If governmental authorities permit it, Purdue University indicated it will open campus for in-person instruction this coming fall, “determined not to surrender helplessly” to problems created by the coronavirus pandemic.
One reason Purdue president Mitch Daniels cited for the decision to open is that 80% of Purdue’s population is made up of people under the age of 35, saying that “all data to date tell us that the COVID-19 virus, while it transmits rapidly in this age group, poses close to zero lethal threat to them.”
“Purdue University, for its part, intends to accept students on campus in typical numbers this fall, sober about the certain problems that the COVID-19 virus represents…,” said Daniels in a letter to the university community. Instead of giving in to problems created by the pandemic, he said the university will, “tackle and manage them aggressively and creatively.”
A big reason to reopen, Daniels said, is “evidence reveals that students who live and spend more of their time on campus succeed academically at higher rates.”
Still, he said the university will take measures to protect the vulnerable, including the 20% of Purdue’s population that is older than 35. The institution will keep these groups separate, or minimize contact between them, by spreading out classes across days and times and virtualizing laboratory work, among other measures.
The university will also try to conduct pre-testing of students and staff for infection and post-infection immunity before arrival in August. It may also conduct tests through the year, using the university laboratory.