US colleges struggle to salvage semester amid outbreaks

"Colleges across the country are struggling to salvage the fall semester amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases, entire dorm complexes and frat houses under quarantine, and flaring tensions with local community leaders over the spread of the disease.

Many major universities are determined to forge ahead despite warning signs, as evidenced by the expanding slate of college football games occurring Saturday. The football-obsessed SEC begins its season with fans in stadiums. Several teams in other leagues have had to postpone games because of outbreaks among players and staff.

Institutions across the nation saw spikes of thousands of cases days after opening their doors in the last month, driven by students socializing with little or no social distancing. School and community leaders have tried to rein in the virus by closing bars, suspending students, adding mask requirements, and toggling between in-person and online instruction as case numbers rise and fall.

Tension over the outbreaks is starting to boil over in college towns." …

Don’t know why anyone would have expected anything less when all these kids get together. Seems to me the larger schools have far less control of both on and off campus activities but that’s likely because they are simply just larger (herding cats syndrome).

However, once they’re there, I think the schools should keep the kids. Suspending them and sending them home will bring all kinds of spread back to their families and communities.

I’d like to see some quantification of “colleges”, “Many”, and “institutions”. Yes, at least two are facing these issues, making plural correct. How many of the thousands of schools are facing these issues?

There are references to “two” and “at least two”, with seven or eight schools named. If they’re quoting someone from the “College Crisis Initiative”, surely such an organization also has something more than anecdotal data.

It could be a widespread issue or this could be a clickbait, minimally supported hype article. It’s hard to tell the way this story is written.

As further proof that journalists can spin a story as they choose, here’s the exact opposite quoting data from the exact same "“College Crisis Initiative”

"At Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, just one coronavirus case has emerged from more than 11,500 campus tests administered since August. The flagship University of Connecticut system reports 64 cases among the 5,000-student residential population on its Storrs campus. Clark University in central Massachusetts just spotted its first potential case in more than a month, while a few pricey private colleges in New York also report few infections since the start of the semester.

Several universities have resumed in-person classes and invited students back to live on or near campus this semester while logging few infections, even as other institutions struggle to halt outbreaks or rely on virtual education. These early case studies hint at a potential path to recovery for a bruised higher education industry, as the virus continues to spread across the country and the death toll rises.

Colleges finding early success are deploying methods health experts have long recommended the whole country use to keep the virus under control. But a patchwork of state approaches, ongoing testing shortages — or outright rejection of recommendations about testing, masks and social distancing — have combined to keep the virus spreading."

A bit of visible enforcement might also help (unlike Cornell’s choice) -

“Thirteen Purdue athletes have been suspended for violating the “Protect Purdue Pledge” by holding a party Saturday in a campus residence hall, the university announced Monday.

The suspended students must vacate their residence hall by Wednesday, though they may appeal the suspensions. Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, issued the suspensions after university residence staff discovered the party.”