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Reopening Concerns

Many universities and colleges around the US plan to open in some form in a few weeks, but Science writes that many faculty members are concerned about the risks such plans pose as coronavirus cases are on the rise in many parts of the country.

It notes that many universities are requiring employees to come to campus. For instance, it adds that Georgia Tech's re-opening guidelines say that "[e]mployees who care for or live with [high-risk] individuals … should plan to return to campus as scheduled."

As Science reports, employees at Georgia Tech and other universities have pushed back against reopening plans they say put their health at risk. Earlier this month, Tech faculty members sent a letter to the Georgia Board of Regents, as Georgia Public Broadcasting reported at the time. In it, faculty members express their dismay that reopening plans have been drawn up with little input from them and call for "decisions to be made in accordance with scientific evidence that prioritize the health and safety of the Georgia Tech community."

As part of their reopening plans, universities are commonly requiring masks, social distancing, and fewer students living in dorms, and others are mandating COVID-19 tests, Science adds, noting that faculty still question the details of the plans.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.