September 21, 2020 at 12:16 AM EDT
The fall opening of colleges: Upheaval, pandemic weirdness and a fragile stability
When the school year began, Gettysburg College looked well-positioned to weather the tumult of the coronavirus pandemic and Arizona State University seemed vulnerable.
The private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania planned meticulously for the arrival of more than 2,200 students to its small-town campus in August, pledging to test them all for the novel coronavirus and do its utmost to safeguard public health while teaching as much as possible in person.
The public university in Arizona confronted the steep challenge of squelching infection threats on multiple campuses in the Phoenix area as it delivered a mix of face-to-face and online instruction to 74,000 students. What’s more, the virus surged across Arizona during the summer and made the state one of the nation’s most worrisome hot spots.
Yet Gettysburg’s opening crumbled, while Arizona State’s held up.
By Nick Anderson, Susan Svrluga, Lauren Lumpkin, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel and Joe Heim