Undergraduates at the University of Minnesota-Duluth may start the school year with all classes be taught online only, based on a proposal by University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel.

According to StarTribune.com, Gabel is proposing that students move into campus dormitories at least two weeks later than expected and undergraduate classes be taught fully online for at least the first two weeks of the fall semester.

"As we watch our peers and process this recommendation from Dr. Birx, we know that our plan must continue to adapt," Gabel wrote to students. "Our mission means little if we place any member of our campus community in high-risk situations that could otherwise be mitigated."


This proposal would impact undergraduate students at UMD as well as the Twin Cities and Rochester campuses, which all have high or quickly rising COVID-19 cases.  Campuses with lower case counts, which are located in Crookston and Morris, were not included in the proposal.  The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Monday, August 24, to consider Gabel's proposal.

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StarTribune.com concludes the proposal likely stemmed from the recent outbreaks at colleges such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Notre Dame. It also follows guidance from White House Coronavirus Task Force leader Dr. Deborah Birx that colleges should have the capacity to conduct up to 10,000 tests per day.

The University of Minnesota currently only plans to test students who are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone infected.  This policy had already drawn the ire of the faculty of UMD's Swenson College of Science and Engineering, who were already prepared to move all classes online unless changes were made.

UMD is scheduled to start their school year on August 31.  If the new proposal is approved, classes would start on time, only they would all be taught online initially.  There would be limited exceptions.

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