Poll: Two-Thirds Of College Students Willing To Return To Campus In The Fall Even Without Coronavirus Vaccine

REUTERS/Henry Romero

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Most college students are willing to return to campus if colleges open in the fall even if a coronavirus vaccine is not available, according to a new Axios/College Reaction poll. 

Despite facing crowded lecture halls and shared living spaces, the poll shows that only a third of students would choose to continue with distance learning. Universities began switching to remote learning and altering class schedules in March in light of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Whether or not colleges will reopen in the fall remains unclear. Most recently, California State University, the largest 4-year public university system in the United States, announced that the pandemic “will result in CSU courses primarily being delivered virtually for the fall 2020 term, with limited exceptions for in-person teaching, learning and research activities that cannot be delivered virtually.”

However, 70% of colleges are planning to reopen in the fall, while only 8% are planning for remote learning, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. (RELATED: University Of Oregon Intends To Be Open In The Fall, Is Another Positive Step For Football)

Switching to remote classes has proven to be a major challenge. Virtual learning has come with some detrimental effects on student learning; 45% of students reported attending class less often, 71% are more distracted by their computer or cell phone, and 71% are distracted by things going on at home. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the key members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told a Senate committee Tuesday that “the idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate re-entry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far.”

“We’re really not talking about necessarily treating a student who gets ill, but how the student will feel safe going back to school,” Fauci added. “If this were a situation where we had a vaccine, that would really be the end of that issue in a positive way.” 

“Even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term,” he said. “What they really want is to know if they are safe.”