Over the past month, many colleges and universities have reopened for the fall semester. While some are only offering classes online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, others are going ahead with in-person education. Though all of these institutions are taking some precautions, like mask mandates and social distancing, thousands of students have still contracted the virus since classes began in August.
To find the colleges that reopened and experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed university dashboards at colleges in all 50 states to gather data. We also reviewed college case tracking stories from The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, and the Inside Higher Ed website to compile our list. Cumulative COVID-19 cases per 100,000 as of Sept. 13 in the state, metro area, or county in which the school is located came from state and local health authorities.
There are dozens of colleges that have reported that hundreds of their students have tested positive for COVID-19 since being allowed back on campus. A handful have confirmed well over 1,000 cases.
While parties and other social gatherings — in defiance of safety regulations — have certainly contributed to the spread of the virus, health experts also pointed out that college students often work essential jobs, such as at grocery stores or restaurants. They recommend a robust testing strategy, in which everyone on campus is tested multiple times per week.
Some students are also at higher risk of contracting the virus simply because of where they go to school. All of the schools with over 1,000 cases are either in the South or Midwest, regions where COVID-19 cases are more common than in other parts of the country. From Sept. 7-13, the U.S. averaged 10.9 daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. Over the same period, 15 states reported more than 15 average daily new cases per 100,000 residents during that week — all of them are either in the South or Midwest. These are the states where COVID-19 is growing the fastest right now.
Younger students in grade school are also returning to classes. Like colleges, school districts are also deciding whether to offer in-person or remote learning options for their students. State education agencies typically issue some sort of guidance for these districts on how to reopen if they choose to do so. This is how schools are managing COVID-19 in every state.
Click here to see the colleges that reopened and saw a spike in COVID cases