Dear Commons Community,
We are a few weeks into the Fall 2020 semester at most colleges and CNN is reporting that there have been more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among students, staff and faculty nationwide. That number is likely to go higher in the coming weeks as colleges struggle to establish effective safe environments for their students. As reported by CNN.
“Many outbreaks have cropped up after gatherings at fraternities and sororities: One cluster of COVID-19 cases was traced back to a fraternity party held at the University of New Hampshire. More than 100 people attended the Aug. 29 party and few wore masks.
At Indiana University Bloomington, 30 sorority and fraternity houses have been ordered to quarantine following what campus officials have described as an “alarming increase” in COVID-19 cases within the houses.
School officials told Greek houses to suspend all in-person activities until at least Sept. 14.
“IU’s team of public health experts is extremely concerned that Greek houses are seeing uncontrolled spread of COVID-19,” the university said in a statement. “This poses a significant risk to the nearly 2,600 students currently living in Greek or other communal housing organizations, as well as to the other 42,000 IU Bloomington students, the campus’s 12,000 faculty and staff, and the surrounding community.”
Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has told all undergraduate students they must restrict their movements for the next two weeks, to try to reverse a rise in COVID-19 cases. The university also directed nine campus fraternities and sororities with off-campus live-in houses to quarantine for at least 14 days.
“We’ve reached the point where we need to quickly flatten the curve of infection, or we will lose the opportunity to have campus open to students this semester, which we know many students truly want,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement.
Some of the highest number of cases are at Miami University, University of South Carolina, Ohio State University and East Carolina University, all of which have over 1,000 confirmed cases. The University of Missouri has 862 confirmed cases, while Missouri State University has 791.
Even what is left of the college football season is on shaky ground: A number of teams have postponed their openers this weekend because of the pandemic, the Washington Post reported. Some of these games may not be made up, or won’t be made up until December at the earliest. And other postponements cannot be ruled out as colleges continue to deal with spikes in coronavirus cases.”
I feel fortunate that here at the City University of New York, the decision was made to conduct our classes online.