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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."