Even as many colleges are struggling to figure out what the beginning of the new academic year will look like, a few have made public schedules for the next semester that already account for another wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall, which epidemiologists have said is more or less inevitable.
The colleges that have made plans anticipating the next wave of infection have scheduled one or a combination of measures that include opening earlier than usual — or in one case, later than usual — for the fall; foregoing or shortening the fall break; ending in-person classes at Thanksgiving and moving to remote instruction after; and even altering the spring 2021 semester.
The intention is to reduce mass travel during the brief fall break and then a return to campus after, which could lead to a spike in infections. Institutions want to eliminate in-person interactions after the Thanksgiving break for the same reason.
Several public health experts have said a whole new set of COVID-19 infections can be expected in the fall and winter. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Financial Times this week that he is concerned about a second wave in the northern hemisphere, which he sees at the end of 2020. “We’ve seen evidence that the concerns it would go south in the southern hemisphere like flu (are coming true), and you’re seeing what’s happening in Brazil now,” Redfield said. “And then when the southern hemisphere is over, I suspect it will reground itself in the north.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the president’s coronavirus task force, has spoken similarly.
“I’m almost certain it will come back, because the virus is so transmissible and it’s globally spread,” said Fauci during an Economic Club of Washington webinar late last month, reported The Hill and other publications.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Greg Poland, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, said COVID-19 will likely follow
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