Colleges in the 2021-2022 Academic Year & Coronavirus (Part 2)

Awesome! Every day more and more continue to announce. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when. A school not yet announcing a mandate does not mean they won’t! Thanks for sharing!!

@gwnorth Great comments. One of my daughter’s schools tests 3x/week. If you’ve provided proof of full vaccination then you now only have to get tested 1x/week. I am waiting for the news that schools will require students to pay themsleves for increased testing if they are not vaccinated. I am also waiting for the day that insurance is going to say they will no longer pay for covid care if you don’t get the vaccine and get covid. I wonder how many people would run and get vaccinated just off of that? We are unfortunately hitting the crossroads to the point where supply is about to exceed demand and the holdouts. Some will never change their mind, but in the next few months we can only hope for the full FDA approval to move more over and the approval of the 12 and up population as that will get millions more in line for the vaccine.

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My apologies for insulting your family but that wasn’t the intent. You had posted that my kids should easily have been able to get a vaccine by traveling elsewhere but of course stores are ordered based on projected quantity - not sure that Kankakee was expecting a bunch of Chicago residents to troop down there and take spots LOL. In my state, you could NOT travel outside your designated area but had to wait your turn in your area. My kids were content to do the same.

You are correct that many on campus received the vaccine due to teaching responsibilities (including TA) and for volunteering at area vaccine centers. In fact, my D found about about the extra doses that were going unused in Englewood from UChicago students who were volunteering at that vaccine center. She might have been the last of her friends to start the vaccination process (that was her impression). My son, however, knows first and second year students who didn’t have those opportunities and they are very relieved now to be able to get the vaccine. People in Chicago just had to wait awhile. That’s the way it should be - let others who need it more get it first.

I would not be vaccinated before my parents even if offered the chance to. However, they were vaccinated very early on in their congregate care setting so it’s a moot point. They were actually the first in my extended family to receive the vaccine.

From wiki, a medical procedure is a course of action intended to achieve a result in the delivery of healthcare. Immunizations are included in the list. We must know different young people. As I mentioned already, most at UChicago seem happy and relieved that the vaccine is available. My kids don’t really hang around with others who do drugs or alcohol or other toxic substances. They are too busy with their academic work and other activities.

This is off topic. We don’t ask people to share their health information with us. But we are not discussing vaccine hesitancy anyway. Whether a vaccine is necessary isn’t the same thing as whether it’s generally worthwhile. Same with Covid deaths. We know of no one who has died but plenty who have gotten it (for those who wished to share that information with us). We’ve self-quarantined more times than I care to recall, and it was very scary in the beginning of the pandemic for everyone. But we can get over that trauma - things will work out OK. IMO it’s important not to allow personal trauma to color our views of the work and how we relate to others. However, that’s a very human thing to do.

Sure - btw I don’t believe it’s a question about safety for most - it is about relative efficacy. Not sure Dr. Fauci has commented on that by age group and state of underlying health. If you have something along those lines please share.

Um - totally off topic and a complete mis-represenation of what I was saying earlier. It’s very good news that the vaccine is here and I personally look forward to reviewing the longer term studies as they come in. If UChicago implements a mandate then we will all be able to read about it. As I said earlier, my son would have time in September to get vaccinated if that’s the case.

Many have allowed disaster-thinking to drive their reasons for doing this or that for the pandemic. Personally, I’m skeptical that works. Another strategy that might be ineffective is the “if only you all would do this then everything will return to normal.” Spoiler alert: that won’t happen for awhile. The stats for vaccination right now - the percentage who have received at least one dose, the lower rates of infection (despite some major change in behavior because Hurray! the Vaccine! Par-tay!!) promising and hopefully will get better. If the virus breaks through the vaccine . . . well, viruses do that sometimes. This is a nasty virus. Best to keep diligent and make sure you are following the protocols. We are all smarter than Covid!!

