This will be good news for some and bad news for others: After much speculation, Rutgers university has announced that its fall 2020 classes will be taking place mostly online.

In a memo from the office of the President on the Rutgers website, President and Professor Jonathan Holloway wrote:

“I am writing today to inform you that after careful consideration of all possible models for safely and effectively delivering instruction during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Rutgers is planning for a Fall 2020 semester that will combine a majority of remotely delivered courses with a limited number of in-person classes. Each of the chancellors will be communicating later today with more detail about what this means for the students they serve.”

I see both sides of the good news/bad news scenario here. First of all, I can relate to this personally because my son, a college student, has opted to take the fall semester off, as the end of last semester proved to him that he is not a good “virtual” student. There are some kids who just need that personal approach that the online learning situation does not offer. As hard as they try to convince you, it is not the same.

The financial aspect is also troublesome. Kids have already given in the deposits for housing and will have to have them returned to them. Not to mention the fact that parents are paying tuition for a full-scale college experience and many, if not most, feel that they are getting less than that, and so should be paying less than the standard tuition. I could see why parents would put up with this at the end of last semester because this all happened so quickly. But going into the fall, I can hear a lot of parents complaining already.


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The other issue is that select classes are being held in person on campus, and those will be following strict CDC guidelines for COVID-19 safety. But if those classes, like lab classes and art classes where it seems necessary to be there in person can accommodate restrictions, why shouldn’t all of them? And why can’t kids live in dorms and mask-up?

Princeton University also made the announcement of its COVID-19 plans on its website.

Basically, what it boils down to is minimizing density, staggering semesters with first-year students and juniors on campus in the fall, and sophomores and seniors in the spring. This seems to make more sense to me, because at least people who are paying for college and the entire spectrum of college experiences are really going to get that.

Either way, some of the rules seem silly and arbitrary and, I feel, give people a false sense of security. This is an extremely contagious virus that most of us are probably going to get eventually. Kids who are college-age are the least likely to suffer any serious injury or debilitating illness from this. Let them all mingle and push for herd immunity so we can get through this thing and finish with it already. Stopping kids from attending college is the opposite of what she would we should be doing and will only serve to prolong the pandemic.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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