Parents, some of you or your friends may still be concerned about your student heading to college. Many of my friends and relatives are currently helping their sons and daughters settle into their dorms.
But what will they do during the semester? What is their college doing to prepare for the coronavirus? While many are banning parties and gatherings off and on campus, it’s going to be hard for students to stay away from each other.
My 12-year-old wants to “just watch” the basketball games being played at the school near our house. We’ve repeatedly told him no because none of the players are wearing masks.
Even for our responsible young adults, it’s going to be a challenge.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported the following (July 27, 2020):
“If you walk around the neighborhood of Ames, Iowa, across the street from Iowa State University, one thing is obvious: No one is wearing a mask. The state doesn't have a mask mandate, so customers in shops or restaurants can't be forced to wear them indoors. Next month, though the City of Ames could welcome some 31,000 students and researchers.”
This is a much different situation that I haven’t considered. If your student is heading to a part of the country that does not have mask mandates, what will they do? Have you discussed what action your son or daughter will take?
For example, if they attend ISU and don’t wear face coverings because it’s not required, will you allow them to return home without a 14-day self-quarantine? Where would they stay?
This is a decision not to be made lightly.
The New York Times reported (July 29, 2020) that there are 6,600 coronavirus cases linked to 270 colleges since the pandemic began. This could spike as students return to campus – even if in-person classes are at 50 percent capacity or meeting outdoors in tents. The NYT created an infographic that shows campuses with more than 50 cases down to at least 1 confirmed case.
I’ve discussed how athletes have been affected as they’ve returned to practice. But you also need to consider the health of the construction workers, food preparers, as well as the administration. We really need to care about how other people are feeling.
The colleges with the most confirmed coronavirus cases include University of Texas (449), University of Central Florida (438), University of Georgia (390), Texas A&M University (302), and University of Washington (249).
Colleges with at least 1 case related to a person who works at or attends the school include Florida State University, University of San Diego, Carnegie Mellon, North Dakota State University, and Grambling State University.
Even with the California State University moving all classes online for the fall, students need to take personal responsibility for their actions.
I’m sure you’ve already had these conversations about wearing masks in public. So what advice can you share with our community? I’d love to hear from students, parents, health care workers, and college administrators.
Let’s learn together.
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.