After just one or two weeks of in-person instruction, colleges and universities such as University of North Carolina and University of Notre Dame have shifted classes completely online due to hundreds of students testing positive for the coronavirus.
In June, 74 percent of higher education institutions planned to hold some or all classes in-person in the fall. But with cases climbing throughout the summer, that number has dropped to 37 percent.
Despite the schools’ efforts to enforce social distancing measures, they are tracing outbreaks to residence halls, fraternity houses and college bars.
Several schools with students still on campus, like Syracuse and Purdue, are threatening suspension or expulsion of those who are caught partying or breaking other social distancing rules.
Last Tuesday, the World Health Organization issued a warning that college aged students and young adults are quickly becoming the primary spreaders of the coronavirus, as symptoms are often milder or nonexistent for the group.
Colleges tend to offer ideal conditions for the virus to spread, with students arriving from areas all over the country which could be hotspots for COVID and tending to gather in large groups often.
In spite of the coronavirus clusters connected to reopened campuses, many public universities – including schools in Georgia and Florida, which have among the worst outbreaks in the country – are moving ahead with plans for in-person instruction in the coming weeks.
Students across the nation, from the University of Arizona to the University of Georgia, have staged socially distanced “die-in” demonstrations to protest a full return to campus.