While all of us would love to resume face-to-face classes in the Fall at the three Regent Institutions, the reality of our situation is making that highly unlikely. Let us assume you resume face-to-face classes using the 6-feet social distancing rule. That means classrooms can hold a lot less people. How much less? Suppose you have a lecture auditorium with an area of 8,783 square feet, which has a maximum seating capacity of 760 students under normal conditions. Implementing a social distancing rule would reduce the allowable number of students to 311 students. Size limitations effectively reduces student capacity by more than half. How many students can safely walk down a hallway and use the same exits to leave the building? Is each classroom disinfected between classes?
Social distancing practice dictates that no student could share a dorm room. Are universities expected to run these facilities at a financial loss? How long is that sustainable? Will each student get their own shower?
In a time when political pressures seem to be fighting against science and facts, it is incumbent upon our institutions of higher learning to stay levelheaded. In absence of widespread testing and immunization, it is simply irresponsible for the Board of Regents, the governor or university presidents to pretend that we’ll go back to a face-to-face learning environment in the fall. It is better to simply make the decision now about continuing with an online curriculum until it is safe for everyone.