Opinion: College students shouldn’t have returned


Ella Adams, Managing Editor

After 177 total students tested positive for COVID-19, administrators at UNC Chapel Hill made the hasty choice to move students out and classes online. 

Other North Carolina universities, including ECU and NC State, have closed their doors to students early in the semester after seeing COVID-19 cases rapidly rise. 

As of Aug. 29, Watauga County has 5o4 total cases, 164 of those being App State students. Based on Aug. 29 data, there are 71 active cases, 41 coming from students. With cases on the rise and fewer people taking precautions, App State is on track to join other universities and move classes online. 

So what’s the hesitation to close? Only one week into the semester, App State employees and students, including multiple players on the football team, are getting sick. But, there is no sign of slowing down. 

North Carolina universities, including App State, have chosen to put their students and employees at risk by opening. The assumption that 18- to 21-year-old undergraduate students would constantly wear a mask, not attend parties and keep their social contact to a minimum is not realistic. Therefore, the administration cannot expect these regulations to work if everyone isn’t following them. 

App State students aren’t the only ones at risk. Boone and Watauga County have seen a sharp increase in cases due to the arrival of students, and they are putting residents at risk. With students practicing varying levels of COVID-19 precautions and testing not required before coming back to campus, there is no telling how many COVID-19 cases students have brought to App State.

Of course, there is no guidebook on “how to run a university during a pandemic.” The decision to open up was undoubtedly carefully considered, and administrators have put many regulations in place to keep students safe, such as mandatory mask orders around campus, hand sanitizing stations and accessible testing. Many classes are already online or hybrid, but as long as students are on campus, COVID-19 will continue to spread. 

Regardless of the precautions, COVID-19 is still spreading, and more people are getting sick every day. The best way to keep App State students, employees and Watauga County residents safe is to close the school.


A correction was published on Aug. 31.