Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Campuses open and COVID-19 infections spread


Fall semester is upon us.  For roughly one quarter to one third of American higher education their students, faculty, and staff are heading to campus, even as COVID-19 infections and deaths keep rising.

As a result, some number of people spending time at those colleges and universities are getting sick.

What follows is a list of such events.  It’s not exhaustive.  It’s also a snapshot in time, what I’ve found by the night of August 18, 2020.  Tomorrow will doubtless add more.

  • Bethel College: 50 people have been infected, “including 43 students and seven faculty members.”  22 are athletes.  That’s almost 10% of the student body.
  • Boston University: 8 positive cases over the past three weeks.  Well, 12 now.
  • East Carolina University: 108 positive tests.
  • Emerson College: 1 person tested positive.
  • North Carolina State University admitted to some number of infections, either 8, 42, or 50, among fraternity and sorority houses.
  • Northeast Mississippi Community College: “‘around 300′” students are currently in quarantine… [T]he university has six or seven positive cases since school started last week and that ’25 to 28 employees’ are also under quarantine.”  That CNN article adds: “Northeast Mississippi Community College has around 3,200 students, which means around 10% of the student body is being quarantined.”
  • Oklahoma State University: 23 infections at a sorority.
  • University of Kentucky: 189 infections.
  • The University of Tennessee at Knoxville: an infection cluster created by “an off-campus party”  yielded numbers something like “at least five connected cases or 20 people in self-isolation.”
  • University of Wyoming: 38 cases “among… students and employees.”
  • Western Kentucky University: 19 infections for student and staff.

This is unsurprising, given events like this and this and this.

In Oklahoma:

Live from Stillwater, Oklahoma tonight ladies and gentleman.

This is how #OkState students are complying to off campus social distancing guidelines.

— Ryan Novozinsky (@ryannovo62) August 16, 2020

Villanova University:

These two videos have been circulating on IG and group chats and have been confirmed to be from Villanova University. This is the class of 2024 on their second day of orientation. What do we expect from the rest of the school year? (2nd video below)

— Isabella Sanchez Castañeda (@Is_SanchezC) August 13, 2020

University of North Georgia:

First night back at University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. 😳😳

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) August 16, 2020

University of Alabama:

Why? We are desperately trying to protect @tuscaloosacity – We are trying to have college football season. We have been running details for 3 straight nights. @TuscaloosaPD is stretched thin between COVID-19 and these details. We will be requesting daytime help from #UAPD.

— Walt Maddox (@WaltMaddox) August 16, 2020


(Before I get jumped on, I’m not sharing those stories to blame students nor to exculpate administrators, residence life, municipal authorities, parents, society, or anyone else.  That’s not the purpose of this post.  Instead I’m trying to understand what’s happening right now, and to use that understanding to better model what comes next.  Blame isn’t the theme here.)

This Washington Post article has a good roundup of such stories, as does the ChronicleThis CNN piece is actually the most informative.

Another, related post to come tomorrow as time permits.

(thanks to Rob Gibson, Eric Stoller, Futurexhighered, Lisa Durff, Jan Potvin, and others for links)