As our semester comes to a close, there seems to be a significant lingering question in everyone’s mind: what are we going to do for the fall? The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t necessarily show signs of getting better quite yet.
Although this is the case, many experts, such as the White House’s Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that the current quarantine guidelines may have to remain in place until the country experiences a prolonged period of no new cases or deaths. A Harvard study even showed that social distancing guidelines may have to extend through 2022, which would raise an obvious question about how the school will conduct the fall semester.
However, the current tensions between economic and public health interests have called into question exactly how these guidelines will continue and importantly, who they will apply to.
Right now, countries around the world are dealing with these aforementioned tensions. The world economy is in shambles, and major questions are being asked about whether or not the cost of keeping people safe from the virus outweighs the cost of placing more people into joblessness and poverty. Some countries, like Sweden, are beginning to experiment with the possibility of just keeping at risk groups at home and letting others go back to work with some success.
With this in mind, we do not think it would be unreasonable to think that the United States government would take a similar path, as it is the world’s leading economy. This has significant implications for all areas of our lives, but this decision will not be reached within a few weeks, at the least. Because of this ever-evolving pandemic landscape, the board believes it would be too preemptive on part of Villanova to make its decision on whether or not we should come back for the fall semester any time soon.
There have been substantial rumors floating that other colleges, such as Harvard and Boston University, have already made the decision to not bring their students back in the fall and are simply weighing options on how best to do this. Many national news outlets have covered Boston University’s potential plans, but in the context of its full Recovery Plan, bringing students back to campus in 2021 is one of the worst case scenarios for the school.
We ask that the University does not take the early decisions of other schools into account and look to set a precedent at this time. Most students are crossing their fingers that we will come back in the fall, despite understanding that the University faces difficult decisions regarding student, faculty and staff health.
Because of the difficulty of this decision and the fact that the fall semester is still a long way off, we would like to encourage the administration to take all of the time it needs to reach a decision on this matter, and we sincerely hope to be seeing everyone again in the fall.