School is Back but with Coronavirus
As summer vacation rolls to an end, school has started once more for most people in America. Universities and colleges have been trying to figure out how to conduct the upcoming school year while still prioritizing the health of students.
Since the country has had a resurgence in coronavirus cases, most of the US has been desperately doing anything it could to slow the spread of the virus. The containment has been especially tough on college campuses. As of August 30, over 25,000 students and campus staff tested positive for coronavirus across at least 37 states, with a higher concentration in southern states.
The University of Alabama Struggles
Since instruction began in August, the University of Alabama has accumulated more than 1,300 confirmed cases. The University of Dayton moved instruction online for the past week due to high rates of confirmed cases on August 23 and 24.
There have been outbreaks at four sororities at Kansas State University confirmed by the university’s website and the Riley County Health Department. Philadelphia’s Temple University also suspended in-person classes for the past weeks after 103 students tested positive for the virus on campus.
Students suspended over violations of health at Providence College
Rhode Island’s Providence College spokesperson Steven Maurano told CNN 17 students had been put on “interim suspension” for violating policies the college had implemented to prevent the spread of the virus. This essentially meant the students would not be able to enter campus or their classes without first attending a hearing. Providence College’s president Fr. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P. issued a statement saying, “I am deeply disappointed by the selfish behavior of these students who defiantly chose to ignore our COVID-19 Code of Conduct.” He also said, “While I find no joy in having to endorse such strong sanctions, I know they are necessary if we are going to have a successful fall semester.”
University of South Carolina Has High Coronavirus Rates
The University of South Carolina is another coronavirus hotspot where the university tested 1,026 positive coronavirus cases out of the entire student body of 35,000 on September 2. The university tested a positivity rate of 23.6 percent among the students and faculty during this week.
The university is now cracking down on parties. 15 students had been placed under interim suspension and 6 Greek organizations were charged with student conduct violations for hosting parties. The school has also placed 3 Greek Village houses in quarantine after residents tested positive. The total Greek houses in quarantine is now 9 which is half of the schools fraternities and sororities.
Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said that as he was breaking up a massive pool party, one participant told him, “I can’t catch COVID. I’m immune to the stuff.” “Our total number of active cases is larger than we expected at this point, and some student behavior off-campus is both disappointing and unacceptable,” president of the university, Bob Caslen said. “We are confronting these realities and taking action.”
Indiana University Greek Organizations Put Under Quarantine
At Indiana University, 75 percent of the school’s Greek houses are under quarantine while officials request for all the Greek houses to be put under quarantine. Due to the almost 50 percent positivity rate for the coronavirus, officials said they “believe Greek houses are not safe given the pandemic conditions and the current spread of COVID-19.” Of the 40 fraternity and sorority houses, 30 are currently under quarantine according to a spokesperson from the university. The school has suspended 228 students for violating coronavirus health safety guidelines and also threatened to crack down on large gatherings of more than 10 people.
Iowa State and the University of Iowa have also experienced coronavirus outbreaks on their campuses.
Dr. Dauci’s Advice for Universities
Doctor Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has recommended that universities do not send students home due to the risks of furthering the spread of the virus. He told NBC’s Today Show, “It’s the worst thing you could do.” He added, “When you send them home,. Particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.”