Reimagining What College Will Look Like in the Age of Coronavirus


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — While colleges have moved online for the remainder of the spring semester, people are starting to wonder what classes will look like in the fall. 

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell spoke with a number of college and university presidents in this week’s “In Depth Podcast” about what restrictions may be in place when students return to campus.

Fairleigh Dickinson University president Christopher Capuano says he’s expecting “physical distancing, wearing masks, having to test students, faculty and staff regularly.”

At William Paterson University, they're looking at similar plans and possible changes to feeding students.

“There will be no sort of communal dinning, we would have to do a lot of grab and go and delivery,” says school president Richard Helldobler.

He also sees the pandemic as an opportunity to recruit New Jersey teenagers who might have been considering attending school out of state.

“(The pandemic) has really targeted students who have chosen to go out of state,” he explains. 

The state colleges and universities have launched the “NJ Come Home” initiative to encourage New Jersey locals to attend classes in their home state.

As far as classes go, however, colleges and universities are still working that out. 

Many anticipate the fall semester will have a mixture of online and in-person classes. 

Helldobler notes that they’ve even considered asking students if they’re like to attend classes during the weekend. 

“Would you prefer to come on a Saturday or Sunday when we can give you a bigger space and you can be in face-to-face,” he said. 

He expects plenty of testing to be done on campus, as does Capuano.

“It sounds excessive to think that we would have to test every day but ideally that would, I think, be a good practice,” Capuano said.

He adds that every decision made by the schools are made in the best interest of students and staff, 

“Some of these faculty have expressed a concern to us about returning to campus too soon,” he said.

Capuano also expects more students will commute to class rather than live on campus. 

Listen to the full conversation with Christopher Capuano and Richard Helldobler on the 880 In Depth podcast on the RADIO.COM app or wherever you get your podcasts.

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