Covid Cases Spike Across College Campuses
BY: Nicole Donelan
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities throughout the United States have grappled with the decision to bring students onto campus or continue fully remote learning. Over the summer, many universities decided to suspend their initial reopening plans after a surge of COVID-19 cases nationally.
But many others, such as the University of Notre Dame, have pressed forward with their plans to reopen. This past May, Notre Dame president Father Jenkins penned a guest opinion piece for the New York Times stressing the implementation of “extensive protocols for testing; contact tracing and quarantining; and preventive measures” in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. However, Notre Dame recently announced it was changing its “battle plan” after closing their campus for two weeks following a spike in cases. According to ABC News, the school plans to “[keep] undergraduates...out of classrooms until at least Sept. 2” and expand its COVID-19 testing capacity and conduct randomized tests of students.
Notre Dame’s seeming recovery from what could’ve been a devastating cluster is perhaps one of the more positive outcomes thus far. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has rapidly pivoted to remote learning after 11 dorm-related clusters of the virus were detected on campus and COVID-19 tests (as of August 24th) yielded a 31.3% positive rate. The high rates of infection led UNC Chapel Hill’s premier student newspaper to lambast the administration, claiming that they “chose to ignore” recommendations from public health officials and caused a “clusterf**k” on campus. Neighboring North Carolina State University has not fared much better, pushing students out of all on-campus housing after 21 COVID-19 clusters were detected at the university.
Perhaps the university that has come under fire the most for increasing cases is the University of Alabama, which has reported 531 cumulative cases on its Tuscaloosa campus. The university rolled out stricter regulations for on-campus and Greek housing after photos of crowded, maskless bid-day celebrations went viral. But the administration has been accused of covering up information related to the spread of the virus, specifically instructing professors to not tell students if one of their classmates became infected.
This is not nearly an exhaustive list of colleges currently struggling with rising COVID-19 cases this fall. Texas A&M, Texas Christian University, Baylor, Auburn, University of Central Florida, University of Miami, and many more have seen outbreaks exceeding 100 positive cases since reopening their campuses. A full list of cumulative COVID-19 cases on college campuses since the pandemic began has been compiled by the New York Times.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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