Colleges and universities that require their students – not asked, not suggested, not tried to argue – to follow safety protocols regarding the spread of the coronavirus appear to have the fewest cases of COVID-19.
Clear evidence of this statement is Hamilton, a liberal arts college in Clinton, NY. As of September 18, there have been 0 cases of COVID-19 as recorded since the students’ arrival.
Hamilton, with a student population of around 1,800, had to be tested for the virus before arriving and after arriving at school. accompanied students into town when they need to shop; and has assigned students in their own bubbles, size of about 10 students.
Vige Barrie, senior director of media relations at Hamilton College, said the entire campus had worked hard to keep cases to zero. The Dean of Studies wrote in an email: “We have received a small number of reports from students who do not wear masks or who do not physically distance themselves from each other and that these students have received a warning. A second violation requires that they leave campus leaving and distance learning. Two students have been blamed for a more serious COVID injury and are facing suspension. “
According to its website, all students must live on campus.
Other schools, like Barry University in Miami, Florida, also stepped off and insisted that all people who come to campus fill out a questionnaire related to their physical condition. At the University of Hawaii-Manoa, everyone on campus has to fill out information in an app every morning and submit it to the authorities.
At Brigham Young University, Idaho, students knew the school was on business in April: the school posted on its website, subject to all state laws, that state quarantine violations, social distancing, travel violations, or more, and the students could be charged Offense. Brigham Young, enrolling approximately 20,000, reported 8 cases of students on September 18. Classes take place indoors.
Both Barry University (7,180) and the University of Hawaii (17,400) reported one case each as of September 10, 2020.
Elsewhere in the higher world
And then there are the schools that make the headlines.
The students were sent home from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because of a surge in COVID cases. Tests were not mandatory and were only offered to students on campus. The University of Alabama had restrictions after students returned to campus. As of September 3, 1935 cases had been reported. Bars and restaurants were closed for a period and then penalties were imposed for violations, including suspensions after repeated incidents.
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison on August 21, 2020, Chancellor Rebecca Blank ordered the university police to enforce the wearing of face masks.
On September 15, the university announced that the number of positive COVID-19 cases had increased higher and faster than expected. It offered a full tuition refund that would expire on September 18.
The University of Michigan was in an uproar over its voluntary testing and tracking policies: PhD students went on strike for a while, and the Senate of the University of Michigan faculty gave the Chancellor a vote of no confidence in what they called a lack of transparency on reopening of decisions.
There are many stories of young, healthy adults who contracted COVID-19 and become very sick, and some have died. When Iowa State University announced that 25,000 fans could enter the stadium to watch a football game, there was outrage. The university is located in Ames, Iowa, and Ames experienced the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The decision was reversed and the stadium remained empty during the game.
COVID-19 and Heart Damage in College Athletes
COVID can cause myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), which can be caused by viral infections. More information emerged when the state of Ohio recently reported heart problems in soccer players who had mild or no symptoms of COVID. If myocarditis is diagnosed, the student cannot participate in athletics until the inflammation has subsided. Whether COVID can cause heart damage and secondary athletes remains to be seen, but why take the risk?
Why don’t young adults take the threat seriously?
How do you get young adults to protect themselves and others from a virus that makes and kills people of all ages around the world?
Murali Naidu, MD, CEO of Doctors Hospital in Manteca, California, admits that the surge in COVID cases in colleges and universities confirms concerns that young adults are not following CDC recommendations. Dr. Naidu recommends modeling the correct behavior with 100% compliance by “ALL employees, ALL faculties, ALL managers”.
Amanda Gilmore, PhD, of the Georgia State University School of Public Health, suggests that college students and young adults in general “don’t just disobey guidelines.” They are trying to gain independence and develop a “social life with their peers” during a pandemic.
Dr. Gilmore says the difficulties these young adults face are related to brain development. The part of the brain that helps people make complex decisions is called the frontal cortex, and it isn’t fully developed until they are 25 years old. So young adults are at a disadvantage when it comes to making the best decisions.
Dr. Gilmore suggests that college students often think they need to engage in risky behaviors in order to fit in with their peers. She recommends that strategies to help college students follow the guidelines include college guidelines that “encourage health promoting behaviors such as social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large gatherings.”
There are other schools that have figured out how to get students to collaborate. On September 10, the New York Times reported that more than 160 colleges have no COVID-19 cases among students. The article offers a search function to show the number of cases in colleges and universities. Those with zero cases will not be found in the list; You will be found by searching for a specific school.
How colleges protect their students from COVID-19
Given the potential short- and long-term health effects of COVID-19, colleges and universities may want to consider the strategies some colleges are using to keep their students safe.
Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, has 1,850 students and not a single case of COVID-19 since the students arrived on August 17. Students were given very clear instructions on student behavior prior to their arrival and on campus. These included:
- All non-state students were required to follow New York State’s Executive Quarantine Ordinance
- Scheduled arrival on campus
- The move had to be completed within the 2-hour window
- The tests were conducted and reported prior to arrival
- The tests were carried out upon arrival on campus
- The student was quarantined with a roommate for 48 hours
- Meals were delivered to the dormitories
- As soon as the negative results were known, the students were allowed to leave their dormitory
- The students were assigned to cohorts of 10-12
- All students must adhere to a residency distancing plan
- All students live on campus
- The tests are continued twice a week
- A positive test triggers the isolation plan
Students are escorted to and from the local grocery and drug store as needed.
Only 2 out of 1,850 students committed a significant violation, which seems to support the belief that modeling appropriate behavior and providing clear expectations will encourage students to follow the guidelines.
Keeping students on campus regardless of their testing status can control the spread and avoid the real possibility of community spread if classes are interrupted on campus and students are sent home from school.
Apparently the control of the small groups counts. At the University of Southern California, USC Student Health’s chief health officer, Sarah Van Orman, told the Los Angeles Times that it’s not the fraternity parties themselves that are the COVID-19 hotspots.
“There are 5 to 10 people sharing a meal together. There are study groups and board games. “
Yvonne Stolworthy MSN, RN graduated from nursing school in 1984 and has had a varied career. Many years have been spent in intensive care. She has been an educator in a variety of settings including clinical trials. She is currently applying her nursing knowledge to health journalism.