Even though the White House Coronavirus Task Force is telling colleges to keep students who contract the novel coronavirus quarantined on campus, many colleges are sending the students back home anyway.
The Daily Beast reports that many colleges are ordering their COVID-infected students to go home even though experts say doing so is likely to accelerate community spread.
In one particularly disastrous example, Georgia Southern University last week ordered infected students to vacate the campus during their quarantine periods, even going so far as to kick them out of off-campus housing.
"That lack of containment has had severe consequences," writes The Daily Beast. "Statesboro, the small town where Georgia Southern is located, registered more than 700 positive coronavirus cases during the last two weeks in August. It was one of the highest per capita rates of increase in any United States metro area during that stretch, according to data from Johns Hopkins University."
Other college towns that have emerged as infection hotspots include Iowa City and Ames, Iowa, as well as the Alabama city of Auburn.
“The original sin was inviting the students back to campus,” Michael Innis-Jimenez, a professor of American studies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, tells The Daily Beast. “And now it’s going to be very problematic to get them home. I think they finally saw that at the White House.”