Most people know I have a daughter in college, because I weave my pride for my kiddo into every conversation with friends, colleagues and—as Erin Hennessy can attest—even Uber drivers. These days I can’t help but think as a consultant and as the parent of a college student when working on fall plans with our clients. I spend quite a bit of time imagining how families, like mine, are talking about sending their students back to campus while COVID-19 spreads across the country. It’s a tough conversation. Many of my family’s discussions are delicate dances around our daughter’s desire to return to the campus she remembers and our noting the carefully crafted words her institution is using to describe the anticipated experience this August.
Over the past few weeks we have heard a growing number of presidents and cabinets wonder if they made the right choice. Their doubts increase with each media account of student-athletes testing positive and the next briefing from their local and state health officials regarding testings and hospitalizations. In a piece for Inside Higher Ed, Erin and I note that it’s not too late to pivot to remote only education for the fall, but those communications must happen soon and must be rolled out well.
Let us know what you think of the piece. Or send me an email and share your thoughts about the difficult choices and conversations parents, students and communicators face.