Post-secondary educational institutions in the United States are working diligently to prepare and adapt to the harrowing circumstances brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, there is a massive concern that universities will experience a reduction in their enrollment numbers from international students who pay full tuition, a contribution that many schools largely rely upon to remain operational.


Robert Davis, co-founder of the RD Heritage Group, a partnership of five family offices that invest in real estate, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, energy, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and oil and gas, has reviewed some of the other effects felt by the U.S’s post-secondary education system as a result of the coronavirus.


Students Returning from Abroad


After the CDC moved Italy from Alert Level 2 to Warning Level 3 in February, a number of universities immediately responded by having students that were studying abroad in the country return to the U.S.


Statements were released, confirming that students had either departed Italy or were planning to leave, by the following schools: Elon University, Fairfield University, Florida International University, University of Tampa, Gonzaga University, Loyola University Chicago, Miami University-Ohio, Penn State University, Stanford University, Syracuse University, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Miami and Villanova University.


Certain schools, such as Villanova University, asked their students to complete a 14-day quarantine period prior to their campus return.


Online Learning to be Maximized


Striving to maintain student retention and access to learning, a number of universities in the U.S. are adjusting their programs to provide online degrees and courses as a response to the spread of the coronavirus.


Online tools, like group video programs, can bring teachers and students together over the internet for the purpose of conducting classes digitally, notes Robert Davis. Distance education is another avenue that students are continuing their studies through, since it utilizes online programs that replace instructors with educational material that students learn on their own.


Videos and online classes, which can be accessed according to the time preferences of the students, are two examples of distance learning. Such options are extremely convenient because it is not necessary for students to enter live meetings with the teacher and other students at a specific time.


Expedited Graduation from Medical Schools


Numerous medical schools are opting to graduate students early, putting them in a position to confront the COVID-19 pandemic faster. Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts, and Boston University are all graduating students in their final year of medical school, with the state vowing to grant graduates automatic 90-day licenses to support the healthcare system.


Columbia University’s final-year medical students are set to graduate one month early, after which they will be temporarily employed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.


Certain medical students at New York University will be permitted to graduate early, too; however, they will need to receive approval from the school’s regulator and accreditor. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is moving its medical students to an April graduation date rather than May and electing to leave each student’s qualifications for early residency recruitment at the discretion of the hospitals.

See Also: What is the minimum GPA for medical school? 

Decisive Delays


Across the country, standardized testing and school admissions are being delayed, with certain states canceling the testing altogether, says Robert Davis. Some states are considering extending the school year because of delays and the missed days of school that is swiftly adding up.


Classes and semesters are being delayed so that teachers receive ample time in adapting to the online platforms as they look to alter their material to fit in with a new teaching style. Teachers are learning how to properly use these online tools, understanding how to convert hands-on learning materials or discussion-based classes to new platforms, and contemplating the necessity of modifying the learning plan entirely if there is an inability to integrate it with online learning.


What does this mean for many students in their final year? Graduation delays and, later, similar setbacks in their beginning a career.


Studies show that lengthy school closures and the time lost negatively affect the academic performance of all students. As such, that time without school decreases their chances of earning a high school diploma or college degree and makes them more likely to endure unemployment and earn two to three percent less income.


Robert Davis Looks Ahead


Until the coronavirus spread is contained, education will continue to be primarily executed online, as new learning opportunities are being advertised and offered to students. How both students and teachers conform to this type of learning environment remains to be seen.


Although students and teachers are still acclimating to this new reality, their aptitude in overcoming these challenges will be a tell-tale sign in determining if educational institutions experiment with online platforms more in the future, says Robert Davis.


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