With the return of in-person classes at many US colleges, some schools are taking an about-face turn due to rising COVID-19 cases and sending students packing. Against advice of health officials, students who are testing positive are being sent back to their home communities, rather than being quarantined on campus. This, officials fear, will lead to an uptick in cases where the students return home.
Public health officials at the White House are warning these actions could ignite another widespread national outbreak. Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading US health expert on the coronavirus and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has stated, “it’s the worst thing you could do,” further adding that sending students home to various parts of the country could be the makings of seeding whole populations with the infection.
Positive case rates have been rapidly rising at many colleges which are spreading too quickly to control. Some schools have already taken measures to cancel in-person classes and have reverted to online-only learning.
High profile cases include the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where administrators sent undergraduate students home only a few days after they moved into their residence halls and started classes.
The situation is a double-edged sword. Students are returning to schools from all over the country and the world and are risking infecting classmates and the local town residents where the school is located. Then they are being sent home where they run the risk of spreading the virus further. Fauci is recommending the students who test positive be quarantined in place, away from other students, faculty and community residents.
Ann Sullivan is a contributing staff writer covering national and world news topics. She brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.