Coronavirus & College: Leaders Have Messed Up the Reopening


Many colleges and universities have reopened for the fall semester. Officials had all summer to prepare, but the results have been pretty ugly.

So writes the Martin Center’s Megan Zogby in today’s article.

The four biggest UNC system universities had students come to campus, but have since sent them home for online courses. Zogby, a student at one of them, NC State, writes, “The incompetence of decisionmakers and their inability to create constructive return plans has hurt the reputation of colleges. Many students wonder if reopening was a ploy to boost enrollment and tuition revenues.”

The problem is that many students couldn’t resist the old partying instincts. COVID clusters broke out. Bye, bye, kids.

One university that seems to have done better than most is the University of Illinois.

Zogby writes about the system in place there:

A student at the University of Illinois shared her experience with the testing process and coronavirus precautions set up for the return of students and professors. The university has connected the labs with an app that allows entry to university buildings. Each student has their own QR code which has their test results. The test results for students, faculty, and staff must be negative in order for them to have access to university buildings as they scan their phones for entry. Adding those extra steps can help enforce compliance, even when someone might want to bend the rules. Though the changes will require more spending, so far, they’ve kept in-person classes operating.

Obviously, college leaders have a long way to go in learning how to cope with our new environment. The longer things stay messed up, the more students will look to postsecondary learning options other than college.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.





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