• AASCU Webinar Includes Expert Input on COVID-19 Developments

    Approximately 80 AASCU members joined a presidents/chancellors-only webinar on June 2 about significant developments regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our institutions. 

    Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, gave his input on the status of the pandemic and what presidents should consider as they plan for a fall 2020 opening.

    Osterholm had concerns about the accuracy and frequency of testing if used in a general manner for the entire campus population. Institutions, however, should invest in making testing readily available for those who are experiencing symptoms that are suggestive of COVID-19, he said.

    “That’s what you want to really invest in, and make sure that every student, faculty member, staff member, administration official, everyone who has some contact with the university or college has access to immediate testing when/if/should they develop any symptoms,” Osterholm stated.

    There are a lot of uncertainties regarding the safety of in-person programs and sports, he said, and leadership needs to make decisions about “how safe is safe” and what risk measures are “doable.” If someone is infected in a small group, there will be transmission if there is shared air, he specified.

    For further information, he recommended these additional resources from CIDRAP:

    • Contact tracing study summary
    • CIDRAP Viewpoint series on key information regarding COVID-19, including different scenarios on how the pandemic may progress and smart testing methods

    Luis Maldonado, AASCU’s vice president for government relations and policy analysis, provided an update on COVID-19 policy, including difficulty in distributing Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, the content of the House’s Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, and how AASCU is incentivizing governors and federal and state legislators to prioritize higher education in COVID-19 support and liability protection. AASCU President Mildred García facilitated the discussion.

    View a recording of the webinar on AASCU's Member Portal.