OXFORD, Ohio. — Miami University will require all its students to be tested for COVID-19 as the number of positive cases climbs by the day.
In-person learning is scheduled to begin Sept. 21, but some students said they’re not confident they’ll actually step foot inside a classroom this semester.
“I’m holding out hope that we’ll go back in person,” said Tim Carlin, a news editor of The Miami Student. “I just don’t know how realistic that is now.”
Carlin and Briah Lumpkins, both Miami students who work for the college paper, said they would love to pound the pavement for stories on campus, but feel like bad news is just around the corner.
“I think for most people when you see cases go up so drastically like they have at Miami, it’s like ‘Okay, there’s no way we’re going back,’” said Lumpkins, also a news editor for The Student.
Both students said the university emails updates frequently and encourages social distancing so that may be possible.
“Almost like pleading with the student body to kind of like get their act together, so we could see a decrease in cases,” Lumpkins said.
The university said it has now seen more than 500 cases of COVID-19 and is requiring a daily symptom assessment for all students, faculty and staff. Citing an abundance of caution, the Butler County Health District previously ordered all student-athletes who returned to campus to quarantine for 14 days after 27 positive COVID-19 tests were reported on various teams Monday. School officials traced many of those positive cases to an off-campus social gathering in early August.
“They’ve tried and they’ve sent out emails and try to connect with students off campus as we’re seeing an increase, so I’m really not sure what more they could do,” Lumpkins said.
Both students agree – like any good story – there are two sides to this debate.
“It’s a hard duality to recognize that you don’t want to put your professors' and their families’ lives at risk by going back in person, but you also value that in-person education,” Carlin said.
WCPO reached out to a Miami University spokesperson to ask if there’s a certain threshold for number of cases or infection rate that would prompt the school to take classes remote. WCPO will update this story with their reply.