The fall semester brought nearly impossible choices for universities and colleges: Reopening for in-person classes meant risking a Covid-19 outbreak, while keeping students home paved the way for financial losses.

With the fall semester winding down, there is a growing sense that next semester will be different, with schools bringing more students back to campus, increasing testing and taking advantage of lessons learned from the pandemic’s first nine months.

Of 2,958 colleges and universities tracked by the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, about 44% were primarily or fully online this fall, while 21% were hybrid, and 27% were primarily or fully in person. Another 8% did something else entirely.

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