The Right Thing To Do

In my opinion, we should do what we can to not have anyone on any college campus — administrators, faculty, staff, and students, until at least June 1st. We must have a better idea about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in our country. 

According to Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, the coronavirus could kill millions of Americans.  

“We have 350 million people in the United States, and you do the math, If 70 million people are eventually infected with this virus and again if there are multiple waves of this virus, then you can do the math and then you can get there,” said Dr. Neuzil to CNBC. 

I trust researchers. The chance of dangerously contaminating millions of Americans with the coronavirus seems very real, from what I’m hearing. Colleges in Oregon cancelled all Spring semester (in-person) classes and graduation. That’s the right protocol under a pandemic of this caliber, I would argue. 

Schools in Tennessee must follow the example set by Oregon. 

Instead of asking employees to come to campus right now, schools in our state should make plans to deliver classes on-line until the end of the term and encourage everyone to be in their houses or dorm. For a few years, I’ve written a column for the Cleveland Daily Banner about technology moderation. 

It wasn’t called technology boycott!

With the level of educational technology that we have at our disposal today, offering a class on-line in college or homeschooling a kid using modern instructional technology tools, we can get the work done.   

Public trust about colleges and universities in America is low, regardless of whether a citizen belongs to the republican or democratic parties. At least, this is what the Gallop has stated in their 2015-2018 survey about confidence in higher education. What a great opportunity for institutions of higher learning to reverse this trend and be proactive about assisting with this crisis. 

Maybe colleges and universities should partner with hospitals by opening their facilities to serve as a space for emergency beds before a crisis hits a particular town. Think about it. If Cleveland, TN, overnight has twenty five thousand people contaminated with the coronavirus, how is Tennova going to handle that?   

This strategy would make colleges and universities look like a hero in any community. To me, this is the logical thing to do. In the current landscape that higher education is in these days, good publicity wouldn’t do us any harm.   

What an opportunity to do the right thing, I say. Legislators, please make it official mandate the non-essential workforce to stay home. All non-essential workers should stay home. Let’s protect those who are in need and the doctors who are able to help us with this pandemic. 

That’ s my plea.