PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Protests were held Monday on Temple University’s campus as students started the school year. The issue: in-person classes.
This has been a first day of school unlike any other. It’s the first day of school in a pandemic.
“The typical college experience they’re trying to provide for their student is not worth the death of so many people,” one person said.
Students and faculty at Temple protested the university’s decision to remain open and offer a mix of online and in-person classes.
“We already know that there are COVID cases on campus. What we don’t know is who has not been identified,” said Jennie Shanker of the Tyler School of Art.
Ten Temple students have tested positive for the virus. No staff members have tested positive.
But the university counters it’s doing its part by reducing foot traffic on campus from 27,000 a year ago to 9,000 Monday. Temple says its been planning for a hybrid model since June and has been working with the city’s Department of Health and the governor’s office on watching its COVID numbers.
“If things change, we are ready to pivot and we are ready to go all online,” said Temple spokesman Ray Betzner.
Only students living on campus are required to be tested.
Betzner says athletes and fraternities will also be brought in but those living off-campus can set up appointments to be tested if they choose to be.
But that begs the question, why not just test everyone?
“Neither the CDC nor the Philadelphia Department of Health recommends that. In fact, they recommend against everyone being tested,” Betzner said.
Back at the protest, recent images from other colleges struggling to contain the virus are fresh.
“We see the flaws. We are seeing where they have not been looking and that’s where we’re going to have problems,” Shanker said.
For those who do test positive, Johnson and Hardwick Halls — typically used as freshman dorms — will now be used as quarantine and isolation centers.