More Universities to Close After Thanksgiving 

As COVID-19 cases surge around the U.S., more universities and colleges plan to move all classes online after Thanksgiving break in late November, while others say they will allow students to return to campus. FILE – Students wait in line at a testing site for the COVID-19 set up for returning students, faculty and staff on the main campus of New York University (NYU) in Manhattan in New York City, Aug. 18, 2020.”By requiring all students to test negative before leaving, we are implementing a smart, sensible policy that protects students’ families and hometown communities and drastically reduces the chances of COVID-19 community spread,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras in a press release. Indiana University (IU) will require its 48,514 students to have exit testing as they head home for the Thanksgiving break. Last week (November 11), some IU students were suspended for celebrating in the streets after a football win. The week before, the university shut down its Delta Upsilon fraternity house through summer 2021, for hosting a large, unmasked Halloween party.“Students will leave a state with skyrocketing new COVID-19 cases and some might sit next to grandparents a few days later,” tweeted Matt Cohen, enterprise reporter for the Indiana Daily Student news outlet.The University of Missouri, another large Midwestern state university, changed its plan last week to online learning for its 29,843 students. The decision, announced November 12, came after a surge in COVID-19 cases in Missouri, according to University of Missouri System President Mun Y. Choi.  Until the surge, Missouri considered limited internet access at home, finances, and their COVID-19 case count when deciding to keep the campus open after the break, said University of Missouri Spokesperson Christian Basi. “We have many students who rely on on-campus work to provide them with a source of income and if we were to close the campus not only would many of the students not be able to return, but there are some of those jobs that simply would stop,” said Basi.FILE – University of Illinois student Sarah Keeley, right, poses for a portrait on the college campus in Urbana, Ill., Oct. 6, 2020.The American College Health Association issued an advisory in October to help colleges and universities navigate the end of the semester. The U.S. does not have a national plan for higher education and COVID-19.  Four sources are compiling information about colleges and COVID-19, including case-tracking maps: The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Davidson College’s College Crisis Initiative (C2i), and Inside Higher Education. Most international students face holidays alone or without family. Some schools are encouraging all their students not to go home for the break, and are offering alternative activities and turkey meals, the typical centerpiece on most American dinner tables for Thanksgiving.   Iuliia Rychkova is an international doctoral student at the University of Mississippi, which will end its fall semester before the Thanksgiving break.  “I’m going to stay in Oxford,” where the university has its main campus, she said.  “Honestly, I’m an international student, right? So it’s kind of pricey to go home for a month,” said Rychkova, who is from Novokuznetsk, Russia, which lies east of Kazakhstan and west of Mongolia. 

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