Real Life in the Classroom

COVID-19 is no surprise to anyone. It seems it has taken up residence in every location, schools and campuses are no exception. In fact, within the confines of a campus there is the greatest concern. Our future is at risk with children staring down the pandemic. Sending a child back to the classroom is a big family decision. College campuses are certainly no exception. Most recently the University of Michigan mandated that students stay at home, unless they are attending class, getting food or are at an approved worksite where it cannot be accomplished remotely.

The New York Times prepared a survey of more than 1,700 American colleges and universities. the survey was delivered to every four-year campus and every private college that participates in NCAA sports. the revelation is that more than 214,000 cases and at least 75 deaths have occurred since the pandemic began. the fact is, thousands of new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge on college campuses.

Most of the cases have been announced since students returned to campus for the fall term. Most of the deaths were reported in the spring and involved college employees, not students. But at least two students — Jamain Stephens, a football player at California University of Pennsylvania, and Chad Dorrill, a sophomore at Appalachian State — have died in recent weeks after contracting the virus. LeeRoy Rogers, a longtime custodian at Drury University, also died from the virus this fall.

As many as 50 college campuses have reported at least 1,000 cases over the course of the pandemic, and more than 375 colleges have reported at least 100 cases. At College of Wooster, in Ohio, all classes have been moved online for the rest of the fall semester, and numerous cases were discovered, many of which were tied to social events.

The autumn tradition of college football has fielded the brunt of COVID-19. Schedules were canceled only to restart later this year. Few football teams began their season on time, and even then, some games were postponed due to the coronavirus. Today, college football is in place, but with severe restrictions with regular ongoing participant health checks, and a restriction on the number of fans allowed in the stands. As football games resumed, there were still local implications. For instance, the University of New Mexico canceled its season opener with Colorado State because of spiking case numbers in the Albuquerque area.

We have found over the past several months, COVID-19 is no respecter of persons, locale and in this case college and university campuses. The New York Times survey revealed cases by campus.

1. Clemson, 4,082
2. Georgia, 4,049
3. Florida, 3,634
4. Penn State, 3,456
5. Ohio State, 3,350
6. Wisconsin, 3,258
7. Indiana, 3,139
8. Alabama, 2,882
9. Illinois, 2,802
10. Kentucky, 2,6

Remember, wear a face covering, wash your hands regularly and stay safe.

This article originally appeared in the November December 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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