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FILE - A student wearing full-body PPE due to the COVID-19 pandemic walks toward the Coventry University Library at the beginning of the new academic year, at Coventry University, in Coventry, central England, Sept. 23, 2020. VOA

Higher education did not escape the reaches of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. U.S. colleges and universities struggled with decisions in the spring to send students home, and then whether to open campuses in the fall, all with an eye to trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Students still feel adrift, and the financial impact on the industry has been significant.

The issues:

COVID-19 begins

In December 2019, international students celebrated the end of a semester’s hard work, with many flying homes for the winter holidays. A month later, they traveled back to their U.S. schools for the beginning of a new semester.

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Simultaneously, a new coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China, home to several universities. Institutions were locked down in China and thousands of international students ordered to stay indoors. But COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, spread throughout Asia, and the world.

As the virus spread quickly, students, their families, and the general population were unsure how to respond because of a lack of information, direction, and strategy across the world.

In the U.S., the first COVID-19 cases were detected in January 2020, but most schools were unsure how to respond until March when the first spike in cases occurred. With no national or unified plan in place, university officials reacted in varying measures.

Some schools sent students home. Thousands of university students celebrated the extension of spring break, many in throngs at the traditional beach and party venues. Many young people mingled with others and were dubbed super spreaders because they showed no symptoms even when infectious.

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U.S. universities canceled study abroad programs, affecting thousands of U.S. students. The state of New York sent a plane to fetch its students from around the world and quarantined them in dorms and hotels together upon arrival.

By mid-March, hundreds of thousands of international students returned to their home countries while others remained in the U.S. to shelter in place.

COVID-19 chaos

With little experience or preparation for a pandemic, universities quickly shifted to mostly online learning for the spring semester.

Thousands of international students who flew back to their home countries juggled differing time zones.

Protesters march opposing in-person classes at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Aug. 17, 2020. More of the state public universities are opening for the fall term. VOA

Many institutions instituted a pass/fail grading option to relieve pressure on students, some of whom found online learning overwhelming.

With the switch to online learning, students and parents pushed back on paying full price for fewer services. Some universities, such as Williams College in Massachusetts and Princeton University in New Jersey, announced tuition discounts, while others negotiated adjustments with students. Some continued to charge full price.

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Over the summer, most colleges and universities announced they would conduct some on-campus learning, but after reopening in the fall, COVID-19 cases spiked.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill saw 135 positive COVID-19 cases emerge after the first week of classes, which prompted them, and many other schools, to quickly revert to full remote learning.

As the end of the fall semester approached, most universities closed their campuses after the Thanksgiving break and switched to online courses. COVID-19 cases spiked after Thanksgiving, the most traveled time of year in the U.S., as U.S. health experts had warned.

“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” the Centers for Disease Control said, advising Americans to adhere to coronavirus protocols to limit the risk of spreading the disease.

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Among colleges and universities that were successful at keeping COVID-19 rates lower, frequent testing, vigilant monitoring, and keeping students together were cited as factors.

Other issues, such as a college admissions scandal and immigration visa changes, also roiled student life at U.S. colleges and universities. (VOA)


Photo by Pixabay

Upcoming medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh will be named after saints and sages

The new medical colleges being opened in Uttar Pradesh will be named after saints and sages.

The state government has issued an order naming four district hospitals that are being converted into medical colleges.

These district hospitals are in Bijnor, Fatehpur, Chandauli, and Siddharth Nagar.

The Bijnor medical college has been named after Mahatma Vidur, a philosopher during the Mahabharata era and uncle of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

The Chandauli medical college has been named after Baba Keenaram, said to be the founder of the Aghori sect.

The Siddharth Nagar district hospital will be called Madhav Prasad Tripathi Medical College after the BJP politician from the region. Tripathi, popularly known as Madhav Babu, was also the first Uttar Pradesh BJP chief. He was elected MP from Domariyaganj in 1977, besides being two times Jan Sangh MLA and also a member of the UP legislative council.

The Fatehpur hospital has been named Amar Shaheed Jodha Singh Ataiya Thakur Dariyawn Singh Medical College, after the freedom fighter of 1857.

It is said that he was among the first to use Guerrilla warfare against the British, as taught by freedom fighter Tatya Tope.

Meanwhile, according to official sources, the medical college in Deoria will be named after Maharishi Devraha Baba and the medical college of Ghazipur in the name of Maharishi Vishwamitra.

The medical college of Mirzapur will be in the name of Maa Vindhyavasini, the medical college of Pratapgarh in the name of Dr. Sonelal Patel and the medical college of Etah will be named after Veerangana Avantibai Lodhi. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Medical Colleges, Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, India, Politics

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Indian cricket team on the ground

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has picked India as the favourite to win the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Inzamam feels that the Virat Kohli-led India have a greater chance of winning the trophy as the conditions in the Gulf nations are similar to the subcontinent, which makes India the most dangerous side in the event, according to Inzamam.

"In any tournament, it cannot be said for certain that a particular team will win' It's all about how much chance do they have of winning it. In my opinion, India have a greater chance than any other team of winning this tournament, especially in conditions like these. They have experienced T20 players as well," said Inzamam on his YouTube channel.

He said more than the Indian batters, the bowlers have a lot of experience of playing in the conditions. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was played recently in UAE and most of the Indian bowlers did well in that leg.

Inzy heaped praises on the Men in Blue for the confident manner in which they chased the target against Australia on a challenging track without needing Kohli's batting prowess.

"India played their warm-up fixture against Australia rather comfortably. On subcontinent pitches like these, India are the most dangerous T20 side in the world. Even today, if we see the 155 runs they chased down, they did not even need Virat Kohli to do so," he added.

Though he did not pick any favourite, Inzamam termed the India-Pakistan clash in the Super 12 on October 24 as the 'final before the final' and said the team winning it will go into the remaining matches high on morale,

"The match between India and Pakistan in the Super 12s is the final before the final. No match will be hyped as much as this one. Even in the 2017 Champions Trophy, India and Pakistan started and finished the tournament by facing each other, and both the matches felt like finals. The team winning that match will have their morale boosted and will also have 50 percent of pressure released from them," Inzamam added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Pakistan, Sports, ICC T20 World Cup, UAE.

Photo by Diana Akhmetianova on Unsplash

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man in white crew neck t-shirt Moisturising the body in the morning sets your skin up to face countless irritants and environmental factors during the day. | Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

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