College outlines academic plans for an unusual fall semester

In the weeks preceding the College’s June 29 announcement of its plans to convene in person this fall, working groups and faculty worked to modify the College’s academic structure to best navigate a semester that presents unprecedented challenges for students and faculty alike. Still, as September grows closer, there are many unknowns about exactly what classes will look like.

College to distribute CARES Act funding to qualifying students

In mid-July, the College will disburse the first half of the $1.5 million in federal funds made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to students receiving financial aid who will be enrolled during the 2020-21 academic year. The funds are part of the $14 billion allocated to institutions of higher education in the act, which provides a total of over $2 trillion in economic relief and was signed into law on March 27. 

Several universities – including Harvard, Princeton and Yale – recently returned the funds after receiving criticism for accepting federal relief given their multi-billion-dollar endowments.

Eric Soskin ’99 nominated by Trump as Department of Transportation inspector general following president’s series of firings

In a press release issued by the Trump administration last Friday, President Donald J. Trump announced Eric Soskin ’99 as his nominee for inspector general of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The White House also made public that Howard Elliot would take over as the DOT’s acting inspector general until Soskin takes office, although the details of when this will be have not been released.

Spencer Art Show, online

The end of each semester typically brings members of the College community to Spencer Studio Art Building to see work produced by students in studio art classes. This semester’s move to remote learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak bars the art show from occurring as usual, but the pandemic has not stopped student-artists from producing a wealth of work and a desire to share it. We put out a call to studio art students asking them to submit some of their work, and received over 60 pieces from a variety of different courses.

Athletic Director Lisa Melendy discusses what athletics may look like post-COVID-19

Last week, the NCAA released guidelines for the re-opening of collegiate athletic programs, following the cancellation of the spring 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the College’s administration weighs potential on- and off-campus options for the coming fall semester, what Eph athletics could look like in a post-COVID-19 world remains unclear.

The pandemic in the Berkshires in three charts

In recent weeks, Berkshire County, like the rest of Massachusetts, has seen a continued increase in COVID-19 cases, according to the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH). The figures below show the current severity of the outbreak at the local and state levels. Map and bar graph data is courtesy of the Massachusetts DPH, and pie chart data is courtesy of Berkshire Health Systems. Both sites update their numbers daily; the figures for this article were most recently updated yesterday afternoon.