The recommended sequencing of the reopening of colleges and universities would be as follows:
· Research programs and administrative functions will be able to open on the same timetable as the first wave of general business operations in the state, which is currently set for May 20.
· Next, early in the summer, workforce development programs in institutions such as community colleges may reopen. As part of their reactivation, they will welcome back those students who were unable to complete courses with lab, studio, clinical, or shop requirements for their degrees this spring.
· By mid-July, other nonresidential educational programs might be reopened if public health conditions continue to improve, and some institutions may want to resume graduate programs. A few summer programs involving undergraduate student in residential settings might be piloted.
· By the end of the summer in preparation for the fall semester, if prevailing health conditions make it possible, undergraduate residential institutions may reopen if they choose.
This sequencing is dependent upon several public health conditions that must be met. Some of these prerequisites include:
· The prevalence of the disease must be low enough to allow the safe resumption of campus operations;
· Institutions that will be housing students 24/7 must have access to enough COVID-19 tests so that entering students can be tested upon arrival, and those students testing positive must be immediately isolated; and
· An adequate capacity for contact tracing must be provided to the higher education institutions.
In order to reopen, each higher education institution would be required to file reopening plans with the Connecticut Department of Public health, detailing how they propose to:
· Repopulate the campus, likely in a phased way;
· Monitor health conditions to detect infection;
· Contain the spread of disease when detected; and
· Shut down the campus in the event it becomes necessary.
Approximately 190,000 students are enrolled in higher education institutions in the state, and they employ about 45,000 of residents. Most colleges and universities in Connecticut have not shut down their teaching during the spring semester, but rather have employed online methods to continue educating students.
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