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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.
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.

See all News Updates of the Day

Universities in Middle East building research relationships with China  

FILE - University students display the flag of the Communist Party of China to mark the party's 100th anniversary during an opening ceremony of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei, September 10, 2021.
FILE - University students display the flag of the Communist Party of China to mark the party's 100th anniversary during an opening ceremony of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei, September 10, 2021.

As China bolsters research relationships with universities in the Middle East, the United States has taken notice – especially when that research involves artificial intelligence.

Reporting for University World News, Yojana Sharma has the story. (March 2024)

Tips for staying safe while studying in the US

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2019 photo, Sgt. Jason Cowger, with Johns Hopkins University's Campus Safety and Security department, walks on the university's campus in Baltimore.
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2019 photo, Sgt. Jason Cowger, with Johns Hopkins University's Campus Safety and Security department, walks on the university's campus in Baltimore.

Recent news events have raised safety concerns among some international students studying in the United States.

Adarsh Khandelwal, writing in the India Times, has tips for staying safe from the moment you arrive until the day you complete your studies. (March 2024)

Some colleges are making digital literacy classes mandatory

FILE - A teacher librarian at a Connecticut high school, left, works with a student in a Digital Student class, Dec. 20, 2017. The required class teaches media literacy skills and has the students scrutinize sources for their on-line information.
FILE - A teacher librarian at a Connecticut high school, left, works with a student in a Digital Student class, Dec. 20, 2017. The required class teaches media literacy skills and has the students scrutinize sources for their on-line information.

A 2019 study by Stanford found that most college students can’t tell the difference between real and fake news articles. Amid rampant online disinformation, and the threat of AI-generated images, some schools are making students learn “digital literacy” to graduate.

Lauren Coffeey reports for Inside Higher Ed. (March 2024)

With federal student aid delays, students aren’t sure what college will cost 

File - Students make their way through the Sather Gate near Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley, campus March 29, 2022, in Berkeley, Calif.
File - Students make their way through the Sather Gate near Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley, campus March 29, 2022, in Berkeley, Calif.

The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student aid form (FAFSA) experienced serious glitches and delays this year.

Now, many students have been admitted to college, but don’t know how much money they’ll need to attend.

Read the story from Susan Svrluga and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel for The Washington Post. (March 2024)

Senator draws attention to universities that haven’t returned remains

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, speaks with reporters as he walks to a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, speaks with reporters as he walks to a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington.

More than 70 U.S. universities continue to hold human remains taken from Native American burial sites, although those remains were supposed to be returned 30 years ago.

Jennifer Bendery writes in Huffington Post that one senator has been using his position in an attempt to shame universities into returning remains and artifacts. (April 2024)

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