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How one prominent university is planning for students’ return


With help from Nicole Gaudiano

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A grand reopening of American colleges and universities will likely wait for the rest of the economy to emerge from pandemic-prompted lockdowns. One prominent school has big plans for students’ return to campus.

Schools can now apply for more than $6 billion in emergency stimulus funding, the Education Department says, but undocumented immigrants including members of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program won’t qualify for a separate tranche of student aid.

President Donald Trump’s latest expected immigration ban has created concern over its potential effect on international student enrollment.

WELCOME TO WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22. Trump’s political fate now hinges on a simple premise: Everybody who needs a coronavirus test must be able to get a test. Health departments are scraping together a rag-tag army of graduate students, workers from a city attorney’s office and even librarians to trace the coronavirus. Details of a Senate-approved $484 billion pandemic aid agreement are out.

Here’s your daily reminder to send tips to today’s host at [email protected] — and also colleagues Nicole Gaudiano ([email protected]), Michael Stratford ([email protected]) and Bianca Quilantan ([email protected]). Share your event listings with [email protected]. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.

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COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES HAVE FELT AN UNPRECEDENTED IMPACT FROM THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK when it comes to distance learning, finances and the future of higher education, members of a panel hosted by the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School reiterated on Tuesday.

It’s less clear how campuses will reopen within the broader economy. “I can certainly imagine the, if you will, ‘general economy’ opening up before the university campus could open up,” Doug Shackelford, dean of the business school, said.

That’s because the traditional campus is home to a dense population that operates in closer contact than most communities. “So we’re going to have to be extremely cautious about what we do on college campuses, whereas normal economic activity might be able to move ahead,” he said.

Classrooms and lecture halls could be filled halfway to comply with social distancing guidelines when in-person instruction resumes, Shackelford suggested, while other students or faculty have an option to check in on Zoom. A slow and cautious approach to resuming campus life is needed, he said.

— “Because if we do have an outbreak, then parents are going to want their sons and daughters to come home. Faculty and staff aren’t going to want to move forward,” Shackelford said. “We’ve got to be really careful about how we handle things on a college campus in ways different from Main Street in local communities or other business districts.” Bianca Quilantan has more to read from UNC’s discussion.

THIS ISN’T THEORETICAL ANYMORE. Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. said the Indiana institution intends to bring typical numbers of students back to campus this fall while considering new policies to keep young students separate from, or in minimal contact with, older and potentially at-risk members of the community.

Daniels offered these examples: Classes could spread across days and times to reduce their size. On-campus students could see more online instruction and virtual laboratory work. More vulnerable staff could be allowed — or required — to work remotely. Students and staff could be tested for coronavirus infection and post-infection immunity before they arrive on campus as well as during the school year.

Daniels said those steps will be “augmented by a host of other changes,” including an indefinite prohibition on gatherings above a certain size, limits on visitors to campus and off-campus travel, mandatory face coverings and frequent facility cleaning.

“Closing down our entire society, including our university, was a correct and necessary step,” Daniels wrote. “But like any action so drastic, it has come at extraordinary costs, as much human as economic, and at some point, clearly before next fall, those will begin to vastly outweigh the benefits of its continuance.”

COLLEGES CAN BEGIN APPLYING FOR MORE THAN $6 BILLION IN STIMULUS FUNDING, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Tuesday. But schools will be prohibited from using the money to pay the salaries or bonuses of senior administrators or executives, Michael Stratford reports.

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS DON’T QUALIFY FOR A SECOND TRANCHE OF MONEY for colleges to pay for emergency cash grants for student expenses, under new guidance issued Tuesday. That includes hundreds of thousands of DACA members. Michael reported earlier this week that aid has already been slow to arrive on campuses.

TRUMP’S SURPRISE IMMIGRATION HALT was initially expected to include at least one big exemption, but one group is raising concerns about its uncertain effect on international student enrollment.

“While it remains to be seen how the administration will implement the recently announced blanket ban on immigration, this proposed ban would be short-sighted and counterproductive,” said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, in a statement to POLITICO.

— “A potential ban will be particularly detrimental to international students, scholars, and researchers — including those seeking to study or engage in Optional Practical Training in STEM fields and who would be on the front lines of responding to COVID-19, including developing vaccines and supporting health care professionals,” she said. “A blanket ban would cause irreparable harm to our campuses and communities and exacerbate our nation’s already fragile economic standing.”

THE GAO SAYS THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT NEEDS TO ADDRESS “SIGNIFICANT” QUALITY ISSUES with data involving the restraint and seclusion of students at school.

Quality control processes for data the department collects from public school districts on such incidents are “largely ineffective or do not exist,” says the watchdog’s analysis of federal data for the 2015-16 school year, the most recent available. The department agreed with GAO’s recommendations to improve data quality.

Specifically, the report says, the department’s processes were “insufficient” to detect problem data in its Civil Rights Data Collection, used to enforce civil rights laws. Also, among other issues, no rules exist to flag potential underreporting or high rates of restraint or seclusion.

POLITICO Pro is here to help you navigate these unprecedented times. Check out our new Covid-19 Coverage Roundup, which provides a daily summary of top Covid-19 news coverage from across all 16 federal policy verticals as well as premium content, such as DataPoint graphics. Please sign up at our settings page to receive this unique roundup sent directly to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION’S MASSIVE ANNUAL ASSEMBLY WILL BE HELD REMOTELY THIS YEAR, following a vote from the union’s board.

“We cannot take the risk of educators becoming infected and spreading the virus to students, their families and colleagues, or their communities,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said in a statement.

It’s not easy to carry out a major convention’s business remotely. For the NEA, that will mean limiting the type of action and debate delegates will take on — plus final votes that can be delivered and returned via mail ballots.

The American Federation of Teachers will decide the fate of its July convention next month. President Randi Weingarten said the union is considering a “hybrid model” that would allow some members to convene online, while others are face-to-face.

“People want to see each other, whether that’s remotely or not,” Weingarten said in a statement. “That said, our members’ health and wellbeing is non-negotiable. We will be guided by the science and the data, not politics and the president.”

Eighty-seven percent of registered voters support providing federal assistance to child care providers so they can make payroll and pay other expenses, according to a survey commissioned by the Save the Children Action Network and Child Care Aware of America.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education examines how colleges and universities use Facebook and Twitter tools to block information from students.

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice concludes that nearly 14 percent of surveyed student-athletes at Division I schools experienced homelessness in the previous year and 24 percent were food insecure in the prior 30 days.

— HBCU land grant universities ask Congress for more funding: POLITICO Pro

— National Spelling Bee canceled for the first time since World War II: POLITICO Pro

— ‘I just can’t do this.’ Harried parents forgo home school: Associated Press

— Former UCLA soccer coach Jorge Salcedo to plead guilty in college admissions scandal: Los Angeles Times

— Virginia Tech sued by three more former cadets over ‘blood pinning’ punishments: Roanoke Times

— Analysis: Restarting K-12 schools is difficult enough — without good data about their students, it’s much harder for pre-K: The 74



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