One under-remarked aspect of the corporatization/commercialization of the contemporary American university is that all universities strive constantly to differentiate themselves from their competitors to their potential customers, but they all end up looking pretty similar, for the same reasons an Accord is always going to be pretty similar to Camry.
This principle applies to how schools have dealt with the COVID epidemic. Here’s something a friend wrote this weekend:
Just had to pick up my son from college. Made it two whole weeks. He is in Kelley Business school at IU.
In my mind IU is doing it “right”. He had to submit a negative Covid test from the week before showing up in campus. Had to take another test upon arrival.
Mandatory masks everywhere. Contact tracing through their app. Random testing. Isolating positives and quarantining exposures (very draconian system – auto locked out of your room and building).
None of it worked. 1000 cases in 2 weeks. Covid dorm is full. Kids from out of state/region are being sent to hotels, local kids sent home. My son said the Covid kids are partying their asses off in the hotels. Doing crazy shots because they can’t taste anything (makes total sense to the college brain)
My sons roommate tested positive on Friday (result late Friday night). He is in the Covid hotel. My son was going to have to head to quarantine on Saturday – but he woke up with fever so I just drove down to get him.
I had Covid 2 months ago – CDC is saying I have 3 months of immunity. I still didn’t take any chances. Masks and shields for both of us. He sat in 3rd row and we drove the whole way with windows down.
I was optimistic this would work on campus. I was wrong.
This whole half-ass approach with contradictory policies is nonsense. Trump fucked this all up from the jump. At this point there are no good answers. It is going to rip through colleges no matter what anyone does.
Universities are nearly perfect environments for virus transmission, and you can’t wish that fact away, no matter how much proactive synergistic out of the box disruptive thought leadership is displayed by our administrative overlords and their expensive consultants.