RALEIGH, N.C. – Historically Black colleges and universities, HBCUs, could be disproportionately impacted during the pandemic because the coronavirus is impacting people of color more.
Shaw University and St. Augustine's University in Raleigh kicked off the school year starting classes on August 12. Livingstone College, typically also starting school around this time, has pushed back the first day of classes to September 10 to be able to study student trends.
All schools are keeping an eye on student enrollment.
According to a 2019 report from American Council on Education, private HBCUs are more slightly dependent on tuition funds than non-HBCUs.
So, enrollment numbers during a pandemic could be vital.
"[The pandemic] is impacting the African American community and other communities of color in a disproportionate manner, much more severely than it is other communities. Although, it's impacting all of us," says St. Augustine's President Dr. Irving McPhail. "So, yeah, I'm expecting that there will be some impacts that would have come consequence with students returning, but so far it looks like we're on track to reach our enrollment target."
McPhail says, unlike most predominantly white institutions, St. Augustine's traditionally continues to get students enrolled through October.
Distancing in classrooms, hybrid learning, longer dining hall hours, requiring masks, sanitation stations, and temperature-checking systems are just some of the things being implemented to make these three campuses safer.
Above all, school leadership said they are concerned with keeping their students as safe as possible.