Taking college courses this fall will require patience, technological savvy and, especially, flexibility.

New York set a COVID-19 threshold for closing New York colleges and universities after thousands of students returned to classes this week, fueling new coronavirus cases and the potential for new outbreaks.

This will be the state of higher education in the age of the coronavirus.

Under the guidance laid out Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, any state college with 100 positive COVID-19 cases, or a number of cases equal to 5% of the college’s population of students and faculty — whichever is less — must close and return to remote learning for two weeks.

Students will be allowed to quarantine in their dorms, if necessary, Cuomo said. After two weeks, officials will re-evaluate reopening the campus with local health departments. A spike in positive coronavirus cases is expected with the increase in activity.

Even with the expectation of isolated spikes, or clusters, there is doubt about how long in-person classes will be held at colleges in the state.

“We should anticipate clusters when you have large groups of people — that’s what we’ve been seeing,” Cuomo said Thursday. “So be prepared for it. Get ahead of it. We expect it.”

We hope students who want to get back to the business of learning are prepared to shift gears at a moment’s notice in the event the state’s threshold is reached.

It falls to students familiar with the vagaries of the coronavirus, as the governor advises, to be ready for anything.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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