Amid the pandemic, what will our schools do this fall? Stay tuned
There still are many U.S. public schools, colleges and universities preparing to reopen for the fall semester, with in-person classes scheduled widely.
Many students, parents and educators officials are on edge.
Science is on their side, yet the risk is great.
COVID-19 seems to be most dangerous for older people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Younger people can contract the virus, but many demonstrate few, if any, symptoms.
It is unlikely, then, that college campuses will become killing fields.
A wakeup call may be necessary for many younger people, however.
They are not safe. Well over 10% of the more than 152,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 were in the 15-24 age group, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Being less susceptible to the disease does not mean being safe from it.
Higher education officials also are aware of the danger of hundreds of thousands of students leaving home to return to campus — then going home, possibly carrying the virus with them to infect mom, dad, grandma and grandpa.
So restrictions on attendance, some quite stringent, are being implemented at most campuses.
Locally, we saw last week where Lock Haven University decided to keep 85% of its students home this fall, saying the risk to spread the virus is just too great.
There’s at least one college that plans to require students to submit nasal swabs every other day for the first two weeks after they return to campus. Less frequent testing is mandated after that. Other colleges and universities have less rigid but still demanding requirements.
Some even plan to fine students who do not comply.
Whatever the restrictions on students, they simply must be enforced strictly.
If that means telling a few students to pack their bags and leave campus, so be it.
Soon, we believe we’ll begin to hear whether public schools in our region will bring students to class this fall, and if there will be fall sports.
What will parents do if kids are kept home? Child-care costs can be high. Parents need to work.
Can we at least agree on this: That reopening our schools, colleges and universities cannot be permitted to become a lesson in how to make an epidemic worsen.