Back to School During a Pandemic

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When we left campus and began teaching on Zoom in mid-March, many of us assumed by September, COVID-19 would be behind us. We were wrong. I can hardly believe this is still going on, but the virus persists and while we wait for medical technology to save us, we walk around with masks and awkwardly keep our social distance.

Politicians all over the world have tried to balance reopening the economy against eliminating this virus and many got it wrong. Few did as badly as U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration and as a result, the United States has more disease and death than any other nation in the world.We have over 6.2 million cases and nearly 190,000 deaths.

Here in New York, we have succeeded in driving down the rate of infection and death, but we are terrified that we will fall victim to visitors from other states who refused to take the draconian steps that we did and will come here after Labor Day and bring their disease with them. Universities typically welcome students from all over the nation and all over the world in September, but this fall finds universities like the one I work for opening gingerly, with care and great caution. Some of those that failed to open carefully have already closed down. Students violating health rules are being expelled from school.

+ info: Columbia University

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