Colleges Are of Two Minds: Closed Classrooms and Open Stadiums

With college students returning — and football about to start — major schools are still struggling with what to do on the field and in the classroom.

TheUniversity of Notre Dame,Michigan State University and theUniversity of North Carolina are all pivoting to remote learning following spikes in Covid-19 cases on their campuses. But they’re less in step on football. The Fighting Irish are pressing ahead with their season, as is UNC, while Michigan State is calling it quits.

Meanwhile, theUniversity of Tennessee, Texas A&M University and theUniversity of Alabama, all members of the Southeastern Conference, said this week they’ll welcome fans to their stadiums, while limiting capacity to as little as 20%. They also plan to hold in-person classes.

“We’re anticipating somewhere around the 25% mark,”Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee’s athletic director and former head coach, said at apress conference with Governor Bill Lee. “We hope to be able to achieve that.”

Read more: UNC students saw failure of live classes before school did

Texas A&M announced that Kyle Field, one of the biggest stadiums in the country, would operate at reduced capacity, without saying how many people will be allowed to attend. Athletic DirectorRoss Bjork previously said heexpects the school to allow about half of the 110,000-seat stadium to be filled for games.

Alabama said it will limit capacity to 20% while requiring spectators to wear aface covering upon entering the stadium. Additionally, it’s moving tocontactless tickets and parking passes.

Earlier this month, the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferencespostponed their fall sports seasons due to the virus. The remaining Power Five conferences, which primarily play in the southern part of the country, elected to continue with their plans to play.

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