Coronavirus News Roundup for May 29

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).

May 29, 2020
 
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I'm very happy to bring you yet another Pet Friday.

To start things off, we have a little diversity. Deborah Dougherty, a professor of world languages and culture at Alma College in Michigan, sent a photo of these perfect Nigerian dwarf goats. Lilly, Daisy and Rosie host regular happy hours for friends and colleagues during the pandemic. (Once this is over, I am racing to the nearest goat yoga event I can find.)

And to top it all off, one of my favorite animals ever: the Maine Coon. Jd Davis, the associate director of Continuing Education at Heartland Community College, in Illinois, said her Maine Coon mix, Leo, is the supervisor of his home office. "He watches me send emails, 'helps' me sort paperwork, makes sure his tail is visible in every Zoom call … you get the picture."

What a great start.

On to the news.

Nearly 80 educations groups, including some that represent colleges and universities, are calling on Congress to provide temporary protections from lawsuits related to COVID-19 if they choose to reopen campuses. Republican Senate leaders are working on a proposal to provide such protection.

The National Governors Association has released recommended steps that governors should put in place for colleges to follow in order to reopen campuses, highlighting the work done by the advisory group formed by Democratic Connecticut governor Ned Lamont.

A new poll from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shows that students are worried after having to make a quick switch to remote learning due to the coronavirus. More than 80 percent worry about their academics, 76 percent are dealing with mental health issues and nearly half are worried about employment due to the recession triggered by the virus.

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

The University of Kentucky announced it won't lay off any staff in its 2021 budget. Emma Whitford reports on how it will do that.

Greta Anderson has the story on the latest Gallup survey, which found that a majority of college alumni wouldn't have trusted their institutions to fully investigate discrimination complaints while they were students. Black alumni were especially skeptical of their alma maters.

The president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, is one of the prominent higher ed leaders slated to testify next week to the U.S. Senate on reopening campuses, Kery Murakami reports.

News From Elsewhere

Times Higher Education reports that some are concerned about the treatment of some Chinese academics who have strayed from the official narrative on COVID-19.

Credit ratings for student housing projects are not looking good right now, GlobeSt.com reports.

Meharry Medical College, a historically black college, is partnering with the National Institutes of Health to test its antiviral drug to eradicate COVID-19, NBC News reports.

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.

Senator Lamar Alexander, the chair of the U.S. Senate education committee, argues that the question should be how to reopen campuses safely in the fall, not whether to do so.

PennLive wrote about the different approaches that two Pennsylvania institutions are taking in the fall.

A Vassar College graduate wrote about how her Zoom graduation ceremony felt for The New York Times.


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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