Aug 23, 2021 - Economy

College students on high COVID alert ahead of return to campus

Illustration of a red solo party cup filled with yellow covid-shaped ping-pong balls.

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

With the Delta variant surging, college students are not ready to resume campus life as normal, according to a new Generation Lab/Axios poll.

Why it matters: For four-year students who enrolled in 2019-20, there is just one year remaining to enjoy something resembling a regular college experience.

Out of a list of activities that included going to an indoor party, dancing with others, and close conversations without masks, 55% of students considered none of the above to be safe.

  • 60% say restrictions should be imposed on large social gatherings.
  • 45% say they would only feel comfortable at indoor gatherings where everyone had been vaccinated.

Driving the news: Already, tens of thousands of students across different education levels across the country are isolating after testing positive of being exposed to COVID-19.

College students are also big fans of vaccine mandates — in many cases, bigger fans than their university administrators.

  • 73% say their school should implement a vaccine mandate for those on campus, while 52% say their schools are doing so.
  • 86% say they are fully vaccinated, while 6% say they definitely won't get the shots.

Many staff and professors share the concerns about a return to campus.

  • "You're putting me in a petri dish for an hour and 15 minutes when I'm teaching," Youngstown State ethics professor Mark Vopat told Forbes.

Methodology: This study was conducted August 11-13 from a representative sample of 846 students nationwide from 2-year and 4-year schools. The margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points. The Generation Lab conducts polling using a demographically representative sample frame of college students at community colleges, technical colleges, trade schools and public and private four-year institutions.

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