A bunch of us have been tracking how some colleges and universities have moved or planned to move classes online this month, in response to the new pandemic developments. We started nearly three weeks ago and the dataset has been growing. Here’s a quick update.
First, the crowdsourced information has overwhelmingly been for US and Canadian institutions. I’d love to hear more about campuses in other nations. So far we see 131 colleges and universities with many or all classes online, in total: 36 Canadian, 95 American. None of these appear permanent or extending to the entire term or semester so far, so they count as toggle term cases in my framework.
Second, I did a quick and dirty Google Map of the latest data:
Now it looks like the shift online is geographically widely distributed. The American northeast, west coast, and midwest around Ohio/Michigan have the thickest populations. The south, which didn’t initially respond, is now starting to appear. Across Canada, the toggle terms look to be simply widespread.
Third, while the map might appear to be crowded, these January toggle terms are in a distinct minority within the United States. Out of roughly 4,000 academic institutions, these pandemic shifts represent about 2.4% of the total. The overwhelming majority are either planning for, or are currently conducting, classes face to face. The manner of that in person learning – how much social distancing, where boosters are required, masks, shields, etc. – is an open question. I don’t know of a good data source about that.
Fourth, this is a snapshot in time. Omicron cases are rising rapidly in the United States and Canada.
Hospitalization rates are lagging, due to the newness of many infections and Omicron’s less dangerous nature compared to Delta and other strains, but they are rising towards or at the highest levels in the pandemic so far:
So it is possible that more campuses will follow suit and throw instruction online. It’s also possible that they won’t, either because their leaders see Omicron peaking, then falling, shortly, or because they deem offering in-person academic experience worth the cost.
That’s it for now. If you hear of any instances of campuses moving classes online this month, please check or add to the open spreadsheet here. And, as always, the comment box stands ready for your responses.