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not everyone can get the vaccine still, and not everyone will not have medical issues to prevent full vaccination. I have a friend that had a very bad reaction to her first shot, (pfizer) and doctors are unsure what to do going forward. So she is partially protected (maybe) so if she gets covid, no medical care?

There are no reported breakouts from air travel. I have flown regularly the past year, just recently two weeks ago (when everyone else was pretty much on a flight for the first time in a year) and people have been very compliant. Some airlines still leave the middle seat open. Most are very courteous and leave space between them and others when in line to board or when boarding.

I’ve also been out eating regularly (when the restaurants weren’t shut down) in several states all over the country. People wear their masks till they reach their table, our server wears his/her masks . . . we haven’t noticed anything high risk in our experience.

We’ve also been to several theme parks. No problems there either. Lines are well maintained, people masked up.

The problems aren’t any of the above. They are - as you stated, the 20 and 30 year olds at the bars late night w/o masks. Of course, that doesn’t mean masks don’t work LOL.

Large sporting events are probably not a good idea - I’d avoid them regardless, especially if people have been drinking. Vaccination a good idea for those who frequent those venues!

UChicago will be testing through the end of the year, which makes sense given that most of the campus was just eligible last week for the vaccine. Commencement for my D’21 will be a combination of virtual, remote, and in-person with student-only. But UChicago has been pretty cautious (w/o being draconian). It does upset some parents. But hey - it’s a pandemic!

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Do they even have a way of assessing that second one yet? There are some studies but it’s not dominating the news.

Again - no data.

It’s a nuanced virus so we really won’t have this information for a few years minimum. This isn’t like MMR or Meningitis or even flu.


Fenway Park limits attendance to 12% of usual capacity. Oakland Coliseum limits attendance to 26% of usual capacity, but normal attendance for A’s games is about 10% of usual capacity anyway. Both of these are outdoor venues, so at such low densities, they are probably less risky than indoor restaurant dining for those who want to minimize exposure to COVID-19.

I’m pretty sure my son can make those decisions for himself - right now being hermity is working well for him! Who knows what he’ll decide in a few weeks. It’s really his business, not mine.

Covid restrictions at UChicago and hopefully elsewhere won’t be relaxed if the numbers don’t support it. So these fears are speculations at best. Not sure what’s going to happen specifically at UChicago but I’m sure it’ll all work out. Everyone there is pretty smart. They have already announced that they intend to return to normal in the fall. That means most will be vaccinated.

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Whew, yes ! Let’s just say I’m giving your coherent post 10 likes :+1:.

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Will Harvard and MIT follow?

At UChicago they have always tested 1x/week. They went through the reasons (because of course they were asked given what some other schools were doing). The university’s epidemiologist stated that efficacy isn’t improved with more than 1x/week testing so all you do is risk getting “test burnout.” (NB: they wanted more to participate in the voluntary portion of the surveillance program, not fewer. Too many tests dissourages that). UChicago students are generally too busy with their academic work to be running off for constant testing. I think they made the right call. Also, 3x/week testing really inflates that positivity denominator! It artificially lowers the fraction unless the university has adjusted for that in its stats (those I’ve seen have not). It wouldn’t surprise me at all (putting on my cynic hat here) if schools were deliberately doing so. A .6% weekly positively when counted by student population becomes .2% magically just by having everyone take three times the number of weekly tests!

Absolutely. The tricky part is the absolute absence of long-term data, as you articulate.

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oh that’s fine. We have done some theme parks this year (once they opened up) and same thing - just fine. I was thinking more like indoor at full capacity. We’ve dined out as often as possible under the circumstances and it’s been fine as well. At least in our state, what shut everything down beginning last fall were the late-night bar gatherings with lack of masks. Families dining out with a reservation really don’t face much risk. Of course, I’m just going off the states I’ve been in over the past year (five or six with various covid restrictions state-wide ranging from very little to very strict). I honestly haven’t noticed a major difference in behavior in any of those states on a day to day basis.

