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We know things are bad. No news there.

But it's Friday, which, at least in the before times, was a good thing. Let's get right to some palate cleansers to lift our spirits for the weekend.

First, I am excited to present our inaugural pets for Pet Friday.

Meet 4-year-old Sky, a French bulldog, and Jeezy, an 11-year-old mixed breed. Both are helping Blair White, a retired college counselor living in Florida, and her family relieve stress in this turbulent time.

Sky was adopted during the pandemic after she had her last litter for a breeder, and she has no concept of personal space, according to White. Jeezy was adopted earlier from the streets of Baltimore and now enjoys naps and walking on the beach.

In other happy news, some faculty members at Franklin & Marshall College who are part of the group "The Feminist Ukuleles" filmed a Zoom jam session for all to enjoy.

To the news!

S&P Global Ratings cut ratings for 117 colleges -- more than a quarter of the colleges and universities it rates -- because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on higher education.

In other signs that times are getting pretty dire: the National Governors Association and New America have released a primer for states on how to handle college closures.

Decisions from colleges about the fall semester continue to pour in. But one at least one institution is skipping ahead. Texas State Technical College is opening up campus to some students and faculty on Monday for programs that require hands-on work.

The Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University systems also plan to reopen -- but in the fall. Just in time for football.

The University of Alaska system is furloughing its top leaders, including its president, for up to 10 days.

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

Several colleges have announced plans to reopen in the fall. In these uncertain times, does that even mean anything? Lilah Burke looks for some answers.

Other colleges are planning for several fall scenarios and publishing lists of possibilities for their students. Rick Seltzer explores when leaders will have to stop planning and start making decisions.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling is asking institutions to reassess their admissions criteria, after the College Board and ACT announced plans to resume testing in the fall, Scott Jaschik reports.

Emma Whitford has the latest on Strada Education Network's ongoing survey of students' college plans. The results so far aren't pretty.

The Education Department is being criticized for not extending emergency aid funding to students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Kery Murakami reports.

News From Elsewhere

The Verge wrote about how test-proctoring robots are creeping college students out.

Universities may have to slow down research plans due to the pandemic, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Education Dive has the story on what Strategic Education Inc. wants to do for other institutions.

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 co-founder of Concourse Education writes in EdSurge about how institutions can help level the playing field for the many students whose lives and plans were turned upside down due to COVID-19.

This pandemic is ripping the mask off many of the inequities in our society, including those suffered by contingent faculty, writes the executive committee of Tenure for the Common Good.

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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