raise questions about the actual logistics of in-person instruction in the first place."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.