Edit: sad about the A’s! Lived in the area during the Billy Ball era so this is hard news.

So you’ve mentioned numerous times that UC students are too busy with their academic work to be running off for constant testing. Do you think they’re the only academic institution in the country? They’re not. And ok, let’s use your theory of increased testing falsely inflates the positivity denominator…so ok…guess what…our rate is only .02% positive…so that would mean using your theory, which is is actually high because not all students are required to get tested 3x/week in any case but let’s triple it anyway, our positivity is still only .06% whereas UC looks like it’s .22% testing 1/week. So we’re doing something right. Again, not everyone is or was testing 3x/week. First semester everyone was 2x/week, second semester was only 3x/week later in the semester if you were in clubs, greek life, or an athlete and then once proof of vaccine was submitted only 1x/week so basically a good portion of students are actually being tests 2x or less. You just can’t compare apples to apples. These kids are also in intense academic settings and spending a ton of time testing. They are actually spending a lot of time in their in person classes.

For the record, the only airline still blocking out seats is Delta and that is ending on May 1. The good news now for travel is if you want to go to Europe this summer, fully vaccinated people are welcome to travel around, want to go to Israel, go ahead if you’re fully vaccinated. They’re proof that the vaccine is working. Their cases are below 100 new cases a day, their deaths hit zero, they’re near herd immunity and they’re starting to relax restrictions. How nice it would be to have normalcy again for all of us and especially our kids so that they don’t need to choose to be hermits in college or life.

As usual, people see what they only want to see. That’s pretty clear! And btw before I forget, your passive aggressive comment about never getting the vaccine before your parents to me didn’t go unnoticed. I didn’t get it for my profession because I could, I got it for my profession as a necessity because I go to work everyday in an environment where I would be putting myself and my family at greater risk if I weren’t vaccinated. My parents don’t live in a long term care facility and if I went to work and then saw my parents who are immune compromised because I’m a front line worker then I’m not doing anyone any good if I can’t be there to help them. Fortunately because the it wasn’t hard to find the vaccine here if you knew what you were doing to get it, they were able to get it within a week after me, but again don’t make assumptions about things you are unaware of. Getting the vaccine for some of us was the best thing ever to be with our loved ones and know we could safely do our jobs.


Can we stick to the title of this thread and try to keep the discussion about school this fall? Discussion about Covd in general isn’t really the point of this thread.


Not that is a competition or anything! Both .22% and .06% are fine positivity rates and no doubt lower than the surrounding community. You can’t eliminate Covid, even by inflating the denominator! UChicago’s outbreak was fairly severe. Prior to that, and currently, they are under .1%. And that’s an actual (not deflated) number.

It’s easy to compare apples to apples. How many students get tested each week? How many of those contracted Covid? Divide the latter by the former.

Yes and it was so nice to have that! I do understand they are eliminating it. SWA already did so. Totally think it makes sense for cruise ships and international travel to require a vaccination. And Israel is the country to look at for the possible achieving of herd immunity. Of course they would want only the vaccinated to enter. Hopefully the US has the same requirement! Of course, travel to distant lands for a US citizen is usually considered to be a discretionary activity. Not quite the same thing as a college degree (or being a returning student at a place that now requires you to be vaccinated).

Re: front line workers: first of all, thank you for your service. Second, my parents got their vaccine within a few weeks after the earliest frontline workers in their state. That was a fine timeline and eligibility order as far as I was concerned. I wouldn’t make my metric that I couldn’t be there to help them so THEREFORE I should get it first: I’d follow the eligibility criteria. So had I been a frontline worker, I’d expect to get it first, but then I’d want them to get it shortly afterwards. I was ealier referring to my current state in life, of course - as NOT a frontline worker. In that case, they should absolutely be way ahead of me in line (I just became eligible 3/30 in my state; my parents in their state were vaccinated in January). The very last thing I’d do is want them to be searching all over the place for the next available vaccine! That tells me that whatever state your parents were living in didn’t really vaccinate quickly enough. Was that IL?

