COVID19 and Education Initiatives

COVID19 has not only been affected those that catch the virus, but it has administrators in every field on their knees. Already over six states have chosen to shutdown all of their schools, and according to Insider Higher Ed’s crowd-sourced data set, almost 250 colleges and universities have chosen to suspend or close on-campus classes for this semester.

Out of the roughly 7000 colleges and universities in the U.S. the approximate 250 schools shutting down is surprisingly low. It begs the question, what are educational administrators thinking?

With the rapid increase in cases in the past few days, the amount of school shutdowns has also increased at a similar rate. It shows that only with the establishment of a serious pandemic did schools take action, which makes sense, as launching remote learning on such a massive scale is unpredictable and requires much more thought from the administrative side. However the spread of disease is shown to be very significantly impacted by protective measures such as school closures as cited in this article ( https://www.vox.com/2020/3/10/21171481/coronavirus-us-cases-quarantine-cancellation), so it begs the question of why are there still so little schools that have taken action?

It is present that with the map shown that near states with a heavy concentration of cases, there are a significant concentration of school closures, as this is where there would be the most drastic risk of anybody at the schools contracted the virus.

With the very gradual increase in cases in the US in the previous two months, it makes sense that administrators may have been hesitant to take any large scale action on the issue, as the problem may not have seemed potent enough. However the CDC and other American health systems recommend for schools to take protective measures should something be of a worldwide issue, and COVID19 has been established as a worldwide issue much before schools took any action.

The rate at which spread of COVID19 has been on a steady rise since almost an entire month ago, and only recently have less than 5% of U.S. colleges and universities have done anything about it. Only once it becomes an issue in their immediate location, or in their own country at the least do they try and take the necessary measures to protect their students from something that has already been a problem.

Could it be that educational administrators understand that the students’ age demographic is least likely to experience the virus as badly, and therefore refuse to sacrifice the educational experience that remote-learning lacks? Possibly, but at the same time they would be ignoring that protective measures are not just for their own students, it’s to slow the spread of the disease altogether.

Please let me know if any facts or numbers are misleading or incorrect (keep in mind when this was last updated) and any thoughts on my speculation for these trends.

Dataset sources: Crowd-sourced college and university shutdowns ( https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/03/11/crowdsourced-google-doc-shutdowns), Cases overtime ( https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19/blob/master/csse_covid_19_data/csse_covid_19_time_series/time_series_19-covid-Confirmed.csv)

UIUC CS | alecchendev.com

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