Only one week before students are set to move in for the start of the fall semester, Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley announced in a letter to students planning to live in the dorms that they should stay home and take their classes online.
To date, the CDC has recorded 242 COVID-related deaths in 2020 for Americans between the ages of 15-24 out of 17, 079 cases.
Detroit Free Press– “Given the current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they repopulate their campus communities — it has become evident to me that, despite our best efforts and strong planning, it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus,” President Samuel Stanley said in a letter to students.
“So, effective immediately, we are asking undergraduate students who planned to live in our residence halls this fall to stay home and continue their education with MSU remotely. While a vast majority of our classes already were offered in remote formats, we will work the next two weeks to transition those that were in-person or hybrid to remote formats.”
MSU’s athletic department said its athletes can stay.
“Michigan State student-athletes who are engaged in practices or workouts can return to (or stay on) campus this fall,” it said in a statement. “Spartan athletics will continue to follow medical advice and local guidelines regarding the most current safety protocols and procedures for all team activities.”
How is the COVID pandemic affecting the mental health of young adults in America?
A new CDC survey shows that over 25% of Americans between the age of 18-24 have seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.
As CDC director Redfield has said, the coronavirus "has very limited pathogenicity under age 45."
Lockdowns, college closures, sports cancellations. These things are driving young people toward suicide.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) August 13, 2020
Is the media guilty of unnecessarily causing panic and fear in young adults over the COVID pandemic? What about colleges and universities that are placing unrealistic expectations on their students who plan to live on or around campus in the fall?
AP reports – As they struggle to salvage some semblance of a campus experience this fall, U.S. colleges are requiring promises from students to help contain the coronavirus — no keg parties, no long road trips, and no outside guests on campus.
No kidding. Administrators warn that failure to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid mass gatherings could bring serious consequences, including getting booted from school.
Critics question whether it’s realistic to demand that college students not act like typical college students. But the push illustrates the high stakes for universities planning to welcome at least some students back. Wide-scale COVID-19 testing, quarantines, and plexiglass barriers in classrooms won’t work if too many students misbehave.
“I think that the majority of students are going to be really respectful and wear their masks, social distance, keep gatherings small,” said incoming Tulane University senior Sanjali De Silva. “But I fear that there will be a distinct group of students that will decide not to do that. And it’ll be a big bummer.”
Tulane students have already received a stark warning from the school in New Orleans, an early pandemic hot spot. After a summer weekend of large gatherings, Dean of Students Erica Woodley wrote to students, stressing her key point in bold, capital letters.
“DO NOT HOST PARTIES OR GATHERINGS WITH MORE THAN 15 PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE HOST. IF YOU DO, YOU WILL FACE SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION FROM THE UNIVERSITY,” Woodley wrote, signing off with, “Do you really want to be the reason that Tulane and New Orleans have to shut down again?”
The emphasis on student behavior is part of a broader effort to create safe bubbles on campus even if the virus surges elsewhere. The University of Texas at Austin is not allowing parties either on or off campus. In Massachusetts, Amherst College is prohibiting students from traveling off campus except in certain cases, such as medical appointments and family emergencies.
Many universities have spelled out expectations for student behavior in pledges and compacts that cover everything from mask wearing to off-campus travel. The pledges often cover faculty and staff, too.
It’s unclear how well these rules will work. Critics say the very nature of the college experience — with cramped housing and intense social activity — works against success. Some colleges are already backing off plans for in-person classes this fall.
According to a new survey by the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the COVID-19 pandemic is having a shocking impact on the mental health of Americans, especially on those in the 18-24 yr. old (high school and college-age) group.
Conservative Phil Kerpen asks: How many young people will die as a consequence of old people selfishly locking them down?
How many young people will die as a consequence of old people selfishly locking them down?https://t.co/YMrP02buOY
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) August 13, 2020
USA Today – The CDC report found elevated levels of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation among U.S. adults, and identified populations at increased risk, including young people, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and caregivers of adults.
75% of young people reported at least one adverse mental health symptom
The survey found 75% of respondents 18-24 reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom and serious suicidal ideation among this group was 25%.
“This is a time when you are either going to college or you’re finishing college or you’re going into the workforce, and it’s all about building and growing and becoming an adult. Everything that’s happening is thwarting that,” Kaslow said. “There’s no sense of the future. And I think as you enter young adulthood, to feel like your future is foreclosed is really distressing.”
Mueller speculates uncertainty may also be a factor.
“They’re watching their world crumble, and probably struggling to imagine a future,” she said. “I mean, we all are. What is the world going to look like? What is college going to look? What is employment going to look like if they were hoping to enter the labor force?”
Increased drug abuse during the pandemic is also a problem.
More than 30% of unpaid caregivers reported increased substance use.
From the CDD report – The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease and to mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.* Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States from April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019 (1,2).
To assess mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the pandemic, representative panel surveys were conducted among adults aged ≥18 years across the United States from June 24–30, 2020.
Overall, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) related to the pandemic† (26.3%), and have started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%).
The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%), minority racial/ ethnic groups (Hispanic respondents [18.6%], non-Hispanic black [black] respondents [15.1%]), self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults (30.7%), and essential workers (21.7%).