Howard University Wayne A.I. Frederick speaks during a virtual commencement ceremony for the 2020 graduating class on May 9.
Howard University Wayne A.I. Frederick speaks during a virtual commencement ceremony for the 2020 graduating class on May 9.

No one seems to know what the fall will bring for students in the nation’s thousands of colleges and universities given the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

But it’s certainly a topic that remains at the top of a list of uncertainties with some schools only a month away from their previously-planned dates for kicking off the fall 2020 semester.

As the president of Howard University, Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick recently shared in his message broadcast on the University’s television station, WHUT-TV, “there are risks being an urban campus and we take the responsibility of bringing students to campus very seriously … but if they don’t social distance, if they don’t wash their hands frequently, if they don’t wear their masks, then those are risks that we are not going to be able to combat.”

Frederick’s concerns mirror those held by most university presidents who continue to work toward an amicable solution that allows school to reconvene while keeping students, staff and others as safe as possible.

Further, as Frederick also notes, “the disproportionate impact this [COVID-19] has had on African Americans is something that our community needs to take seriously … Howard’s Black Lives Matter and they should be of paramount significance in our thoughts.”

What remains apparent is that the plans for fall re-opening and how higher education will adjust to the coronavirus must be developed with extreme caution and the input of everyone involved.

School bells may be ringing soon but this fall will be unlike any other our nation, if not the world, have ever faced. However, we believe in the creativity and steadfast resolve of educators, Black and otherwise, who realize the importance of today’s youth young adults obtaining a quality education which will adequately prepare them to enter the job market in their roles as the doctors, lawyers, teachers, preachers, business owners and politicians of tomorrow.

If our ancestors were able to maneuver their way through the maze of racial inequity and discrimination, then surely those who stand on their shoulders will be able to do the same.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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