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COVID-19: Universities Should Not Reopen in the Fall

Bringing students back is not confining them to the dorms.

by Eric Holdeman / June 29, 2020

I saw a recent segment on NBC Nightly News on University of Notre Dame’s plan to fully reopen amid pandemic.

It all sounds good, especially if universities functioned the same as prisons, but even prisons have been points of significant coronavirus outbreaks.

You can separate, deep clean, feed and mandate the wearing of masks in classrooms, etc. What happens before, and after class and off campus is what concerns me. For college campuses, it will be interesting to see the impacts of fraternities on the spread of COVID-19. 

Remember, we are dealing with a generation of "Me, My, I" young people who have not had to, as a generation (actually multiple generations) sacrifice personally for the good of all. It feels like World War II was the last time that happened. 

I acknowledge that not all who go off to college are privileged and come from wealth where mommy and daddy gave them everything. But, this is different. Giving up socialization, which is one of the main benefits of "going off to college" to young adults who are finally getting out of the house, is likely a bridge too far. 

We only have to look at the results for cities and states that opened up the bars to see that these locations became super-spreader locations. I expect the same later this fall when after about a month back in school, the cases will begin to spike. 

Finally, I acknowledge the severe financial constraints that schools are in. It all comes down to this, "What are your 'real' priorities? Student safety or the financial welfare of the institution?" 

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