Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, July 22

Pandemic pods: For those families trying to decide on options for the upcoming school year who might want to connect with other families to partner on managing childcare or schooling, there is a dedicated Facebook group for Sonoma County.

Home schooling: There seems to be a surge of interest in home schooling in Sonoma right now. Alyssa Conder has launched a Facebook page called Sonoma Valley Homeschool Alliance to help parents through the coming year. The group is both open to families who are just curious and to experienced homeschoolers.

History-making: The next president of the University of California system will be Dr. Michael Drake, 69, the first Black person in the role in the school system’s 152-year history. Drake was recently head of Ohio State University and he serves as chairman of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors. He replaces Janet Napolitano. The 10-campus UC system has 280,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff.

College students: The days of freshmen just being handed a water bottle and a T-shirt are over. When (if?) college students arrive on campus this fall they can expect to be provided with logo face masks or gators, refillable bottles of hand sanitizer, touch tools, thermometers and cleaning supplies. Students living in dorms can expect frequent temperature checks and a dorm set aside for students who need to quarantine. Many colleges are sending students a COVID test to take before they return to campus, negative results in hand. Read more at

Creative thinking: Rice University in Houston is building nine big new classrooms this summer, all of them outdoors. Five are open-sided circus tents that the university is buying, and another four are semi-permanent structures that workers are building in an open field near dorms, Kevin Kirby, Rice’s vice president for administration, told me. Students and professors will decorate the spaces with murals and video projections.

Hot with teens: Nuuly is a new clothing subscription service aimed at (well-off) teens and young adults. Subscribe and rent any six styles of your choosing, every month, for $88. Free shipping and you can cancel anytime.

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