Colleges across the country have taken a variety of approaches to addressing student safety during the pandemic. Some institutions have already shut back down and shifted to remote learning after COVID-19 cases on campus have spiked. Thursday evening, the Washington Post published a piece on virus prevention efforts at colleges, and it raised the question of if those efforts will "get trashed by a few student parties." According to the piece, some college leaders have dropped by bars to hand out masks to students, while others have shut down parties or kicked out students for violating rules.

This hour, we talk with local students about the college experience during the pandemic. What's it like to live and learn on – or off – campus this semester? Our guests weigh in:

  • LaTivia McCowan, junior majoring in theater at the University of Rochester 
  • Hernan Sanchez Garcia, senior majoring in history and English at the University of Rochester 
  • Jared King, freshman majoring in game design at Finger Lakes Community College 
  • Emmarae Stein, senior majoring in communications and history at Nazareth College

We continue our series of conversations about reopening colleges and universities. Monday, the University of Alabama reported more than 560 coronavirus cases on its campuses after reopening last week. Other schools, including the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Notre Dame, switched to virtual classes just days after students returned in person. Local cases are lower than what we're seeing in some other states, but as reported by WXXI News last week, institutions like RIT and the University of Rochester have seen positive cases on campus.

This hour, we talk with presidents of SUNY colleges about their reopening plans. We discuss policies related to masking, testing, physical distancing, and more. Our guests:

Most colleges and universities are planning to welcome students back to campus in just a few weeks. The schools bring a range of approaches – from testing to quarantines to allowing for remote learning. There is no single handbook for running higher education during a pandemic, but most universities in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region believe they can do it with sufficient safety and planning.

So what are those plans? We hear the approach from four different institutions. Our guests:

Monroe Community College has announced its plans to resume on-campus operations for the fall semester. MCC will start resuming those activities in early August.

Officials say their plan for reopening has been approved by SUNY, and it covers the phased restart of on- campus operations, capacity of classrooms and other spaces and flexible teaching options as well as health and safety protocols.

The fall 2020 academic calendar remains the same; it runs from August 26 to December 16.

A. Sue Weisler/RIT

Local colleges and universities are cautiously optimistic about a fall campus reopening, although what that may look like is still up in the air.

Campuses emptied in March as the pandemic went into full swing, with schools switching to online learning and directing most students to go home. But as the state moves to slowly reopen portions of the economy this month, schools are looking ahead to the next academic year and most are preparing to reopen their campuses.


(AP) Members of the New York state Senate are taking a look at oversight of for-profit colleges.

The Senate's Standing Committee on Higher Education is scheduled to hold a public hearing Wednesday in Albany on the current level of regulations on for-profit colleges and trade schools with a focus on whether changes would better serve students.

Members of the legislature have pushed different proposals in recent years to increase regulations on the growing for-profit college industry to address student debt.