Please Try to Be Like Our Students
What America and the World Can Learn from Small Residential
With precautions in place,
classrooms and other formal on-campus spaces aren’t important vectors of viral spread.
Off-campus social gatherings are
the top drivers of coronavirus at colleges.
Residences have been the primary
on-campus place where the virus has spread.
Entry and surveillance testing are
College-student outbreaks can
lead to infection and deaths among vulnerable people.
institutions with four-year residency and robust testing and prevention
protocols have fared surprisingly well. In recent conversations with presidents
from peer institutions, we all acknowledged that the spread of the virus in our
surrounding communities has been much worse than any outbreaks on our
are a number of reasons for this:
We have used scientifically-based
approaches to mitigation and prevention.
Those of us that have been able
to de-densify our residence halls have been able to reduce the spread of cases when
there has been an outbreak on campus.
Systematic testing has been invaluable
for early detection and for identifying and isolating asymptomatic positive
We have built a cultural of
compliance that includes consequences for those who do not adhere to community
the scores of presidents with whom I have spoken, none reported the
transmission of COVID-19 in a classroom or other formal campus space. On each
of our campuses, we have set up protocols for reduced occupancy, adequate
distancing, mandatory mask wearing, and increased sanitation and airflow.
Susquehanna, all spaces are labeled for occupancy, doors and hallways are
labeled to create one-way navigation through buildings, UV air scrubbers and hepa
filters have been distributed in buildings, and we have ongoing individual and
wastewater testing. We have also asked all members of our campus community to
register their travel. There is a shared sense of responsibility that has
prompted many of our students to exceed our guidelines.
of the cases we have had on campus can be traced to a handful of students who
visited another campus for a social gathering.
object lessons to be taken from our experience are:
We are dependent upon each other
to stay safe.
Adhering to scientific guidelines
Maintaining best practices will
protect us all.
Curtailing travel and remaining masked
in the presence of all those who are not your roommates/housemates are of
A small number of non-compliant
individuals can have a significant negative impact.
the fall semester, when students were alone off-campus, they frequently remained
masked even when they were nowhere near others. I have had many people from the
surrounding community praise our students for being good role models for the
hope they can be role models for all of us. As a nation, if we can muster the
same commitment and resolve to keep each other safe that we have witnessed on
our campus, the curve will flatten again as we wait for widespread inoculation.
It is on all of us to keep each other safe.