June 25, 2020

Boston NPR: Challenges Ahead for Small Colleges Trying to Reopen Amidst Pandemic

Our Lynne Deninger contributes to a new segment from WBUR: Boston’s NPR affiliate on the unique and daunting challenges small colleges face as they try to reopen amidst the pandemic.

Lynne shares “the financial impact on an institution to reopen is actually fairly significant,” be it through capital-intensive long-term challenges or even temporary changes around cleaning, testing, and reprogramming space.

The NPR piece shares insight from leaders at Elms College and Ana Maria College while focusing heavily on new strategies to house students, semester schedule changes, class sizes, budgets, COVID-19 testing and more. Elms College President Harry Dumay opens the piece by acknowledging, “It’s a tough time for all campuses, but particularly for smaller (institutions).”

Later in the interview, Lynne adds, “The financial impacts stem from the significant needs for PPE, cleaning, and safe turnover of spaces. Or, if you have to reduce the number of students in classrooms and teach additional sessions, that increases staffing demands. It’s going to lead to more virtual learning even if students are on campus.”

To help colleges and universities of all sizes with their reopening plans this fall, our education team has built a Returning to Campus mini-site. This living resource houses our latest ideas and knowledge on the topic and hopes to help institutions do all they can to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their students, faculty and staff in the months ahead.