Here's how some universities are planning for fall classes amid the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 18:25:48-04

(WXYZ) — Colleges and universities across the county are trying to figure out what the Fall semester will look like.

Some may welcome students back to the campus while others may remain in a virtual classroom only.

Others could shut down forever due to the financial burden this pandemic has caused.

The schools in our area are trying to plan what to do this fall.

University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel said, “A lot of uncertainty about how this epidemic is going to play out.”

He, like other university presidents, want to reopen campus safely.

Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State are looking forward based on the data in hand today. All three are led by presidents who happen to be medical doctors.

They are taking that expertise and combining it with the economic needs the schools face.

U of M is reportedly facing a loss of up to $1 billion this year across all of its campuses.

The president is treating this pandemic and the financial issues that come with it, as a marathon not a sprint.

“This disease is going to be with us for a couple more years, actually. And it’s going to be here until we either have a vaccine that can prevent it or a drug that can ameliorate that symptoms, so that people don’t get sick and end up in the hospital.”

In a tweet posted Wednesday morning, Schlissel said he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about returning to in-person classrooms this fall.

Michigan State and Wayne State are planning for online learning only.

WSU President Dr. M. Roy Wilson added, “And if for some reason, something happens and we are really surprised and we can do it in-person, we will pivot.”

All three are research institutions, crucial during a time like this.

Right now, Michigan, MSU and Wayne State say it’s most important to focus on when it safe to reopen.

MSU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. explained, “We’d have to look at where we are in the curve of the disease and then I think you can start to predict when the optimal time would be to do that.”

As of now Oakland University has plans to return to campus this Fall with safety measures in place. Staff and students must practice social distancing and wear masks on campus if it’s still deemed necessary.

Eastern Michigan University is reviewing multiple scenarios and that includes various degrees of online learning.

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