#13: Responding To A Crisis — What Colleges Are Planning for this Fall — A Series Documenting How New Orleans Educators and Schools Are Reacting To COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically altered almost every facet of American society — including higher education. Most college, university, and community college campuses closed early this spring to try to help limit the spread of the virus and to keep their students, faculty, and staff safe. Many moved courses online to allow students to finish the semester.

Now, as the number of COVID cases nationwide has remained steady, and even climbed in some states, higher education institutions are in the process of disseminating their plans for the fall. A recent comprehensive review by The Chronicle of Higher Education documents the plans of institutions across the country.

Notably, it found that 65% of the nearly 1,000 institutions in its database are planning to re-open with in-person classes. (Note: the Chronicle’s database counts schools within a larger university system separately, such that the University of Utah and Utah State University are counted separately though they are both a part of the Utah System of Higher Education.)

An additional 12% of schools were considering a hybrid model, followed by 9% that are still considering a range of scenarios, 8% that are planning on online courses only, and 6% that are still waiting to decide.

A Cowen Institute analysis of the data found that private institutions are more likely to be planning to re-open in person than public schools at a rate of 70% to 61%. 15% of public institutions are planning to offer online only courses, compared to only 1% of private institutions. Public institutions are also more likely than private institutions to be offering hybrid models, at a rate of 15% to 9%.

In Louisiana, the vast majority of institutions are planning to re-open with in-person classes. Out of the 15 institutions in the database, only two, Xavier and Loyola, are planning to offer a hybrid model. The 13 other schools are planning on in-person classes. This list includes: Tulane University, LSU, University of Louisiana, Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of New Orleans, and Louisiana College. However, it’s worth noting that while Tulane will be re-opening with in-person classes, there will be a hybrid option available to students as well. That may be the case for other institutions, though it’s not captured in the data in the Chronicle’s database.

The mission of the Cowen Institute is to advance public education and youth success in New Orleans and beyond.