Cornell pushes ahead with reopening plan

Universities are confronting the difficult decision on whether to reopen in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, while trying to grapple with the financial pain brought about by state lockdowns.

Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., is slated to reopen its doors to around 15,000 undergraduate students on Sept. 2. To prepare, the school has spent between $3 million and $5 million on testing, tracing and isolation.

“The biggest thing that we’re going to do is to do surveillance testing,” Cornell Provost Michael Kotlikoff told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move. “We think that’s the key thing that colleges need to do to be able to assure safety in public health.” 

Identifying individuals — even those without symptoms of COVID-19 — and isolating them allows the school to control the spread of the virus, Kotlikoff said.

But testing 24,000 people (total Cornell population) individually is not an easy task — it’s expensive and time consuming. But that’s why the surveillance testing method is useful, the provost explained.

“We are relying on pool testing… [so] we’re testing asymptomatic individuals, doing it on a screening basis,” Kotlikoff said. “We will be doing surveillance testing by pool and samples and then identifying the positive pools and sending those for confirmation in a certified individual diagnostics manner.”

That’s “really is the only way to effectively surveil a population that’s this large,” he said. 

Barnes Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. (PHOTO: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Aside from testing students regularly on

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‘How the hell are we going to do this?’ The panic over reopening schools

Pediatricians say schools should strive to bring kids back to classrooms. Teachers unions are on the verge of revolt, in fear of infections. Local school districts are struggling with everything from technology to staging schools for socially distanced learning.

And Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is largely on the sidelines, saying the coronavirus back-to-school planning is a state and local issue.

No wonder parents across America are freaking out.

The CDC issued additional guidance this week on safely reopening schools, with infections spiking in the South and West. Some education leaders fear the guidelines are being disregarded, casting doubt anew on how the new school year will even be able to launch. Yet the beginning of the school year is nearing and worried parents are wondering if they will be able to count on in-person classes resuming by the time they must return to work, inextricably tying school reopenings to the revival of the economy.

In Virginia, Fairfax County’s teachers unions say teachers aren’t comfortable returning to schools and are encouraging members to state their preference for online learning until more information about face-to-face instruction is available. In Texas, the governor is now requiring face masks in public spaces in counties with 20 or more Covid-19 cases — but his order didn’t mention schools. Arizona has delayed schools’ reopening date until mid-August as cases surge.

From social distancing to health checks, the list of concerns is seemingly endless as school districts draft their plans, many of which are still in the

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USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes

USC students are being asked to stay home and continue their education online in the fall amid the coronavirus crisis. <span class="copyright">(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)</span>
USC students are being asked to stay home and continue their education online in the fall amid the coronavirus crisis. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Amid the alarming surge in coronavirus spread, USC announced it will no longer bring all undergraduates back to campus for the fall semester and will move to mainly online classes, reversing an earlier decision to welcome students back for a hybrid model.

The decision, announced by Provost Charles Zukoski late Wednesday night, came the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced tougher restrictions on indoor activities. Zukoski recommended that students not return to campus for the semester and instead continue their education online.

“The once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives — the way we interact, work, and socialize — and with each new permutation of the pandemic, we must find ways to thrive,” Zukoski wrote.

“Given the continuing safety restrictions and limited densities permissible on campus, our undergraduate students primarily or exclusively will be taking their courses online in the fall term,” he said. “On-campus housing and activities will be limited.”

Only 10 to 20% of courses during the fall semester will be conducted in person and on campus. These courses include certain labs, studios and performance classes and research studies that require hands-on work.

The new USC decision echoes UCLA’s plan for the fall to only offer 15 to 20% of courses on campus, and reflects how colleges throughout the state and nation are moving to severely limit in-person courses,

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NYC Will Not Allow Indoor Dining In Next Phase Of Reopening

Since Chinese officials locked down the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 10.5 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, across the planet.

More than 511,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Efforts to curb the outbreak led to the global disruption of daily life and the economy, as schools and workplaces shuttered in hopes of slowing transmission. After months of precautions and lockdowns, governments have begun to reopen their economies.

HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects.

Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.) 

New York City Will Not Allow Indoor Dining In Next Phase Of Reopening — 7/1/20, 10:55 a.m. ET

As the number of COVID-19 cases tied to restaurants and bars is rising in a growing number of U.S. states, New York City won’t permit restaurants to resume indoor dining as part of the city’s next phase of reopening, which is set to begin July 6.

“It’s not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday at his daily press briefing.

Following growing signs over the weekend that the pandemic is worsening in many states, de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week that they would reassess whether the city would

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Arizona schools will delay reopening for in-person classes until at least Aug. 17

PHOENIX — Arizona schools will delay reopening for in-person classes this year until at least Aug. 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday. 

“We also want to bring as much certainty as possible for Arizona schools,” Ducey said. “We’ll continuously reevaluate this target date.” 

The state’s schools usually open in early August, long before Labor Day. But a spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona has made 2020 an unusual year: Schools are facing difficult decisions in reopening, including whether to offer in-person classes at all.

The state has more than 74,000 confirmed cases, with 3,000-plus new cases reported on five of the past seven days.

People younger than 20 make up about 11% of the cases. 

Nationwide: Younger people are a factor in surge of COVID-19 cases, analysis shows

The announcement means schools will not be able to hold in-person classes until mid-August, but schools could offer online instruction before the reopening date, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman wrote on Twitter. 

Ducey announced extra funding for K-12 schools last week to help with pandemic-related issues, but teachers and other school leaders criticized the move because it prevented schools from delaying start dates past early August. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks about the latest coronavirus data at a news conference on June 25, 2020, in Phoenix.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks about the latest coronavirus data at a news conference on June 25, 2020, in Phoenix.

In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Hoffman said she’d heard escalating concerns about reopening from parents and educators over the past few weeks. 

“We were hopeful that schools could

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