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COVID 19 Update: More Money for SBA Loans?, Cost Cutting & Refunds, Reopening Plans

By Net Assets posted 04-20-2020 10:06 AM


(from the Washington Post) The Trump administration and congressional leaders closed in Sunday on an approximately $470 billion deal to renew funding for a small-business loan program that ran out of money under crushing demand. Leaders say they aim to pass the agreement into law within days. The deal would add about $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. The new bill would also add $60 billion to a separate emergency loan program for small businesses. Leaders say the bill could pass as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

More from the Washington Post

(from the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed) Universities are taking major steps to furlough employees and cut pay across the board to provide some certainty for stakeholders, rather taking than a piecemeal approach that keeps everyone guessing what could happen next. The University of Wisconsin system, for example, has announced all employees will be furloughed one day a month in the coming school year. Colleges are also cutting arts and athletic programs.

Meanwhile, five universities are facing class-action lawsuits demanding tuition refunds. The lawsuits claim that the universities are committing "breach of contract" and receiving “unjust enrichment” from tuition and fee payments that won’t go toward services that benefit students, and that the institutions have failed to deliver on promises of in-person instruction and campus life. Existing online programs charge much less than in-person programs. 

More from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Ed 

(from multiple sources) Schools in Denmark are among the first in the world to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have many new operating procedures, reports the New York Times. For example, parents aren't allowed inside. Teachers can't gather in the staff room. The library is closed, and children have their own desks two yards away from their nearest neighbor. During recess, they can play only in small groups, and they wash their hands at least once an hour. Teachers aim to do as much teaching as possible outdoors. And instead of arriving through a single entrance, pupils must enter through several side doors, depending on the location of their classroom.

As for returning to K-12 classrooms in the U.S., one expert urges schools to avoid complexity when relaunching and stay well within the talents and capacity of existing staff. "Keep it simple. Keep it focused, intense, achievable and time-limited. The most attention should be on those who have fallen the furthest behind," the author said in an article from the 74 Million

Some argue reopening U.S. higher education in the fall could benefit the whole country. The most vulnerable groups could be protected through online opportunities or use of personal protective equipment, for example, while those least vulnerable, including most college students, could benefit from in-person activities. "This whole temporary enterprise would have to be flexibly administered and would require a spirit of collective effort," say the authors of an Inside Higher Ed article

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