Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

College students are learning less, partying less and a majority say the decision to return to campus was a bad decision, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

Why it matters: The enthusiasm to forge something resembling a college experience has dissipated as online learning, lockdowns and a diminished social life has set in.

Now that the fall semester has started, 51% of students say it was not the right choice for their schools to allow students on campus. Just 3% say their school didn't allow students to return.

  • The dissatisfaction is more acute among those who have had to learn completely remotely, even if they are on campus. For those who have attended in-person classes, 59% say it was the right choice for campus to reopen, compared to just 42% for those who have not.
  • Removing many temptations of campus life has not made it easier to focus: 60% say they are learning less and just 6% say they're learning more.

What's going on: School administrators have tightened the screws on students to make sure that rule-defiers don't ruin things for everyone else.

  • After North Carolina and Michigan State (and Notre Dame, temporarily) made the call to move to online-only classes after August coronavirus outbreaks on campus, others have become even more strict in order to pull off a full semester.

Universities have threatened severe punishments for students who party and imposed strict lockdowns when cases emerge, determined to keep their campuses operating.

The polling shows that attending parties — or even having witnessing one — is associated with a higher chance of knowing someone who's contracted the coronavirus.

  • 12% say they've attended a party, and among them, 60% say they know someone who contracted the virus on campus. Compare that to the 38% who haven't partied and know someone who's gotten COVID-19 at school.
  • Among those who haven't even seen a party, the number who don't know someone who's contracted the virus drops to 23%. Meanwhile, 55% who have seen a party say they know someone who got sick.

The big picture: While there have been high-profile outbreaks in college towns accompanied by images of partying students, most students have engaged in less conspicuous social activities: 73% of students have either been to a party, bar or restaurant or gathered with friends mask-less.

Methodology: The poll was conducted September 15-16 from a representative sample of 808 college students with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.

College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally and use college e-mail addresses as an authentication tool to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the United States.

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Oct 21, 2020 - Health

San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year

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San Francisco public school officials do not anticipate bringing students back into the classroom before the end of the year, partially due to limited coronavirus testing capacity, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

The big picture: Schools that have reopened their doors in the U.S. generally have not experienced large coronavirus outbreaks, an early sign that they may not be the super-spreaders some experts had feared.

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91% of likely voters nationally say they are "extremely motivated to vote," including 92% in battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a Change Research/CNBC Poll.

Why it matters: The 2020 election could see record-breaking levels of voter turnout. Voters last week cast ballots at nearly five times the rate they did at this point in the 2016 election, per the U.S. Elections Project. Over 39 million ballots have been cast in early voting states as of Wednesday.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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