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College choice - reopen and risk virus spread or face financial ruin

By ITS Education Asia

Like many other businesses during these times of pandemic and lockdowns, universities and colleges are facing difficult decisions on how long to stay closed. The balance between keeping people safe from disease and financial survival is a difficult one as illustrated in this article from Politico.

USA Public colleges and universities face intense pressure to throw open classroom doors even as health officials warn of potential spikes in coronavirus cases come the fall.

College presidents and their boards have a seemingly impossible task: Protect school finances without putting student and faculty lives in danger. Colleges could be sued if schools reopen dorms and dining halls as a second wave of infections strikes. But financial woes in the billions loom if campuses stay shut, especially at small, historically black colleges.

Institutions could face potential lawsuits if they bring their students back to campus too soon and there is an outbreak, said James Keller, co-chairman of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr's higher education practice and K-12 schools practice.

Keller, who represents colleges and universities, said they’re in a “tough spot." While he would argue that the governors and mayors have some responsibility because of their guidance, Keller said: “Ultimately, are parents going to try to hold the school accountable if you bring people back and there's an outbreak in a dorm and 20 kids get sick? Yes.”

“I think the schools that reopen are absolutely at risk for claims — it's a pretty straightforward negligence claim or maybe even a fraud claim,” he said. “You represented your campus would be safe. Relying on that, I sent my child there, but it turns out it wasn't safe. I would envision, from my perspective, defending schools with all kinds of defenses.”

As illustrated in this article their appears to be no good answers to these questions being faced.  One wonders when children will be able to return to a normal education.



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