Matthew called my attention to a tweet quoting this article from Yale University’s student paper, the Yale Daily News. (Click on the screenshot).
Unlike most colleges, which are closing as fast as a revolving door, Yale plans to reopen this fall with stringent health protocols in place. Only three cohorts (first- third- and fourth year students) will be able to live on campus, and while classes will mostly be conducted remotely, some, involving lab or studio work, will be live.
According to the article below, Yale’s school of public health has set out conditions for a safe reopening, which includes Covid-19 testing of all students twice a week, at a cost of $25 to $30 per test. (The article doesn’t mention testing staff, faculty, or other employees.)
But this is the part that got me. (Remember that the residence heads of Silliman college used to be Nicholas and Erika Christakis, both hounded out of their Silliman jobs because of a Halloween-costume email from Erika telling students to use their own discretion.) Here’s another, and much scarier, email (my emphasis):
From the paper:
In a July 1 email to Silliman College residents when Yale first announced its plan to reopen on-campus housing, Head of College and psychology professor Laurie Santos warned Yale’s “community compact” was not to be taken lightly, treated like some course readings and skimmed for main ideas. She explained that some staff members are from sectors of society that are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and that they do not have the choice of whether to come to campus. At the time, Yale was planning to test returning students once per week — a plan that the University modified several weeks later, when it announced that it would instead test students twice weekly.
“We all should be emotionally prepared for widespread infections — and possibly deaths — in our community,” Santos’s email reads. “You should emotionally prepare for the fact that your residential college life will look more like a hospital unit than a residential college.”
What the heck? Deaths and hospital units? If Dr. Santos is serious, and I assume she is, the students shouldn’t be coming back at all. In fact, I think it’s unwise for nearly any college to start live teaching with residential students this fall, and college after college is changing its plans to reopen (cf. Notre Dame, Michigan State, University of North Carolina); more will come.
Covid-19 isn’t under control, students will be converging at colleges from all over the country as well as from overseas, and many students have proven themselves unwilling to abide by quarantine restrictions. (Horrific scenes of crowded parties, without mask-wearing, have appeared often.) And really, can you expect students to come back to school and socialize only with single other students wearing masks and staying six feet apart? What kind of college experience is that? Moreover, they’ll be living in college and learning remotely. (Living away from college and learning remotely may be safer, but it’s just as dreadful for one’s education. Were I a Yalie or a Harvard student, I’d simply take a year’s absence.
Is there any college out there that can open “safely,” that is, the risk of a viral infection is outweighed by the advantages of being together with a lot of isolated students and learning mostly from a computer screen? I can’t imagine one.