Opening Up? Taking a Look at Fall Reopening Decisions at HBCUs

In the age of COVID-19, starting the new fall semester will be like no other for the nation’s colleges and universities. In this roundup, we highlight plans that some historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) have cautiously devised to bring their students back to campus, teach them virtually or do a mixture of both — all during a relentless pandemic in the United States.

Since COVID-19 forced schools to shutter in March, HBCU campus leaders said they’ve faced difficult decisions and had to make some unpopular ones as they prepared for an uncharted fall. Some have had to furlough or permanently shrink faculty and staff, and enrollment numbers have taken a pandemic-related hit. 

For those who are reopening their campuses this month, student and staff safety are paramount, especially since there still is no vaccine to protect against the coronavirus. At Xavier University of New Orleans (XULA), in-person classes begin this month. But as students return to the Catholic university and to a city considered a pandemic hotspot, Dr. C. Reynold Verret, Xavier’s president, is clear about what he can do to keep them safe.

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