Colleges are starting to nail down their plans for the fall, and the approaches already are wide-ranging. The California state university system, for example, will not have students return this fall and will instead continue online classes. But Notre Dame is taking an opposite approach—it's bringing back students two weeks early, reports CNN. The university said Monday that students will return on August 10, but they will not get a fall break and will instead end the semester earlier than normal, before Thanksgiving. That way, students won't be returning to campus after the holiday and possibly spreading the coronavirus anew. The Indiana campus also will have an array of new safety protocols, including buildings where students who test positive can be isolated, per the South Bend Tribune.
"Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed," wrote the Rev. John Jenkins, university president, in a public letter. "We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet." The idea of scrapping a fall break seems to be catching on, with the University of South Carolina announcing a similar approach earlier this month, reports the New York Times. One big issue still to be resolved is whether college athletics will resume. "I hope we'll have football," Jenkins told Today.com. But "it's not just our decision," he added. "It's the decision of all institutions in Division I across the nation, so we're going to talk to all of them and we'll see what is safe, what is possible." (Read more Notre Dame stories.)