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College presidents discuss COVID 19 impact on fall reopening

August 28, 2020   /   by Preston Williams

U.S. colleges and universities in the coming years will lead the reeducation of a workforce displaced by COVID-19, George Mason University President Gregory Washington said recently in a Chronicle of Higher Education webinar.

“COVID is the issue, but the secondary issue is one of social power and economic power,” said Washington, one of three college presidents on the panel. “A year from now, that will be the discussion because there will be hundreds of thousands to millions of people displaced whose jobs and job categories will totally change as a result of this virus.

“How do academic institutions play a role in helping these people get back on their feet and upskilling, reskilling, retraining, reeducating? So for that additional reason, we have to figure out ways in which we can operate and come back and be stronger…. Because we are not structured to operate as we are operating. It is just not a sustainable notion.”

View the discussion, "Town-Gown and COVID: Answering to the Whole Community," here (required free registration). Dr. Washington’s remarks are at 15:40, 28:28, 41:15 and 54:07.