Archive for Education

Reopening Schools in New Jersey

EducatingNJ is a one-stop news site focusing on K-college level instruction in the age of COVID. Timely, informative articles, lists of school districts planning to reopen online, and other relevant writings are found here.

The education section of NJ Spotlight offers valuable information as well.

As of September 4, here is a listing of what school districts are planning for the resumption of instruction.

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Here Is a List of the New Jersey School Districts Going Online Only

As of this writing, this is the list of districts (139 at last count) that will be going virtual starting in September.

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What Are the Reopening Plans for the Nation’s 15 Largest School Districts?

As of this writing, only one district is offering in-person only education; all the other districts are offering modified/hybrid models. Of course, these plans may be altered as COVID-19 surges continue; this feature will be regularly updated as districts change their respective approaches to dealing with this pandemic.

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What Colleges Have COVID-19 On Their Campuses?

This interactive New York Times feature, while not comprehensive, does list the hundreds of colleges that have reported coronavirus on campus; many institutions did not report citing privacy concerns.

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How Are Other Countries Reopening Their Schools?

This backgrounder from the Council on Foreign Affairs offers some insights; Science also provides some solid information supplemented by additional links. Other valuable sites include: Education Week presents some cases studies; utilization of safety measures in a handful of cities as presented by Education Source highlight what procedures should be employed; Brookings investigates reopenings in Denmark and Finland; Weill Cornell offers What Other Nations Can Tell the U.S. About How To Safely Reopen Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic; and The Conversation publishes How other countries reopened schools during the pandemic – and what the US can learn from them.

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New CDC Guidelines for Reopening Schools

You can find the revised guidance here.

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Reopening K-12: The Recommendations from the National Academies

The National Academic Press has just released Reopening K-12 Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prioritizing Health, Equity, and Communities.

The first recommendation is:

“Districts should weigh the relative health risks of reopening against the educational risks of providing no in-person instruction in Fall 2020. Given the importance of in-person interaction for learning and development, districts should prioritize reopening with an emphasis on providing fulltime, in-person instruction in grades K-5 and for students with special needs who would be best served by in-person instruction.”(Summary, 3)

Another recommendation is that:

“Based on what is currently known about the spread of COVID-19, districts should prioritize mask wearing, providing healthy hand hygiene solutions, physical distancing, and limiting large gatherings. Cleaning, ventilation, and air filtration are also important, but attending to those strategies alone will not sufficiently lower the risk of transmission. Creating small cohorts of
students is another promising strategy. (Summary, 5)

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CDC Guidelines for Re-opening K-12 Schools

For those who may have missed this guidance that is now the subject of intense debate, here it is. Here is a webinar from the Brookings Institution that addresses some of the concerns; an informative and relevant study can be found in the June 2019 issue of Preventive Medicine Reports. An Ethics Framework for the COVID-19 Reopening Process from Johns Hopkins is worth a perusal; it has also issued the COVID-19 School Reopening Response Checklist, and JHU Tracking State and National School Reopening Plans.

New Jersey’s plan is The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education.

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Podcasts Dealing with Higher Education and COVID

EAB, the educational consulting firm, is producing an ongoing series of podcasts directed to some of the concerns of the higher education community. These podcasts run around thirty minutes and are accompanied by additional readings/resources. Topics run the gamut from COVID’s effects on cybersecurity to reopening in the fall.

InsideHighered also hosts a string of podcasts on this subject.

The American Council on Education has a couple of worthwhile entries that deserve scrutiny; they come with links to additional resources.

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What Concerns Do Student Affairs Officials Have?

This 2020 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Student Affairs Officers highlights the multitudinous concerns that govern these administrators’ days. From student mental health to homelessness on campus to fraternities/sororities, the scope and depth of the issues confronting both students and those who assist them is quite revealing. And in light of the impact that COVID-19 has had in disrupting students’ lives, this survey proves its value.

Among the findings:

Nearly all student affairs officers say they spent significant time in the past year responding to matters related to student mental health (94 percent) and student well-being (91 percent). Fifty-five percent of all student affairs officers, including 73 percent of those at public colleges, spent considerable time addressing student hunger and homelessness. Half of student affairs officers report they spent time addressing race relations on campus.

Student affairs officers were less likely to say they spent a lot of time on substance abuse, interpersonal violence, free expression on campus, and Greek life, but majorities of those working at public doctoral colleges indicate they spent a lot of time on the last three of those issues.

By 49 percent to 25 percent, student affairs officers agree rather than disagree that the needs of residential students dominate their agenda. The level of agreement is much higher among those at colleges with a high proportion of undergraduates living on campus.

Fifty-eight percent of student affairs officers agree their college’s president is familiar enough with student affairs issues that when he or she makes a decision on such matters, it is the right one.(6)



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College Presidents’ Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.

A timely survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed and sponsored by Wiley  garnered almost two hundred responses from college and university presidents. Concerns centered around such topics as: near-term vs long-term issues, maintaining the mental and physical well-being of students and staff, continuing student engagement, instructing faculty in online teaching, and resumption of in-person classes.

A lot of data is presented in fourteen pages.

4-27-20 Update: A new survey of an additional 178 college and university presidents has just been released.

