In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- UMass slashes on-campus population
With the continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, the University of Massachusetts is cutting the number of students who will be living on campus during the fall semester. In an email to students, faculty and staff sent Thursday night, UMass Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced that the campus population would be reduced due to “the worsening conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic nationally.”
When a reopening plan was announced two months ago, 7,000 students were expected to live on campus, or 50% to 60% of normal. UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski said Friday that only about 740 students will have dorm rooms. Only 600 or so students remained on campus following the mid-March shutdown of UMass.
- Princeton goes fully remote for fall semester
Princeton University reversed its plan to bring some of its students back on campus for the next term, saying undergraduate classes won’t be held in person because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision means undergraduates from the classes of 2022 and 2024 will not come to campus in late August as previously planned, the school said.
“In light of the diminished benefits and increased risks currently associated with residential education amid New Jersey’s battle against the pandemic, we have decided that our undergraduate program should be fully remote in the fall semester of 2020,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in a letter to the university community.
- A fifth of first year students at Harvard are deferring
According to an email sent by Harvard, 340 first-year students have chosen to defer. Using estimates from Harvard’s reported class of 2023—which counted 1,650 matriculates—this means that roughly 20% of first-year students have deferred from the top-ranked university in the country. Harvard had also anticipated 40% of their undergraduate population choosing to live on campus; they now expect only 25% based on the number of students who have accepted the invitation to do so. If these are the numbers for Harvard, it’s going to be a wild roller-coaster ride for higher education this year.
A number of student surveys from this spring and summer have pointed to potentially catastrophic drops in college enrollments this fall—some predicting by as much as 20%. Those projections from as early as April look as though they could be quite accurate if the Harvard example plays out for others. Most prognosticators suggested the top-ranked universities wouldn’t be as negatively impacted as the rest of higher education. With Harvard’s latest report, that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.
- School forced to shut down due to a COVID-positive case in the cafeteria
Just two days into their school year, Kingston Public Schools in Oklahoma are temporarily moving to online-only learning due to a positive case of COVID-19 in the cafeteria. Superintendent Brian Baster says the need to quarantine all child nutrition staff means food cannot be served at the schools, so they made the decision to move all classes online.
- School outfits cafeteria with desks spaced six feet apart
Rombout Middle School in Beacon, N.Y., has shared a photo to Instagram of how they’ll be adhering to coronavirus safety guidelines in the cafeteria, which is to replace traditional cafeteria tables with individual desks spaced six feet apart. “This is one example of the measures we are taking to promote social distancing at school in the fall. Lunch will look very different this year in the RMS cafeteria but the safety of our students and staff is the top priority,” the school wrote, noting, “Aside from the seating arrangements and some new protocols, a student’s lunch period will be normal and we will still have recess!”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]