When COVID-19 started its terrible career, I forecast that some colleges and universities would decide to switch between in-person and online classes during a semester. I gave that strategy the name “Toggle Term.” While no campus wanted to announce they were planning on using it during the summer, fall has actually seen numerous cases. (Check the end of this post for my current list)
This week began with two.
ITEM: State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego announced it would suspend in-person classes for two weeks. Infections are rising (73 people on campus, according to their helpful dashboard) and while that’s short of the state’s mandate of 100 cases, “We are getting so close to the cap of 100 it seems inevitable we will pass it before September 25.”
Education has moved online for the duration.
ITEM: Providence College will also take a leave of absence of in-person presence. This throw of the Toggle only lasts one week. The cause is the same, a rising number of infections. “We have seen more than 80 students test positive over the past two days, with a large concentration involving off-campus students.”
That’s only one week, but more may be in the offing for Providence:
this is our last chance to remain together in person for the fall semester. Between these actions and the serious steps we already have taken – especially in the past few days – we have used virtually every tool at our disposal. We are out of options. If we are not successful, we will have no alternative other than to shut down our campus for the remainder of the fall semester.
Note this, too: “This also will likely affect our ability to reopen for the spring semester.”
Both of those cases are collaborative decisions between a campus and a political authority, state health departments each time.
They also have in common keeping residential students on campus, rather than sending them away.
How many more should we expect for fall term 2020?
More Toggle Terms that I’ve tracked: Bradley University, Colorado College, Gettysburg College, James Madison University, Lock Haven University, North Carolina State University, Notre Dame, SUNY Oneonta, Temple University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of West Virginia, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wyoming, and Winona State University. Additionally, Temple University expanded its remote instruction period to cover the rest of fall 2020. Meanwhile, leading public health figures are opposed to sending students home.