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Students Want Campus But Will Leave If COVID-19 Surges

In a recent Axios poll, 71% of the students interviewed said they would not attend sporting events.

The party’s on hold, so they say.

Most college and university students are willing to sacrifice social aspects of the college experience because of the coronavirus, according to a new poll from Axios.

Nearly 80% of students said they won’t attend parties, while 71% said they wouldn’t attend sporting events.

And if a severe outbreak of COVID-19 broke out, 67% of students said they would leave campus, while 54% would voluntarily download an app to conduct contact tracing.

COVID-19, or coronavirus, is a viral pandemic that appeared in late 2019 in China and spread around the planet. Most recently, it has surged in the U.S.

Most students — 76% — said they are planning on returning to campus this fall if they have the option, and 66% said that they will attend in-person classes if their university offers them, according to Axios.

“If you are a Marietta College student, I am straight up begging you to avoid COVID hotspots before we return,” Tyler Walker (@tbawalker) of Marietta College in Ohio tweeted. “If you bring the virus back to school with us, our semester will be finished at home. Don’t be the one responsible!”

Although universities have announced measures to maintain social-distancing protocol, some students and teachers are worried about returning to campus.

“If I were president of a college or university, I wouldn’t let people back on campus unless they could get a COVID test in the days before they move in,” Reilly Cosgrove (@reillycosgrove) of Creighton University in Nebraska tweeted.

Most students said they plan to be cautious when returning to campus. Ninety-five percent said they wear masks if unable to physically distance.

For many international students, on-campus housing is their only option. Student Chantelle Houareau asks her classmates to understand that foreign students can’t move home easily.

“Increasing the number of people on campus will increase the chances of people contracting coronavirus and causing an outbreak,” tweeted Chantelle Houareau (@chahouareau) of Lake Forest College in Chicago. “International students HAVE TO be there. You don’t.”

Some universities that offer in-person classes for the fall semester are providing students with personal protection equipment and free testing, as well as mandatory screenings and safety training.

The Texas A&M University system, for example, plans to offer free testing for students, faculty and staff. The plan states that “approximately 15,000 test kits will be sent to system campuses each month.”

“I would not be on campus right now if I did not feel safe. When we follow all [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines, it isn’t scary!” tweeted Abby Seeber (@AbbySeeber) of Valparaiso University in Indiana.

As of July 14, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 56% of U.S. colleges and universities said they plan to reopen their campus this fall; 30% are proposing a hybrid model of part online and part in class; and 9% will hold courses fully online.