A universal “gap year” might be coming

Amherst has just closed its campus for the semester. I’m seeing a lot of stress on various college parent pages, a lot of uncertainty, and while I am no expert (I’m not sure anyone really is right now), I think most of the colleges and universities will be closing campuses soon, switching to remote learning, from what I’ve been tracking.

The Spanish flu hit much harder in the cities that didn’t close their schools. I’m sure everyone at higher levels is taking that, along with the undoubtedly far higher rates of coronavirus in the US. than we currently know about, given the abysmal rollout of testing kits and general presidential denialism, and drawing the same conclusions I am.

(Italy has just banned weddings for the duration — you can get married with an officiant and a witness, but that’s it. Your guests can watch it streamed.)

I would expect many colleges to close soon, and plan accordingly. Some parents I see are telling their kids to pack what they can easily carry, and they’ll deal with collecting the rest when they can.

In terms of educational disruption — I saw one comment that what’s happening in Japan and elsewhere may lead to our all treating this as a universal “gap year.” We’re going to be scrambling in academia to think through what is the best way to foster student learning in this environment, and minimize the consequences for young adults and their families.

I’m sorry.

This spreadsheet is tracking colleges and university closures: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19wJZekxpewDQmApULkvZRBpBwcnd5gZlZF2SEU2WQD8/htmlview


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