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Should colleges and universities open in person for the Fall 2020 semester? Show more Show less
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The COVID-19 pandemic has left the future of colleges and universities in a state of utter uncertainty. Across the world they are struggling to come up with safe and equitable strategies for reopening, but which one is best?

Depends - On outside data Show more Show less

The risk presented by the question changes based on certain factors
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Whether universities should open depends on testing capacity

If testing capacity in the community of the school is already at or near capacity, then no, otherwise it may present a reasonable risk.

The Argument

Every college that has reopened for the fall semester hopes to perform diagnostic testing on a regular basis. The president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, says there will be a "robust testing system during the school year."[1] The president of Brown University, Christina Paxson, says the following: "All campuses must be able to conduct rapid testing for the coronavirus for all students, when they first arrive on campus and at regular intervals throughout the year."[1] The American College Health Association states in their guidelines that colleges may resume in-person activities if there is rigorous testing, contact tracing, and isolation/quarantine of infected and symptomatic individuals on campus and in the larger community.[2] Every college that has reopened should have the capacity to run diagnostic testing on students, staff, and faculty on a regular basis. If the college can do this, then it should remain open for in-person activities. If it cannot, then it should close until it can test everyone regularly again.

Counter arguments

Even if colleges have adequate testing capacities, there are still going to be issues that come with reopening colleges. Firstly, the cost of testing is very high. For example, the University of Wisconsin expects to pay $20 million for each round of college-wide testing.[1]The chancellor of California State University, Timothy White, says that testing half of the college's student population each week will cost $25 million per week.[1] This high cost is too much to handle for many institutions, so remaining closed and moving everything online for now seems like the better option.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/05/22/scientists-testing-capacity-may-be-adequate-colleges-open-fall
  2. https://www.acha.org/documents/resources/guidelines/ACHA_Considerations_for_Reopening_IHEs_in_the_COVID-19_Era_May2020.pdf

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This page was last edited on Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 06:51 UTC

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