Wednesday, March 25, 2020

In the News: college refund plans monitored; delay of local elections due to COVID-19

From the Milford Daily News, an article of interest for Franklin:

Monitoring of college refund plans amid coronavirus underway

"With many college students now learning remotely off-campus or while living with their families, refunding the room and board payments for those students while they’re away is going to be a “huge issue,” according to the House chair of the Higher Education Committee.

But, state Rep. Jeffrey Roy said, it’s not one where there’s necessarily an across-the-board solution.

The new online learning surge is one of the cascading effects flowing from the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s being driven by the fact that thousands of students were abruptly sent packing from campuses mid-semester.

Massachusetts is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, including the state’s 15 community colleges, which do not have on-campus housing, nine public universities and the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.

Dorm and meal payments are unique to each school, and campus officials will need to consider the needs of their student populations as well as their own budgetary dynamics as they make unprecedented decisions around whether and how to reimburse room and board for off-campus time."

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MA allows delay of local elections due to COVID-19

"Towns can postpone local elections this spring to help residents avoid the coronavirus, thanks to a law signed Monday night by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Spring is local election season for towns throughout Massachusetts, and town officials have been keeping a wary eye on the trajectory of the pandemic as the time to cast ballots – not typically an action associated with worldwide social distancing recommendations – looms closer.

Elections scheduled on or before May 30 may be postponed, according to a notice from the Secretary of State’s Office, and ballots printed with the original date may be used. Elections must be held by June 30.

Several voting rights activists praised the idea, but criticized the law for not going far enough."

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