Managing the inevitable
Middlebury College in Vermont and Bowdoin College here in Brunswick, Maine, are similar in many respects because they are small and situated in relatively isolated small New England towns with good track records for pandemic management. Middlebury has elected to invite all its 2,750 students back to campus, whereas Bowdoin has decided to allow only incoming first years and transfer students (for a total of about 600) to return. Both schools will institute similar testing and social distancing protocols and restrict students from access to their respective towns (“A Tale of 2 Colleges.” By Bill Burger. Inside Higher Ed, June 29,2020). It will be an interesting experiment. I’m voting for Middlebury and not because my son and daughter-in-law are alums, but because I think Middlebury seems to have acknowledged that no matter how diligent one is in creating a SARS-CoV-2–free environment at the outset, these are college kids and there will be some cases on both campuses. It is on how those inevitable realities are managed and contained that an institution should be judged.
Unfortunately,We always have been a restless and impatient population eager to get moving and it has driven us to greatness. Hopefully, patience will be a lesson that we will learn, along with many others.
Dr. Wilkoff practiced primary care pediatrics in Brunswick, Maine, for nearly 40 years. He has authored several books on behavioral pediatrics, including “How to Say No to Your Toddler.” Email him at [email protected].