Martin Kich on Academe Blog considers the implications of re-opening univeristies – and what’s being over-looked by more vocal planners:
Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana has announced his intention to have on-site classes in the fall, emphasizing that about 80% of the West Lafayette community is under the age of 35 and therefore less vulnerable. It seems very improbable, however, that 80% of the university’s faculty and staff are under the age of 35 or that having a large number of asymptomatic carriers of the virus will be reassuring to anyone in the community who is over 35 or living with someone over 35.
If continuing to do most classes online is deemed untenable even for another semester or two, how tenable will it be if even one in three faculty at any university contracts the virus and has to be self-quarantined for several weeks?
How tenable will it be if even one in six faculty have a more severe form of the disease or even have to be hospitalized for treatment and need to be on medical leave for more than two weeks?
How tenable will it be if even a small number of faculty die from the disease?
Add to this the factor that the disease can spread between town and gown by asymptotic carriers and the risk becomes even less tenable. MinnState: take note, please.