It seemed that almost every university was putting ads in May, about your plans change reopening and betting heavily against the force of the pandemic. Now several of these institutions have decided to follow online instruction due to the growing rate of infection. Others have reopened their campus, only to see a series of outbreaks. As the number of cases grows on campuses across the country, leading institutions are planning to reopen stand.

Administrators of a select group of universities saw things differently, however. They were aware that the virus can continue to emerge; They did not choose to play with the fall semester. Eastern Washington University announced on May 4 that most of his classes would be online. The rector of the State University of California did the same on May 12 and announced that its 23 campuses would run most classes remotely. Both institutions plan to hold some laboratories and workshops in person. Administrators from both universities say their bets resulted in a pair of wins and some losses, but above all not regret their decision to play it safe.

"It's always hard to be the leader in something like this, something that people do not want," said David May, interim president of Eastern Washington, who was Provost when the decision was made to keep teaching from distance. "We have critics around the world. Students were not happy. Faculty initially were not happy. "

Nationally, students have been very clear on social networks and surveys that do not want to learn online, and if they do, expect to be paid much less in tuition and fees.

"We are absolutely saw a lot of students walk from the University of Eastern Washington because other universities were told they would be face to face," May said. "Students want great college experience, and were told they could get at different universities."

But take the decision early May said, took time college enrollment to offset the loss.

students were not the only disappointed with the decision to keep distance learning. He may noted that many faculty members do not enjoy teaching online in the spring and were less eager to repeat the experience. And residents and local businesses were also dismayed that there may be fewer students on campus to fuel the economy. (Eastern Washington is allowing students to choose whether they want to live on campus and offers single rooms for those who do.)

"We had to do a lot of talking, having a lot of conversations and helps people understand why we were making decisions that were "May said.

he said the early decision not to open again this fall also took time college for a series of weekly workshops to introduce faculty of technology available to help with online instruction.

"My school friends have said: 'It is nice to have the summer to take what I did in that three-week period [in March] and make it a true class'" he said May.

San Jose State University, part of the system of the State, the University Provost Vincent Casino said the decision to put most online classes are induced anxiety.

"We had no idea how students respond. No one had a sense of what this would look like, and did not know where everyone is going to go, "he said. "When a decision is made early, there is the question of 'How do you know what it will be like in September or late August?' And the truth was that we did not. "

fall registration in San Jose has fluctuated between 32,000 and 34,000 in recent years, and the Casino said the numbers have remained fairly constant, even though the number of international students has fallen. He said that the talk of students not enrolled in distance learning programs, many have realized the drawbacks of delaying their education in today's economy and fewer employment opportunities available.

The University also made a multimillion dollar investment in the development of the faculty with distance learning summer training program for more than 1,000 faculty members. The university gave each participant $ 1,000 to participate. (The president of the Teachers Association of California, the union of professors at California State University, said the organization expects members to be paid for any volunteer work during the summer when his contract is not in force. )

Cal State chancellor Timothy White echoed some of the sentiments of the Casino tries to decide soon to hold off this fall.

"If we are wrong, I can live with that mistake. But what I want to do is have to yo-yo, "White said in a podcast appearance with the American Council on Education. "Yo-yo delivery of higher education is hard on the faculty, staff hard and tough as hell on students and their families."

Early decision to Cal State, said, gave some other universities that had initially planned to be in person licensed to follow suit and stick with distance learning.

"took some courage to get out there and could have been a mistake," he said.

For many universities, the threat of declining enrollment, tuition and fees is creating enormous pressure to reopen. However, some observers have speculated that if more institutions had declared a semester online at the outset an agreement stress well could have been avoided by everyone involved.

"If decisions as California State University do to go online had been done before, I think it would have changed our preparation to be a mindset little more fully online," said Chuck Staben, ex president and current professor at the University of Idaho.

ultimately, leaders in both San Jose State and Eastern Washington say the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.

"Thriving of principles that have allowed the message clarity and simplicity with people what it will look like," he said of the Casino. "Knowing what we know now, it is absolutely made the right decision."

"Everyone was upset," May said. "Until all the other schools began to follow."

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