Very difficult situation. Thanks for raising it Patrick – I had not thought of this before and it raises some interesting questions. For student learning, inflexibility of modality is worse. For students’ ability to pay for college, overreporting distance courses is worse. Both can affect student persistence.
A compromise could be to take attendance during the course and report the course as in-person for those who attended a certain percentage of classes, and online for those who did not. Laborious bean-counting for institutions, but probably the most beneficial for the students.
Really though, I wonder how financial aid and accreditation organizations define in-person courses currently? I would bet that “in-person” is not a clearly defined term. For example, I am sure it is quite possible for a student to miss a majority of classes in some regular single-modality in-person classes and still pass the course.