The safe reopening of colleges in the US will depend on students behaviors

Students will have to adhere to rules in order to have a safe reopening of colleges across the US. Doubts have also been cast on whether students will follow rules such as social distancing meant to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Plan to reopen universities and colleges across the US has gained traction in the last few weeks, and many institutions are now indicating plans to reopen schools this fall. New cases of coronavirus have also significantly dropped across the country and the safe reopening guidelines have also been released by the Trump administration.

The safe reopening of colleges

The safety of students has been a concern for many of these colleges looking to reopen in the fall. A major issue that has been overlooked so far is how students will adhere to the rules set aside meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In an opinion piece written in Washington Post, Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University, in Indiana which has over 45,000, described this dilemma.

He argued that the reopening of colleges and universities depended on how the students behaved. He said that universities had to figure out how to change the culture of students which can only be achieved by urging students to forego some of their activities in order to curb the virus.

Purdue university reopening guidelines

At Purdue University, Daniels said they will implement a ‘Protect Purdue Pledge’ that will require students to pledge some level of inconvenience during the semesters. He said some of these inconveniences will include forgoing concerts, convocations and fraternity parties

Daniels continued by outlining a plan to have students undergo ultraism through compliance with rules set aside to help in curbing the spread of the virus. He said that this was the only way the reopening of colleges would be safe.

Susan Blum, professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, however, was skeptical about students following rules that inconvenience their college experience. She said it was naive to assume that the students would follow the rules set aside to help curb the spread of the virus after reopening colleges.

She continued by saying that she believed that students were capable of adhering to these rules, however, there were many competing forces that worked against such a possibility. She cast doubt on the possibility of students changing their behavior for the benefit of their environment and curbing the virus.


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