So far, the task force’s request by governors to talk to the presidents of their college has made little difference. By the end of the week, some colleges in the country’s largest Coronavirus hot spot were not only allowing students to go home even when they were exposed or infected – they were ordering them.
“You need to move to your home or other off-campus location as soon as possible for the duration of your self-isolation,” a letter sent Wednesday from the dean’s office at Georgia Southern University said. Campus students who report being infected or infected with coronovirus. According to an email obtained by The Daily Beast, the university also tried to run students out of the city to campus housing, so that they would be “sent back home as soon as possible”.
This deficiency has had serious consequences. More than 700 positive coronovirus cases were reported during the past two weeks in Statesboro, the small town where Georgia is located southern. According to Johns Hopkins University data, it was one of the highest per capita rates of growth in any United States metro area during that time.
Leticia McGrath, a professor of Spanish for two decades at the Southern University of Georgia, said, “I come to my seventies to visit parents this weekend, and I’m afraid to come to their small town.” animal. “This is bad.”
Ever since students have started traveling back to their college campuses, Coronavirus hot zones have moved with them. Now there are many cities and towns where cases are growing fastest – Iowa City, Auburn, Statesboro and AIIMS-like colleges are colleges. And while on-campus policies leaning on and off-campus have created a local breeding ground for the virus, they are not expected to stay local long after sick students leave campus and the weather’s rapid viral outbreak We do.
“Original Sin was inviting students back to campus,” said Michael Innis-Jimenez, a professor of American studies at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, where more than 2,000 students tested positive for coronavirus in the last three weeks . “And now they are having a lot of problems to bring home. I think they finally saw him in the White House. ”
Nevertheless, the White House’s response to the virus has been anything but consistent. Last Sunday, the White House Coronovirus Task Force urged Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue a statewide mask mandate, stating that the state now has the highest number of new infections in the country. The governor publicly disagreed with the proposal. Four days later, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told a local news station with Reynolds, “If you try to force people to do something … they will oppose you.”
The shifting policies at many universities reflect the White House’s response, with colleges scrambling to find on-campus quarantine locations after the number of positive cases on their campuses reached hundreds.
The offices of each of these state governors did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment, and the universities did not confirm whether the governors had advised them to change their policies following Monday’s call. He also did not respond to requests for comment regarding his current policies regarding whether exposed or infected students should remain on campus.
A day after the White House on Tuesday urged governors to keep students on campus, the University of Alabama was still offering its students the option to return home, a late-afternoon email to faculty noted that on- Campus residents who need to quarantine or separate “have the option of returning home in exchange for going to dedicated campus isolation.” The next day, however, the school changed its tune, noting in a campus-wide memo that “consensus is building among experts who are closing the university and sending students home, causing public health risks” may increase.”
“It is a reasonable idea that Drs. Berks had. The only glitch is that colleges have too many students.“
This was hardly a universal response, and policies vary widely even within the same state. At Iowa State, where nearly 700 students and staff tested positive in the first three weeks that the students were back on campus, the university was still allowing students who tested positive for coronovirus to be released as of Sunday. So that I can go home to my parents. Meanwhile, the University of Iowa has indicated that it will placate campus residents in a “designated area.”
Resistance to more aggressive policies points to an inconvenient reality for many of these universities: many have not prepared enough quarantine space for all students who may need it.
“It is a fair idea that Dr. Berks had. The only mess is that there are too many students in colleges, ”Dr. Said William Scheffner, an infectious disease doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Therefore universities may find that there is no option but to send them home.”
Some schools that are raging students to leave campus – such as Ole Miss – were still allowing it even after strict warnings. As of Friday, the student housing guidelines on its website still stated that students who tested positive had two options: “Temporary relocation to your family home or a designated isolation location on campus.” Quarantine options for Ole Miss students, which might have been exposed, appeared unchanged.
In an email to a faculty member last week who expressed concern over that policy, the university’s dean Noel Wilkins wrote: “I hope you appreciate that we don’t have the authority to tell that place to students In which they must quarantine or separate. They have the freedom to live as they wish. ”
Although the Dean’s statement is technically accurate – according to health law experts, a student may advise a student to remain on campus, but not force them against their will – with the support of the state government, the school Can achieve it.
“The state in which the university is located has public health powers to require quarantine, including quarantine on campus,” Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, traditionally ordered Said keeping in mind. Come through the Department of Public Health.
But without the support of the governor, who has the authority to perform executive functions, public health departments in many states are powerless to do anything stronger than a guideline. In particular, the governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Georgia are President Trump’s Republicans and asylitis, who have shown public disdain for the advice of their coronovirus task force.
“I think the main beef is trying very hard to take one for the proverbial team, while being your governor and senator literally means ending the principles that endanger you.“
When it comes to coronoviruses, many of these governors have already noted doubts about public health recommendations. Like Reynolds, Georgia government Brian Kemp has rejected the White House coronavirus virus force’s advice to issue a statewide mask mandate. In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves issued a temporary statewide mask mandate, but when he attended the Republican National Convention on the White House lawn, he wore none.
And in Iowa, Reynolds is not alone in his battle with what health experts call common sense. Last week, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who is in a tight re-election campaign, said she was “skeptical” about her state’s rising infection rate, citing a malicious conspiracy theory that doctors COVID-19 is a financial incentive to increase the number.
Some professors are skeptical that the state’s leadership will do much to improve the situation.
“I think the university is honestly doing the best it can under Republican leadership,” said a professor at Iowa State who asked to remain anonymous for fear of professional reprisal. “I think the main beef is trying very hard to take one for the proverbial team, while being your governor and senator literally means putting you in danger.”