Couldn’t agree more: vaccination = safety. If I’m vaccinated, I achieve that - Others don’t need to be vaccinated for me to achieve it. That’s why it doesn’t make sense for those vaccinated to be worrying so much about whether others are vaccinated as well :slight_smile: Get vaccinated and move on with Life! Couldn’t agree more that seeing loved ones after they are vaccinated is great. We were recently able to see my parents because they had been vaccinated (we hadn’t been yet - not eligible). My dad - a retired academic physician who specialized in internal medicine - didn’t worry that we hadn’t been vaccinated already. He knew they were safe because they had the vaccine. It was great seeing them in person after so many months! And they remain safe and can now get out and enjoy themselves more - because they are vaccinated. The vaccine is very valuable to those who are at high risk!


Outbreak in an elementary school near me. They think it might be linked to an HVAC vent that wasn’t open enough.

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Has anyone seen a college commit to having the cafeterias back to normal? That’s a big part of the freshman experience and bonding, so we’re focused on that.


I haven’t seen any say that they’re not - at least the 3 colleges my kids attend. It sounds like they’re planning for open dining halls but that could be because of the vaccine requirements and most likely you can only enter if you’re vaccinated, for the one school that is mandating vaccine only if you live on campus, one is mandating for all so anyone can enter the dining halls - even now and it’s better than last semester. The third school already has open dining halls just reduced occupancy and it’s been open all year. Only 1 of the 3 schools hasn’t had an open dining hall this year and has had carry out meals only.

This is referring to your post about testing frequency at colleges. My child’s college did 3x per week for students living on campus, but they made it SO EASY that’s it’s not a big deal at all. I wonder if other schools didn’t make it so easy? It’s barely going to be a perk of any sort to be allowed to reduce or eliminate testing. Basically, they gave all the kids a stockpile of tests. 3 mornings a week, they perform the test on themselves in their dorm room which takes about 30 seconds. They have collection locations in many locations around campus, including at their dorms. This is not any sort of inconvenience to speak of. I was confused why I’ve seen some posters talk about it like a real benefit when testing isn’t required. Now I realize that maybe at some schools it is a pain, like for the general public where we have to go drive to a testing site, go in, stand in line, blah blah blah. For me to get tested requires an appointment and possibly up to an hour of my time, for my kids on campus it is basically nothing (and CERTAINLY the extra 5 minutes it takes per week to perform and drop 3 tests does not interfere with academic work, LOL).

So the UChicago rationale seems not particularly wise to me (although I see that they have had a decent result). If testing is mandatory and incredibly easy, the kids WILL do the 3x a week. My kids school is only doing 1x per week for kids who are living off campus without access to campus which is voluntary surveillance, a different situation. But for people on campus, it couldn’t be easier and it’s required, so there would never be an issue of compliance.

But the epidemiologist is just wrong that there’s no difference with 1x per week vs. 3x per week. The more frequently it’s done, someone will find out sooner that they are positive, and get whisked away to isolation more likely before they are even infectious, so probably do not have a chance to spread it to anyone at all if it’s 3x per week. But if they have to wait up to 6 days after turning positive before they find out, they risk spreading it to many more people. I’m not saying that 3x was an absolutely necessary expense, but clearly there are benefits to it in terms of potential to expose different numbers of people.

I don’t think schools are testing more often to change their denominators in percent positive calculations :joy:. They are doing it to reduce spread and therefore the absolute number of positive cases they’ve had, which is also reported. Pretty confident they are spending all that money to reduce disease , not manipulate dashboard numbers that very few people look at .

The good news is that if campuses are largely full of vaccinated people next year, testing will play a much more minor role and a reduced expense.

They are planning a full return to in-person dining at UChicago. Very important due to those house tables!

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