A single student walks on the UCLA campus. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

As colleges look to adjust to a lasting pandemic, they'll need to find new ways to service students in person and offline.

Why it matters: Colleges were forced to suddenly switch to online learning when COVID-19 struck and are now focusing on figuring out how to reopen safely. But the realities of the pandemic will demand an innovative mix of distance services and physical transformation.

What's new: Gensler, the world's biggest architectural firm, recently put out a series of guidelines for college reopening that are the result of more than 400 conversations with administrators, students and experts around the country.

  • The scale of what needs to be done can't be underestimated. "A university might be the most complex organization to reopen, on par with a city," says David Broz, principal at Gensler. "It has housing, it has food, it has retail, it has large assembly spaces and sports. And it's a 24/7 environment."

Details: Those schools that aim to physically reopen to students in the fall will need to design housing, classrooms, and more in a way that limits total capacity and supports physical distancing.

  • That includes prioritizing single-occupancy housing — which may require contracting with nearby hotels for additional space — and potentially keeping students in common pods to reduce their number of contacts.

The catch: Besides the challenge of getting teens and 20-somethings to follow social distancing rules — which is apparently not working too well in the real world — successfully implementing them would fundamentally change the college experience.

  • Being kept in small groups "is like high school or grade school," says Broz. "You go to a university for a more diverse experience."
  • Partially as a result, colleges need to continue to add to online learning options.

Yes, but: Colleges will be hard-pressed to find the money to transform their campuses and improve online learning, as this Wall Street Journal story notes.

Go deeper: Coronavirus sends American universities over a cliff

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 11,137,846 — Total deaths: 526,156 — Total recoveries — 6,003,824Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 2,809,108 — Total deaths: 129,509 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. has reached new highs in single-day coronavirus infections for three consecutive days this week, per data from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Colorado police chief fires officers who reenacted Elijah McClain's death

LaWayne Mosley, father of Elijah McClain, wears a t-shirt with is son's picture on it during a press conference in Oct. 2019. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNewsGroup/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Interim Aurora, Colo., police chief Vanessa Wilson fired two officers for reenacting the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain and a third officer for commenting on the photo that captured the "despicable act," The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: McClain died in the summer of 2019 after police officers held him in a chokehold and paramedics used a sedative, ketamine. People have been protesting McClain's death recently after the police killing of George Floyd revitalized the movement against police brutality.