The Covid College Crisis

Emma Heitzenroder, Staff Reporter

As the new school year has approached, colleges across the nation struggled with the difficult decision on whether or not to reopen. Those that choose to host students on college campuses have accepted the inevitable fact that cases of the virus will emerge. Therefore, many colleges, such as Bucknell University, Scranton University, and Columbia University, had to close only a few weeks into the school year, after a quick spread of COVID-19 on campus. Their solution to lowering the number of cases involved sending students back to their homes. Although this plan decreases the number of cases amongst the university, many see it as a reckless alternative.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, argues that colleges with coronavirus outbreaks should keep students on campus. In a September interview on NBC’s The Today Show, Dr. Fauci added that scientists may know about the safety of the vaccine by December, so do not send college students home if there is an outbreak on campus. According to Fauci, colleges should isolate students and contain coronavirus outbreaks on campus rather than send them home where the virus can spread. Evidence indicates that if students become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms than people of old age and severe health conditions. Dr. Fauci also informs us that death rates among students are much lower than among adults. This suggests that students are at less of a risk than others and it would be smarter to allow students to stay on campus rather than return home and risk spreading the disease to people of higher risk. Students remaining on campus will not only limit the exposure of the virus to other family members yet allow students to invest in education while continuing to follow safety precautions.

In my opinion, students should remain on campus during COVID, even if cases begin to increase. Since students are at a much lower risk than adults, I think that it would make more sense to quarantine students together at their universities, rather than send them home and expose them to their family members who are considered to be at a higher risk. Furthermore, students should continue to be extra cautious and remain committed to wearing a mask and social distancing while they are on campus. I believe that it is more convenient to limit the number of times students return home to their family, who may be considered higher risk. There are, however, plenty of digital tools available to help students stay in touch with their families, so that they can stay in touch. Due to the severe possibility of spreading the coronavirus to those of higher risk, college students should remain on campus during the school year.