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How New Jersey College Admissions Processes Have Changed in Light of COVID -19

How are New Jersey colleges navigating the uncertain waters of college admissions/campus tours/open houses during this time of stay-at-home orders and suggested travel restrictions? This NJ Spotlight piece sheds some light on what measures colleges are employing.

Many usefully relevant resources can be found at the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

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Tips for Online Teaching

The American Historical Association has published articles that introduce the world of online teaching, offering practical guidance as well as  pertinent examples of what can be accomplished in the virtual environment. Links abound leading you to additional resources.

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Free Resources for K-12 Schools During the COVID-19 Crisis

Many educational tools, software, videos, texts are now freely available.

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Publishers Providing Free Access to Their Materials During COVID-19 Crisis

Publishers and aggregators are unlocking their previously subscription-based sites and making them accessible to all. Here is an initial listing of what is now available.

Additional sites include:

The American Psychologicaren l Association is allowing access to its publications manuals and other resources.

Audible is making selected works, primarily aimed at children, freely available as long as schools are closed.

Booklist is now freely open.

EBSCO is allowing upgrades to numerous ebooks from single user to multiple concurrent users.

The Internet Archive presents the National Emergency Library containing over one million volumes freely available without waitlisting. These are primarily books with U.S. imprints for the 20th century.

JoVE, a database containing thousands of science videos, is now open.

JSTOR, while having an open access subset of materials, is in the process of expanding these offerings.

Library Journal offers free access to its content.

LibraryThing is now free!

Project Muse is opening up its offerings during this crisis.

RedShelf is offering up to seven free eBooks (really textbooks) from such major publishers as McGraw-Hill, Taylor and Francis, and Routledge.

Vital Source is providing hundreds of etexts for both students and faculty; NJCU is a participating institution.

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What Are College/University Presidents Thinking About?

Obviously a lot, according to the 2020 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Presidents.

Some of the concerns are apparent from the snapshot of findings:

■ Sixty-nine percent of college presidents are confident their institution will be financially stable over the next five years, a new high in the Inside Higher Ed survey. The 57 percent who are confident in their institution’s finances over the next 10 years ties last year’s percentage as the highest to date.
■ Nearly two-thirds of chief executives believe their college is better prepared to handle the next economic downturn than it was in 2008. Nevertheless, a majority says they are worried about the impact the next economic downturn will have on their institution.
■ Most presidents, 69 percent, strongly agree or agree their college needs to make fundamental changes to its business model, programming or other operations. Presidents at public and private, two-year and four-year colleges are about equally likely to express this view.
■ Presidents believe senior administrators and trustees understand the challenges their institution faces and the need to adapt. But by a 2-1 margin, they disagree rather than agree that faculty members do.
■ More presidents (54 percent) think their college has the right mindset to adapt to needed change than think it has the right tools and processes to do so (45 percent). Presidents at four-year public colleges are less likely than those at other types of colleges to think their college has the right mindset, as well as tools and processes,
to effect change.
■ One in six presidents say their college has had serious internal discussions in the past year about merging with another college. Twenty-nine percent of these presidents believe it is very or somewhat likely their college will merge with another within the next five years.
■ Three in 10 presidents say their campus’s leaders have had serious discussions about consolidating operations or programs with another college.
■ Presidents widely expect additional colleges to close or merge this year, with 72 percent predicting more than five colleges will close, 49 percent thinking more than five private colleges will merge and 19 percent saying more than five public colleges will merge.
■ Nine percent of presidents say they could see their own college closing or merging in the next five years. This is down from 14 percent a year ago. (7)

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All NJCU Classes to be Held Online Beginning March 16 Until March 30

Dear Members of the NJCU Community,

As we continue to monitor the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to update the NJCU community with the latest information.  To date, NJCU has not identified any presumptive or confirmed cases of the virus on campus.  While that is good news, the University has elected to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to practice social distancing as a means of curtailing the spread of this virus.  Many universities across the country are following these same measures.

In order to ensure the health and well-being of our community, at the conclusion of the current week of Spring Break for students and faculty, all instruction at NJCU will be moved to online delivery beginning Monday, March 16.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, classes will resume in a face-to-face setting on Monday, March 30.

The Office of the Provost, the Department of Online Learning, and leadership in the Schools and departments are in the process of finalizing details for implementing online instruction.  Specific information for students and faculty will be forthcoming shortly.



Sue Henderson, Ph.D.


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Updated List of School Closings in New York and New Jersey Due to COVID-19

The New York Times is maintaining an updated list here; another listing of school closures is here.

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Colleges and COVID-19

This informative article highlights actions institutions of higher education are taking and contemplating; while this article is a couple of days old, it does focus on what New Jersey colleges are doing. Guidance for interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is provided by the U.S. Department of Education, and the CDC has issued its own interim guidance for higher education (continuously updated). This NPR piece – 6 Ways Universities Are Responding to Coronavirus should also be perused.

The IIE has just issued COVID-19 Effects on US Higher Education Campuses focusing on student mobility to and from China.

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NJ Department of Health COVID-19 Guidelines for Colleges

This recent document is worth the read.

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