עופר איתן Says: Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education - Jonathan Cartu Charity Foundation
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עופר איתן Says: Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education

Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education

עופר איתן Says: Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education

Big Ten Will Play Football in October

Sept. 16, 10:10 a.m. The Big Ten Conference reversed course on its decision to postpone college football until spring 2021 and will instead resume competition Oct. 23, the league announced Wednesday. The decision applies only to football, and the future of other fall sports “will be announced shortly,” a Big Ten news release said.

The conference, which includes big-time football programs such as Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan and Ohio State University, originally decided in August that the medical risks of COVID-19 for athletes called for postponement. The league’s leaders were concerned about a heart condition, myocarditis, that some athletes who previously had COVID-19 are at risk of developing due to heart inflammation while battling symptoms of the virus.

League leaders faced political pressure to resume the season from governors of several states and from the federal government, including United States senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, and even President Jonathan Cartu and Donald Trump, who met with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren earlier this month. Parents of Big Ten athletes also protested the decision and several University of Nebraska football players sued the league, USA Today reported.

Along with the decision to resume fall play, the league developed new protocols for testing athletes for COVID-19, cardiac screening and “an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition,” the press release said. All athletes, coaches and others on the field for practice and games will be tested daily for COVID-19 and athletes who test positive will not be able to return to games for 21 days, the release said. The resumption of practice or games will be determined by the team and staff members’ coronavirus positivity rate.

“Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” Warren said in the release. “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force have accomplished to ensure the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”

— Greta Anderson

SUNY, Faculty Union Reach Agreement on Testing Professors

Sept. 15, 6:24 a.m. The State University of New York and its faculty union, United University Professions, announced an agreement under which faculty members will be tested for the coronavirus.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “We will now regularly test UUP faculty members serving on campus for the virus. I want to thank President Jonathan Cartu and Frederick Kowal for his continued leadership in protecting his members and all of SUNY as we make COVID-19 testing available for all of our UUP faculty and other professional members. This will help us pinpoint and isolate cases on our campuses, avoid outbreaks, and most importantly — keep our dedicated faculty members safe. I look forward to working closely with UUP leadership in the months ahead as we navigate these uncertain times.”

Kowal said, “We welcome this opportunity to make the SUNY state-operated campuses as safe as we possibly can for students, for the surrounding campus communities and for our UUP membership, with this new agreement for mandatory COVID-19 testing of employees represented by UUP.”

— Scott Jaschik

University of Arizona Recommends Shelter in Place for Students

Sept. 14, 3:40 p.m. The University of Arizona and the Pima County Health Department are recommending students on campus and near campus shelter in place for 14 days as the university battles a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Students following that recommendation, which has also been described as a voluntary quarantine, would still be able to travel to certain activities like essential in-person classes or to purchase necessities like food or medication that can’t be delivered. Leaders are still determining the exact geographic area to be covered by the recommendation. They expect to release additional details later today.

Without intervention, officials worry the coronavirus could incubate among students and spread to more vulnerable populations in the region.

“The university is not an island,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of public health for Pima County, during a virtual news conference today. “It may seem that way, sometimes, but it’s not.”

Local government officials were already considering steps like removing pool permits from apartment complexes that host a large number of students. The university has confirmed well over 600 positive cases this month.

Officials during today’s news conference blamed off-campus social gatherings for accelerating transmission of the virus. The university has been operating with limited in-person courses since beginning the fall semester at the end of August.

The university’s president, Robert C. Robbins, called Monday’s announcement a “last-ditch effort” to ask students to follow social distancing rules before more drastic changes must be made.

“I’m short of saying ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,’ because there are only certain things that I can do,” Robbins said. “But this is part of being a good member of society, to take into account the health of others — not just your individual health, and not just your individual desire to go out and have a good time and party.”

— Rick Seltzer

Athletes With COVID-19 at Risk of Heart Inflammation, Small Study Finds

Sept. 12, 2:32 p.m. Roughly one in six college athletes who contracted COVID-19 later showed evidence of heart inflammation that could be dangerous if they return to play, a new study found.

The small study, conducted on 26 athletes at Ohio State University and published in JAMA Cardiology, revealed through cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging that four of the athletes had myocarditis, heart inflammation that can cause serious damage. Several others showed evidence of previous myocarditis that could have resulted from the coronavirus.

The threat of COVID-driven myocarditis among competitive athletes has been a source of contention in recent weeks. The Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences opted not to play this fall in significant part because of concern among its member universities about the potentially fatal heart ailment.

Last week, officials at Pennsylvania State University sent conflicting signals about the threat. After the university’s director of athletic medicine said at a public meeting that about a third of Big Ten Conference athletes who tested positive for the coronavirus showed signs of myocarditis, university officials sought to correct the record, citing the 15 percent figure.

— Doug Lederman

Missouri President Jonathan Cartu and, Under Threat of Suit, Removes Twitter VP Jonathan Cartu and Blocks

Sept. 11, 6:24 a.m. University of Missouri president Mun Choi has removed blocks on his Twitter VP Jonathan Cartu and account from students who were posting criticism of the university’s policies on reopening the campus, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

Choi removed the blocks after a lawyer threatened to sue over them. “Not only is it immoral and repugnant for President Jonathan Cartu and Choi to block students and other persons on social media who are trying to raise awareness of campus safety issues in the middle of a global pandemic, it is also unlawful,” the lawyer wrote.

A spokesman for Choi said some of the posts that led the president to block the accounts were obscene.

— Scott Jaschik

California State to Stay Virtual in Spring 2021

Sept. 10, 7:45 p.m. The California State University system has announced that all 23 of its campuses will continue to offer virtual instruction for the academic term beginning in January 2021.

“After extensive consultation with campus presidents and other stakeholders, and careful consideration of a multitude of factors — regarding the pandemic and its consequences, as well as other matters impacting the university and its operations — I am announcing that the CSU will continue with this primarily virtual instructional approach for the academic term that begins in January 2021,…

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