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COVID 19 Updates: Remote Work, Paying Food Service, Tour Alternatives, Visa Rules Relaxed, Free EdTech

By Net Assets posted 03-16-2020 02:15 PM

  

(from the Chronicle of Higher Education) As colleges around the country have closed to students and moved to online learning, many administrative staff members are being asked to come to campus to work. This can put staff members or their family members unnecessarily at risk, if their work can be done remotely, and cause undue stress. " If we’re telling students and faculty members to work remotely — while demanding that staff members come in and share office space with one another — the message is clear about whose health matters to the institution," said author David Perry.

Meanwhile colleges are also thinking about how to manage their food service staff and other workers who are not needed during the campus closure.
Most institutions will delay cuts in personnel as long as possible for fear of losing competent employees, who can be difficult to replace. However, institutions without large balance sheets could be forced to make tough decisions: Should they reduce payments to certain contractors in order to invest in better distance learning? Or perhaps terminate some “nonessential” employees in order to continue to pay those deemed “essential”? 

(from Inside Higher Ed) 
The Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has published more detailed guidance on how it will offer flexibility in relation to rules that typically restrict international students from counting more than one online course toward the requirement that they maintain a full-time course of study. It addresses three different scenarios in which online learning isn't available, when it is, and when a student leaves the country. Colleges must notify SEVP of procedural changes they make to respond to the coronavirus within 10 days of making those changes.

In other news: 

  • Many colleges have cancelled their tours or prospective student days for the spring admissions season, and are attempting to fill the gap with video tours and modifications to acceptance letters. Some are extending the deadline for accepting offers. For many colleges, this deadline has created pressure to start producing their first online content for newly admitted students, or to greatly improve the content. The short-video format is markedly different from much longer live presentations. 
  • High school juniors, meanwhile, are contending with delaying SAT testing or taking the test under increased stress due to fears of contagion. The College Board has been criticized for not providing clear messaging regarding if test centers should close or not.
  • And for teachers, companies are offering free access to new ed-tech tools. How quickly schools can adopt them is another question. The companies may benefit if in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis if schools more carefully think through online learning contingency plans. 

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