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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 staff health concerns

If there are a high percentage of at risk staff, you might not want to reopen, or might face staffing shortages.

The Argument

Staff health concerns have been a major factor in deciding whether or not schools should open, and worries of spreading the COVID-19 virus has been a major concern for teachers and staff. With many teachers and students already adjusting to the online learning scenario, some teachers have already gone back to regular in-class learning. Though many teachers were reluctant to go back to teaching in-person, their dedication to their career and students left them with no other options. Since the re-opening of schools and universities in August, at least six teachers have died due to COVID-19, alarming fellow teachers and staff, as well as their students.[1] The rising number of cases and deaths since the re-opening of schools has caused alarm for many teachers and students, especially for those who are at high risk for contracting the virus in COVID-19 hot spots. Children and younger students have a lower risk of experiencing severe symptoms compared to adults, who are at higher risk. Though the risk is lower for students, schools and universities should not impose on putting their staff at risk, with the death rate much lower for younger students than it is for elderly staff. [2] Staffing shortages have also played a major role in deciding to re-open schools. If most staff members are concerned about their health, they will most likely not return. This can cause a staffing issue in universities and schools, with not enough teachers to teach in person. Until the number of COVID-19 cases goes down, teachers and students should resort to online schooling for the time being to avoid shortages in staff.

Counter arguments

Many students rely on in-class learning styles, and with the implementation of online learning, their education could hinder significantly. Students rely on the in-person interaction between student and professor, being able to ask questions, and not have to deal with technological interferences that they may face with online classes. Though adults over the age of 50 are at higher risk than students, there are precautionary measures that can help reduce the risk of spreading the virus among colleges and universities to keep both students and staff safe. Keeping a six-foot distance between each student and teacher, wearing face coverings at all times, and maintaining healthy hygiene are all steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Students and staff should all return to school for in-class learning, especially in areas where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is significantly lower.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2020/09/10/at-least-6-american-teachers-some-in-their-20s-and-30s-dead-from-covid-19/#5fd79a104049
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html
This page was last edited on Monday, 23 Nov 2020 at 12:12 UTC

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