Coronavirus News Roundup for April 17

Everything you need to know for Friday and the weekend about higher ed and the coronavirus in one easy-to-read package (with some distractions to help your sanity).

April 17, 2020
 
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I must confess, I thought it was Thursday on Wednesday this week. So I'm extremely happy that it is, finally, Friday.

To celebrate, here's our brand-new podcast, created by Paul Fain. The first episode features David Baime of the American Association of Community Colleges and Amelia Parnell of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Time for some palate cleansers.

Do you know someone who's sad about missing graduation? Here's a fix. Natty Light (yes, that's correct) is hosting a virtual worldwide commencement on May 14 for the Class of 2020. Grab a cold one and listen to some celebs give the commencement speeches you thought you'd have to miss.

Most people have seen the cute videos of the penguins exploring their zoo. These kinds of field trips are happening at zoos across the country, making for some very cute encounters.

Let’s get to the news.

Institutions are starting to receive the CARES Act funding. Many are setting up special funds for emergency aid. The University of Illinois system has created a $36 million financial aid fund for students impacted by the pandemic.

The University of Chicago has agreed to freeze tuition for the next academic year after a student group demanded tuition cuts and fee waivers.

Unemployment continues to reach new heights. The latest number is 22 million, bringing the estimated unemployment rate up to the worst level since the Great Depression.

Here’s a quick roundup of our latest stories, in case you’ve fallen a bit behind (we don’t blame you):

SAT and ACT tests will be back soon, Scott Jaschik writes. However, many institutions have waived the testing requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I wrote about a statement from the major higher education associations urging institutions to be flexible and transparent about transferring credits during this time.

In noncoronavirus news, Colleen Flaherty has a story on how underrepresented scholars tend to put out more novel research than their peers, but without the same rewards.

News From Elsewhere

The New York Times takes a look at Liberty University, where COVID-19 is spreading, and Jerry Falwell Jr., the university's president, is trying to have journalists arrested.

Institutions that serve students who returned home to mainland China due to the pandemic are scrambling to find digital platforms they can use for teaching that aren't blocked by the Chinese government, Times Higher Education reports.

The National Education Association has a list of resources for undocumented immigrants trying to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Percolating Thoughts

This is a time when everyone has an opinion. As journalists, we try not to have opinions, but we've gathered some interesting ones from others.

The president of Dickinson College writes about how colleges are built to help communities weather crises like this one.

A professor and a lawyer propose a plan to reopen campuses safely in the fall. (And people on Twitter are not happy about it.)

A higher ed expert urges leaders to put people first, even as the world (and the economy) seem to fall down around us.


Have any percolating thoughts or notice any from others? Feel free to send them our way or comment below.

We’ll continue bringing you the news you need in this crazy time. Keep sending us your questions and story ideas. We’ll get through this together.

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