To be honest, I thought that this virus situation would last for maybe a couple months and then we’d all go back to school like normal. Unfortunately, we’re actually staying at home for longer than expected. With the promise of summer break now thoroughly ended by the extended stay-at-home order, we are faced with a serious question. Are we going back to school next year? Will the class of 2020, after missing the end of their senior year, even get to attend their first year of college?
Colleges know that to keep students in online classes would be signing a death warrant on their yearly profits and enrollment. So instead, many such as San Jose state, Cal State East Bay, and UC San Diego are planning to offer a hybrid of in person and online instruction. University of California is exploring a later start for on-campus classes, retrofitting facilities for social distancing, and hybrid courses. States with few cases such as Oregon have announced the guaranteed opening of its schools in the fall. Even colleges in states with a high number of cases, like Boston University, Brown University, and New York University, plan to open in the fall. To see other colleges’ current stance on the 2020-2021 school year, click here.
Major changes are coming to all schools. To keep a safe distance between students, colleges are considering shrinking class sizes, moving classes outdoors or into auditoriums. Dorming and living arrangements would also have to be modified. In order to solve the problem of dormroom shortages, colleges are leasing nearby apartments to accommodate students. Along with a hybrid of online and in-person classes, older faculty members would be required to work remotely at home. Dining options could be restricted to take out meals only or eating in cafeterias but at a distance.
Reopening sports seasons is still a question. While individual sports teams could resume practices, large gatherings to watch the games wouldn’t be possible until a vaccine. However, there is hope! American biotech company Moderna, Inc. has recently announced positive results in its phase 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial. Two groups were tested, one receiving a 25 microgram dose and the other a 100 microgram dose. It was found that Covid-19 antibodies were produced in all 45 participants. After two weeks, all participants showed levels of antibodies that met to exceeded levels found in patients recovered from the virus. Chief Medical officer at Moderna, Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., said, “When combined with the success in preventing viral replication in the lungs of a pre-clinical challenge model at a dose that elicited similar levels of neutralizing antibodies, these data substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose for pivotal trials.” After moving on to phase 2 and 3, the vaccine is predicted to be ready in early 2021. To read more about the trial, click here.
Even if we are able to go back to school in the fall, it is important to understand that it won’t be exactly the same. Until there is an official vaccine, we will have to continue social distancing, washing our hands, and taking extra precautions to keep our loved ones saved. But with that said, never forget that there is hope.