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Spring 2021 to be mostly online, again

As federal regulators rush to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use by the end of the week, colleges and universities around the country plan for an unusual spring semester — with online classes, virtual commencements and strict health guidelines. It could take several months for the vaccine to be widely available, and with many college classes resuming in January, plans for the upcoming semester look remarkably similar to those laid out in fall 2020. While some institutions are inviting undergraduates back to live on campus in January after being largely virtual in the fall, others have announced they will make minimal changes in their COVID-19 plans from fall to spring. Betsy Foresman has the story.

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ASU to offer winter courses for everyone

Arizona State University will offer free online classes — more than 200 of them — to students, professors and the public over its winter break, which begins next week. The virtual programming, which will make up ASU’s “Innovation Quarter,” aims to keep students engaged over the holidays with courses on social justice, resume building and cookie decorating. In addition to providing additional online education opportunities, the university is also using the program as a marketing tool to showcase the university to the general public. Betsy has the details.

Cyberattacks against K-12 schools growing more aggressive, CISA warns

More than half of all ransomware attacks against state and local government entities reported over the past few months have targeted K-12 school systems, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Thursday in an alert released in conjunction with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. According to the advisory, 57% of ransomware incidents reported to the MS-ISAC in August and September — when new academic years began — affected school districts, compared to 28% in the first seven months of the year. And ransomware events against schools have continued to tick up since September. Benjamin Freed has the story on StateScoop.

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