If students are able to walk onto campuses in the fall, they might not recognize the universities they’ve enrolled in. Arenas and auditoriums may be converted into lecture halls, which would allow students to avoid cramped classrooms and spread out. Hotels could become dormitories so that students can have their own rooms and bathrooms with limited exposure to germs. Then there’s the question of sports—specifically, the multimillion-dollar college-football industry. “Talking to some of my colleagues who run big-time Division I programs, they’re really sweating this out, because those television revenues are big dollars,” LeBlanc, who also chairs the board of the American Council on Education, the nation’s largest higher-education coordinating body, told me. Clemson’s head football coach, Dabo Swinney, has been adamant that the school will be playing games in the fall. But even in that unlikely scenario, teams would likely play to empty stadiums…

LeBlanc, from Southern New Hampshire University, said he fields many calls from other school leaders asking how his institution conducts courses online. They rarely ask him about the other services that students learning online need, though; counseling, tutoring, and mental-health support are afterthoughts, he told me. The colleges and universities where students are most in need of these additional services may be the ones hardest hit financially by the crisis: Junior colleges, nonselective private colleges, and public regional universities. New Jersey state lawmakers, for example, have already announced that they will place 50 percent of the funding for state colleges in reserve until September 30, the end of the fiscal year.