Cases soar as colleges open across the nation


As the start of the school year grew closer, departments of health and education across the nation were forced to make the concerning decision of whether it was safe to send students back to school during the Coronavirus pandemic. Many colleges, universities, and grade schools decided to open, leaving many worried that cases would start to rise. Schools around the country have taken what they think are the right precautions to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, sending students back to colleges has caused a large spike in cases in the surrounding areas.

Many schools have already shut down within the first month of reopening. The University of North Carolina decided to abruptly shut down in-person classes after 130 students had already tested positive by August 18, according to NPR news. Universities and colleges all around the country have made the conscious decision to cancel classes in person after COVID-19 cases have spiked on and off campus.

Healthy people are also capable of spreading the virus, which makes it very hard to contain. According to the Advisory Board, “Around 30% of patients who tested positive for the new coronavirus were asymptomatic, but they still carried just as much of the virus as symptomatic patients—and for nearly as long.” People who are asymptomatic show no signs of symptoms, but are still contagious. This may have contributed to the rise in cases at colleges. This is why it is so important to ensure that everyone is taking the right precautions because it can be very hard to determine who may or may not be infected without actual testing. 

At the beginning of July, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania had decided to mandate the wearing of masks in order to prevent the spread. According to Mayo Clinic, cloth masks are “intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it.” Masks are most effective in public settings or large gatherings. “Countries that required face masks, testing, isolation and social distancing early in the pandemic have successfully slowed the spread of the virus,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Penn State started online classes for the fall semester and first-year students moved on campus on August 17-20 and upperclassmen moved on August 21. However, on August 19, there were reports of parties taking place on campus. These parties gathered large amounts of students, who were not socially distancing or wearing face masks. Since the return of students, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases in Centre County. 

According to, since just September 1, our county has added 2,176 new cases. On September 15, Centre County added 212 new cases which as of now, is the most cases our county has added in one day. 

Due to how contagious and easily spread this virus is, it is extremely important to be following all the precautions and regulations in order to best prevent the spread. Some teenagers and young adults might have the mindset that because they are younger, this virus will not affect them. Yet, it is important to realize the impact it can have on the community around them. 

The impact this virus could have on families and schools can be long-lasting and far-reaching. People are losing their lives and we still do not have any definitive answers on the long term health effects of those who were infected and have recovered. The best our community can do to prevent the spread is to follow all the regulations and precautions in order to get back to normalcy as soon and safely as we can.