All Points Medical Waste Blog
College Campuses & COVID-19
Will Universities Be a New Epicenter for the Virus?
Student athletes around the country have begun returning to college campuses to start training for their upcoming seasons and universities are preparing to welcome back tens of thousands of students in just a few weeks. In early July, there were several outbreaks among coaches, athletes and staff, including 37 people at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and 22 at Boise State. There have also been clusters of infections traced back to college town bars.
And now, as Florida continues to see dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases, the concern is that colleges will soon become a new epicenter of the disease, causing many more thousands to become infected and continue spreading it to others.
How Universities Will Mitigate Risk
Experts have reported that the spread of COVID-19 increases in enclosed spaces where people are gathered in close proximity to each other. Places like classrooms, bars, dorm rooms and common areas, etc. are of concern. Talking, coughing, sneezing, etc. increases the risk of the spread of the virus through tiny droplets lingering in the air and subsequently infecting those who breathe them in. So universities that commit to reopening and hosting in-person classes are tasked with preventing the spread of COVID-19 among their students, faculty and staff.
Measures that are being proposed for fall include:
- Requiring masks of all students, faculty and staff while on campus
- Physical distancing within classrooms—placing desks and tables at least 6 feet apart when possible
- Disinfection of all touch-points after each class and at the beginning and end of each day
- Assessing AC systems to determine efficient ventilation
- Temperature and symptom screenings
- Requiring students to report any symptoms or exposure to university officials immediately
- Mandating quarantine of students who test positive and those who have been exposed
- Offering remote classes and hybrids of on-campus and off-campus options
Infections Among Students Puts Others at Risk
While health officials report that young people generally fare better when infected with COVID-19, there are those who do become very ill and others who have died from it. In addition, students who become infected can pass the disease to professors, campus staff and others who are older and may have underlying health conditions.
There’s no doubt that there are many factors to consider over the next few weeks to prevent college campuses from becoming hotbeds of COVID-19. And while everyone recognizes the need for students to resume their education, the process must include best practices for stopping the spread and offer students alternatives to traditional on-campus classes.
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