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U of M president wants to delay campus openings by 2 weeks

MINNEAPOLIS — University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel wants to delay re-opening campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester for two weeks in the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks at other U.S. colleges.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Gabel announced her proposal Friday. The Board of Regents will consider it on Monday.

The plan comes on the heels of outbreaks at schools such as the University of North Carolina and Notre Dame. White House Coronavirus Task Force leader Dr. Deborah Birx has said colleges should be able to conduct 10,000 tests per day. Right now the University of Minnesota plans to test only students who are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone who has been infected.

“If the university’s best plan is that students aren’t going to go out and party, then I don’t think that’s a solid plan,” said Amy Ma, the Twin Cities campus’ student body president.

Classes begin Aug. 31 in Duluth and Sept. 8 at the other two campuses. Under Gabel’s plan, classes would start on time but would be delivered completely online. Dorms would be closed for the first two weeks of the semester, with housing and dining contracts prorated. Students would be allowed to cancel their housing contracts or defer them to spring.