As fall semester proceeds or draws nigh, more colleges and universities are considering or implementing switches from face-to-face education to online experience. Meanwhile, two leading public health voices have come out in strong opposition to these Toggle Terms.
To recap: Toggle Terms are when a campus swaps in-person for wholly digital teaching during a semester. Confirmed examples from this fall include: Colorado College, Gettysburg College, James Madison University, Lock Haven University, North Carolina State University, Notre Dame, SUNY Oneonta, Temple University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Wyoming. Additionally, Temple University expanded its remote instruction period to cover the rest of fall 2020.
However, Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks sending students off campus is a terrible idea. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” he said on NBC. Instead, we should:
“…keep them at the university in a place that’s sequestered enough from the other students but don’t have them go home because they could be spreading it in their homes.”
“When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection…”
Another leading voice agreed:
“Sending these individuals back home in their asymptomatic state to spread the virus in their hometown or among their vulnerable households could really re-create what we experienced over the June time frame in the South,” [Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force] said, according to a source on the call.
I’m not sure how influential these statements will be. Will they arguments slow down Toggle Terms? Will Birx and/or Fauci give more strength to campus leaders urging on-site quarantines? Or are they irrelevant in the face of infection statistics and institutional priorities?
(thanks to Amy Pearlman)