Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday held a call with 14 college and university leaders on the subject of “best practices to get students back to school in the fall,” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was joined on the call by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, according to a statement on the White House website.
The group discussed a Centers for Disease Control guidance document, updated in March, on how higher education institutions should prepare, plan and respond to the coronavirus.
One college leader on the call, Heather Wilson, University of Texas-El Paso president, told the El Paso Herald-Post that the main message from the group of university leaders was a desire to safely return to campuses this fall.
“These college and university leaders discussed possible options to re-open their campuses for students, faculty and staff safely and responsibly,” the statement said. “Many participants on the call discussed working groups they developed on campus to provide data-driven strategies for re-opening. Participants discussed the importance of opening and maintaining research labs to assist with COVID-19 research, testing and tracing.”
Pence indicated he wanted to stay in touch with the group of college leaders as planning continues, the El Paso Herald-Post said.
The college leaders who participated in the call in addition to Wilson were Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University; Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College; Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University; James E. Ryan, president of the University of Virginia; Fess St. John IV, chancellor of the University of Alabama System; W. Kent Fuchs, president of University of Florida; Rev. John Jenkins, president of University of Notre Dame; Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon University; Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University; Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of Stanford University; Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University; Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University; and William R. Harvey, president of Hampton University.