Coronavirus News Roundup, March 26

Everything you need to know about higher ed and the coronavirus for Thursday in one easy-to-read package.

March 26, 2020
 
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We're almost to the weekend. A stimulus package is making its way through Congress. Colleges are gathering up laptops to give to students so they can continue to learn online. The number of cases of coronavirus in the States continues to rise, but some local and state governments are taking actions to curtail the spread.

Let's take a break before diving into the news.

This is Lieutenant Dan, a two-legged puppy from Ohio who is the new mascot for Cadbury, maker of the infamous Cadbury creme egg.

Love is still going in the time of coronavirus. Two women tied the knot in New York City, with a friend officiating from a window and others cheering from cars, to ensure they'd both have health insurance if one of them lost their job, according to this story from The Cut. Ah, romance.

All right, let’s get to the news.

The Senate's proposed stimulus bill includes a tax break for student loan payments made by employers. Experts have said a tax break could expand those programs.

S&P Global Ratings is giving a negative outlook to private student housing projects, in addition to higher education over all. Reasons include generally stressful business conditions, as well as broader challenges colleges are facing. Social distancing and college students being sent home from campuses won't help the industry much, either.

Speaking of housing, the University of Maine system estimates its room and board refunds will cost nearly $13 million.

Dozens of professors have signed a letter calling on Congress to help people, not big businesses. Several talked about the dire situation we face in a virtual press conference.

Betsy DeVos, the U.S. education secretary, announced the department will stop involuntary collections of late student loan payments.

Here’s a quick roundup of our latest stories, in case you’ve fallen a bit behind (we don’t blame you):

Emma Whitford has a story on how college leaders are tackling the crisis, one step at a time.

I wrote about the implications on students' privacy due to the quick switch to online learning.

Doug Lederman talked with experts about how the sudden move to remote learning will affect the well-being of professors and students.

News From Elsewhere

What won't be happening because of the coronavirus? The Chronicle of Higher Education tallies the cancellations at one private university.

EdSurge asks whether the coronavirus will inspire another MOOC moment.

If you're wondering what's up with summer courses, U.S. News & World Report posed that question to some universities.

Percolating Thoughts

This is a time when everyone has an opinion. As journalists, we try not to have opinions, but we've gathered some interesting ones from others.

"Confessions of a Community College Dean" ponders how "rain checks" will work in higher ed during this time of uncertainty.

How can colleges help faculty right now? A professor at Albion College has some ideas.

A senior fellow from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center argues that the proposed tax break for employers who help pay off student loans will help those who need it least.


Have any percolating thoughts or notice any from others? Feel free to send them our way or comment below.

We’ll continue bringing you the news you need in this crazy time. Keep sending us your questions and story ideas. We’ll get through this together.

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