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University Reopening Plans Under Fire

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students on campus in masks

Masks will be required on many university campuses.

Come August, hundreds of universities across the United States are poised to reopen their campuses with a mix of online and in-person courses. Only a handful are aiming for an entirely online semester. But as the machinery of higher education cranks back into action, faculty, staff, and students are voicing concerns that with COVID-19 cases surging in many parts of the country, employees are being forced to put their health — and the health of others — at unnecessary risk.

Academics across the country are dismayed. At Pennsylvania State University, for instance, faculty published an open letter decrying the "limited amount of input faculty, staff, and graduate employees have had on decisions related to our safety." At Georgia Tech, faculty released a similar letter saying reopening procedures "do not follow science-based evidence."

But sources at several universities say they consider the plans inadequate. Academics who are earlier in their careers face especially sharp dilemmas. One faculty member at the University of Florida says she has continued to work from home even though her university requires her to be on campus.

From Science
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