Let’s spend the next few days asking questions about the future of Williams in the era of CV-19. (And, yes, I was sorely tempted to call this series “Wuhan Flu Questions,” but I resisted the trolling urge.) For each question, I want your thoughts on what will happen, what Williams will do, and what Williams should do.

Question 7: Will time-off policies change?

Williams might still be an online-only school in September.

If you were a rising senior, wouldn’t you take a gap year if you could not return to campus, especially if you were an athlete? And wouldn’t you be all the more likely to do so if all your friends were doing so? The snowball effects would be strong.

Solution? This is a harde problem! Williams does not have the threat of acceptance withdrawal to hang over the heads of current students, especially rising seniors. Maybe try to bribe them? Williams only costs X in 2020-2021, even if students are allowed to come back in January. How low would X have to be to ensure that most (80%? 95%?) students came back?

Of course, the demand for Williams spots is strong. We could take scores of transfer students. Or am I overestimating the number of students who would be interested in transferring to Williams if classes were still virtual in September? There might be very few interested in transferring for just a year. But would a (rich!) student (and her family!) be interested if she could transfer into Williams permanently? I bet that there are hundreds of students who were rejected from the classes of ’21 and ’22 who would consider that offer quite closely . . .

What do you predict will happen? What should Maud be doing now to prepare?

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