This week has seen two American universities choose what I’ve dubbed a Toggle Term. That means they began the fall semester with in-person education but switched over to wholly online education once infections took off.
Today we have a third Toggle Term case.
North Carolina State University announced today that it would switch away from face-to-face instruction and campus life, moving operations online instead.
The timeline: classes began on August 10th. The online paradigm starts August 24th and runs through 2020. “[I]n-person and hybrid classes will move to online-only instruction for the remainder of the fall semester.” Students are not automatically sent home; the campus is still open, just locked down and online.
NCSU’s Chancellor, Randy Woodson, was very clear about the reason: rising infections.
[W]e have more than 500 students in quarantine and isolation, mostly off campus, who have either tested positive or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. We are also investigating other potential off-campus clusters…
What caused that? Student behavior, straight up:
We have also recently witnessed the negative impacts caused by those who did not take personal responsibility. We’ve had reports of large parties in off-campus apartments. In the last two days alone, we’ve identified three COVID-19 clusters in off-campus and Greek Village houses that can be traced to parties and behavior outside of our community standards and the governor’s mandates. We’re seeing significant infections in Greek life, and at this time there have been another seven Greek houses that have been quarantined due to a number of additional positive cases.
Note that emphasis on students. Unlike other academic leaders explaining their late conversion to the online education path, Woodson does not reference local, regional, or national COVID-19 infection trends. This announcement is focused on in-house, community behavior.
Note, too, the role of fraternity and sorority houses. I may return to this as I get time.
Watch for more Toggles. The fall is just beginning and infections are still going strong in the US: