It isn’t only international education that is affected. With federal public-health officials warning that it’s a matter of when, not if, COVID-19 becomes widespread with the U.S., colleges have begun to put campus plans
in place, readying communications strategies, cautioning students to use preventive health measures, and even preparing for possible closures.
The global nature of the coronavirus threat makes it distinctive from other challenges higher ed has faced. It also stands out because it has a lengthy time horizon, Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer of University of Southern California Student Health told me. Campus emergencies are often one-time events, such as a protest march or a snowstorm, in which the impact is felt for a discrete period of time. But a public-health crisis like a coronavirus outbreak could unfold over a much longer span, disrupting activities for weeks or even months. Experts says it’s possible that there could be two waves of the disease, with infections slowing during the warmer summer months and accelerating again in the fall.
Readers, I want to hear from you: How are you planning for potential medium- and long-term disruptions caused by COVID-19? Are you changing your international-recruitment plans? Rethinking study abroad? How will you keep up your global engagement if travel is curtailed? Tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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In other coronavirus-related news:
- Last week I told you Australia could relax travel restrictions for some 100,000 Chinese students unable to return for the start of the semester. That now seems to be off the table. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated the idea of economic stimulus for hard-hit higher education.
- A third of prospective international students could change their plans to study abroad, according to a new survey from QS.
- COVID-19 could delay critical college-entrance exams in some Asian countries.