This fall, a dorm isn’t just a bedroom. It’s a dining hall. It’s a library. And for most students, it’s also a classroom. Cornell made national news in July for pledging to bring all students back to campus for a hybrid semester with in-person and online classes. But as thousands of students settle into their Ithaca residences, many of them aren’t trekking to lecture halls and seminar rooms for class.
It is now clear that welcoming college students back to campuses for the fall semester can lead to Covid-19 outbreaks. Several institutions have reported more than 1,000 cases each. What lessons can colleges and their surrounding communities take from the past month? To better understand the dynamics of coronavirus transmission at colleges, The Chronicle has tracked case numbers in more than 50 counties that contain four-year colleges with student bodies that make up a significant proportion of the county population.
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On the first day of surveillance testing, many students are already facing long lines and a malfunctioning Daily Check system. After many students reported issues with scheduling tests, the Daily Check Team sent an email at 11:06 a.m., reporting an error with the system and promising to provide an update as soon as possible.
Just two days into the semester, Cornell has nearly half the number of active cases to prompt two weeks of remote learning, and the Ithaca community is grappling with how to hold each other accountable. The Cornell administration is balancing concerns from local residents, new statewide policies and a spike in cases, while working to hold students accountable and not acting overly punitive toward them. One strategy is the behavioral compact, although not all local residents think it will be effective.
Students crisscrossed the Arts Quad and logged into Zoom meetings as the fall semester kicked off on Wednesday — but for some students, the question of how they will pay for the upcoming semester still remains unresolved. As classes begin, many students have said that they still don’t have financial aid, raising concerns about whether they will have the help they need to pay tuition and avoid being put on financial hold. The deadline for the first tuition payment is Sept. 7, less than five days away.
Health Department Announces 12 More Cornell Cases Linked to Friday Cluster, Bringing Week Total to 24
Less than four days after the University announced that a cluster of nine students had tested positive for COVID-19, the Tompkins County Health Department said that another 12 individuals who were close contacts of them have contracted the virus — bringing the total number of new campus cases in the past week to 24. Like the results released on Friday, County Health Director Frank Kruppa said during a Tuesday meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature that the cases were related to gatherings “where mask and distancing guidance was not adhered to,” the Ithaca Voice reported. As of Tuesday night, neither Cornell nor the county health department have released a more detailed statement.
The University of Alabama recorded 481 new cases of COVID-19 among its campus community between Aug. 25 and Aug. 27, according to newly released data. The Friday data marks a total of 1,043 cumulative cases among faculty, staff and students since Aug. 19. UA recorded 158 cases among employees and students before Aug. 19.
Fifty positive COVID-19 cases, or 100? Meeting 80 percent of quarantine capacity, or having more than 10 sick employees? Some colleges are publishing “triggers” that would lead them to consider closing; others refuse to boil decision making down to a few numbers.By
August 28, 2020
As colleges bring students back to campuses for the fall semester, questions are increasingly being raised about what it would take to send them home or revert to online instruction in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19. New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo drew a red line for New York State colleges on Thursday, announcing, “If colleges have 100 cases or if the number of cases equal 5 percent of their population or more, they must go to remote learning for two weeks, at which time we will reassess the situation.”
As colleges moved to reopen classrooms this fall, groups of researchers were forthright with statistical modeling showing likely COVID-19 infections on campus. That’s more than some public flagship universities can say.By
August 26, 2020
In the middle of August, a group of Pennsylvania State University faculty members posted the fruits of weeks of statistical modeling — projecting results of their university’s plans to bring undergraduates back to State College for in-person fall classes. They assumed 200 students infected with COVID-19 who were not showing symptoms would arrive on campus, out of a total of 40,000. They assumed the university would receive the results of COVID-19 tests rapidly, within eight hours.