Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Blame Pollyanna Presidents When Covid-19 Plans Fail

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Blame Pollyanna Presidents When Covid-19 Plans Fail, by Gregg Gonsalves (Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Co-director of Global Health Justice Partnership, Yale):

CoronavirusAs the pandemic rages in many states, some college presidents are engaging in wishful thinking and hubris, believing they can keep the coronavirus at bay by relying on piecemeal responses. Sadly, we’re already experiencing outbreaks on campuses and retreats to remote learning: the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the first major institutions that have seen the virus outwit their best plans. There will be many more over the coming weeks. ...

As we see more and more outbreaks on campuses, university presidents and trustees will run for cover, and these kinds of rationalizations for what they did and did not do are going to come in a torrent. They’ll blame students first and foremost for breaking campus codes of conduct, and bring the hammer down on them. ...

But who is being irresponsible here? ... [I]f a college’s plan to manage the coronavirus hangs on the behavior of 18- to 22-year-olds, it isn’t much of a plan at all; it’s a house of cards ready to collapse at a moment’s notice.

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