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At Colleges Across the Nation, 'the Experiment Is Faltering'

Lockdowns, disciplinary measures are what schools are contending with as virus numbers rise
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – College students and their parents kept their fingers crossed as higher-education institutions across the nation opened up over the past few weeks for the fall semester, hoping that school safety measures would keep COVID-19 at bay and allow students to approach some sense of academic normalcy. But, as Pilar Melendez at the Daily Beast notes, "the experiment is faltering." Dozens of colleges are now reporting spikes in coronavirus cases since school began, forcing schools to quarantine students, discipline them for violating safety protocols—even send them home in some cases, which is the opposite of what infectious disease experts are recommending. More on what's going on with schools across the US:

  • Keeping tabs: The New York Times has a tracker monitoring cases at more than 1,500 US colleges and universities, including at every public four-year college. So far, since the pandemic began in March, there have been upward of 51,000 cases in total, with at least 60 deaths.
  • Not messing around: Students at Gettysburg College are getting an extreme taste of what an on-campus lockdown looks like. About two dozen students recently tested positive, and students there have now been told to hole up in their dorm rooms 24/7 for a full week, with respites allowed only for bathroom or food runs, to get a COVID-19 test, or to visit a counselor. Anyone caught breaching the lockdown will get kicked off campus, the Washington Post reports.
  • SUNY shutdown: Less than two weeks after school started at SUNY Oneonta, the school in upstate New York has made a drastic decision: It's sending everyone home. Per the New York Times, the administration announced Thursday that, because of more than 500 COVID-19 cases among its 6,000 or so students, in-person classes have been nixed for the rest of the semester. Students weren't made to show they'd been tested for the virus before they arrived on campus last month, and they weren't tested once they got there.

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