Coronavirus News Roundup for May 19

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

May 19, 2020
 
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States are starting to allow businesses to do curbside pickups. More countries are falling into a recession. People are preparing for a resurgence of COVID-19 next winter.

But a beacon of hope in the midst of the craziness: we have a three-day weekend coming up. (This means there won't be a roundup on Monday. You shouldn't be reading on Memorial Day, anyway.)

That will serve as our palate cleanser today. Before we get to the news, there is more somber information I wanted to share.

Texas A&M University at San Antonio is posthumously awarding a bachelor's degree to Robert Wagstaff, a student who died of complications from COVID-19 in April. The 30-year-old was just one class away from graduating. He had been taking courses one or two at a time for a decade while also working full-time.

“Robert was someone who just kept working and working, taking a class or two even as he held a full-time job. He truly embodied the work ethic and the dedication to learning that many of our students represent,” Cynthia Teniente-Matson, university president, said in a news release. “There has been so much loss and grief caused by this terrible pandemic. Robert’s passing so close to completing his degree was a true tragedy. We’re honored to include him in our graduating class, and we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family. He earned this, and we’re proud to claim him as a Texas A&M-San Antonio graduate.”

Here's to Robert.

Now for the news.

A report from the advocacy group Veterans Education Success found that veteran college students could be disproportionately denied emergency aid grants under the CARES Act because of how the Education Department is interpreting the intent behind the bill.

Higher education funding from states could be hit worse than it was in the Great Recession, according to an analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts. Federal aid is one of the few variables that could change higher education's fate.

Another report from Civis Analytics found that the pandemic is disproportionately affecting the college plans of minority students.

Officials at Providence College apologized to the public after videos surfaced of college students celebrating in groups, flouting Rhode Island's stay-at-home order.

The University of South Carolina is planning to end face-to-face courses after Thanksgiving, anticipating a resurgence in the virus during the winter months.

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

Everyone wants to know when colleges will reopen their campuses. Elizabeth Redden reports on what it will take to get there.

The University of California system recently announced its proposal to gradually eliminate its use of the SAT and ACT in admissions. Scott Jaschik wrote about what this could mean for the future of admissions and the tests themselves.

Several colleges have already announced plans to push forward with their moneymaking football seasons. Greta Anderson reports on what could go wrong (or right) in the season shadowed by a pandemic.

Emma Whitford has the sitch on Boston College's merger with Pine Manor College.

News From Elsewhere

For low-income or first-generation students, taking a semester off from college could derail their path to graduation, USA Today reports.

The Lawrence-Journal World has an interesting story on how the pandemic, coupled with the decline of the aviation industry, is hurting tech colleges in Kansas.

The Latitude(s) newsletter looks at how some colleges made sure international students had a place to stay when the pandemic broke out.

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 Dillard University wrote about how to reopen a historically black college or university when a public health pandemic has disproportionately affected those you serve, for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Two experts in higher ed and health research make the case for using federal stimulus funds to teach students interested in service learning how to be contact tracers.

The parent of a George Washington University student wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about why he's suing the university over refunds.


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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