ACE Engage Webinar and Discussion Group to Explore “Recovery 2020” Issues
May 18, 2020

Congress, administration officials weigh in on reopening colleges, schools this fall

College and university leaders are conducting exhaustive planning to determine what the fall will hold for their campuses in the wake of the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovery will no doubt look different for various institutions, and there are no easy decisions.

To that end, ACE has developed an outline synthesized from information collected from the ACE Board of Directors, public health experts, association colleagues, and policy makers. We hope that “Recovery 2020: Key Questions and Principles for Campus Leaders," which will be updated regularly, will assist campus teams in planning and decision-making.

For an in-depth conversation about Recovery 2020 issues, higher education professionals can register for a May 29 webinar on ACE Engage® where ACE President Ted Mitchell will moderate a conversation with Joshua Kim of Dartmouth's Center for the Advancement of Learning and Eddie Maloney of Georgetown's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, the co-authors of “15 Fall Scenarios" in Inside Higher Ed.

In addition, a Recovery 2020 Engage Discussion Group, chaired by Tulane University President Emeritus Scott Cowen, is being launched. Campus professionals can meet there to collaborate about the complex issues involved with how to best return to in-person campus settings and activities, and learn from each other in the coming weeks and months.

As Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University and chair of the ACE Board of Directors, wrote in a Forbes op-ed, after meeting the challenge of figuring out how to implement fast, accurate and affordable testing, the “really hard work just begins," noting ACE's work on the Recovery 2020 document and guidelines issued by the American College Health Association.

Later this week, ACE will release the second of 12 monthly Pulse Point surveys of college and university presidents on COVID-19, which features several questions on plans for the fall. Click here to see the April survey.

Also on Engage: Attend the May edition of the monthly Public Policy Pop-up May 19 at 3 p.m. ET, in which ACE's government relations experts Terry Hartle and Jon Fansmith will examine the latest COVID-19 legislation and look ahead to considerations institutions face as they plan for the fall semester. On May 21, 4 p.m. ET, join a webinar on “Promoting Civic Engagement and Democracy in a Global Pandemic," and hear about the opportunity to participate in a Community of Practice on the topic. Catch up on the key provisions and takeaways of the new Title IX campus sexual assault final rule by watching a recording of ACE's May 11 webinar here.

Congress, Trump Administration Weigh In

At a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, the nation's leading health officials warned that we face “dire consequences"—including for higher education—if the economy is reopened too soon. Among the witnesses testifying on the “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School" hearing were Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both of whom discussed the fact that we still lack critical testing capacity and the ability to trace the contacts of those infected.

Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) opened the hearing by asking how a university president or chancellor could persuade parents and students to return to campus. Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the United States will be able to conduct 40 to 50 million tests per month by the fall, which should be adequate for schools to develop a testing strategy to screen students. For his part, Alexander has said he believes current testing capacity remains inadequate for reopening large college and university campuses for in-person instruction.

President Trump said on Wednesday that he disagrees with Fauci's remarks to the HELP committee, and that warning against reopening too quickly is “not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools."

A group of college and university presidents met with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, on May 13 to discuss best practices for reopening. In tandem with that meeting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guidance document that outlines the best course of action for the fall.

Register for Recovery 2020: Scenarios for the Fall and Beyond

ACE Engage webinar
May 29, 2020, 2:30-3:30 p.m. EDT


​Recovery 2020: Key Questions and Principles for Campus Leaders

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