Students, faculty respond to rise in college COVID-19 cases

Tiffany Persaud, Contributing Writer

   Iona was one of the schools to open earliest this semester. In a time where it seems like every other school must adjust to the severity of this situation, students  have their own concerns about returning to campus as college COVID-19 cases rise around the nation 

According to a survey by the New York Times, as of Aug. 26 there were about 26,000 COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths within 750 campuses. All responses to this rise are being handled differently: some schools are sending students home to self-quarantinesome are switching to online classes and some are doing randomized testing of students and faculty.  

Colleges with a large student body like Texas A&M University or University of Central Florida are expected to have more COVID-19 cases; smaller student bodies like Elmira College and Iona College, both located in New York. are expected to have fewer cases, but capacity levels do not make the spread inevitable.  

Professor Christopher Fici of the religious studies department believes wearing a mask is not a political stance, but a moral one. 

“As a new faculty member, I’ve been very impressed by the close-knit character of our community. That closeness has so many benefits, but it also means we need to be extra careful and caring with each other,” Fici said. “Just because we do not have as many students or staff or faculty as other larger schools does not mean a COVID outbreak would affect everyone on campus. 


Most students are learning remotely and some, like junior Nigel Petti-Fernandez, believe that professors are piling on the assignments because their thought process is that if students are at home they have more time allotted for work. Howeverthe campus closures across the country have added an additional stressor to his academic life. 

“I think that it was a calculated risk [to reopen], it is a shame that this is something that students must deal with on top of the heavy workload Petti-Fernandez said. “I would not be surprised if the Iona campus became compromised, and I would be shocked if we made it through the whole year as smoothly as the last couple weeks have been.”  

Iona recently announced that as an incentive for students to participate in the randomized testing that will occur throughout the semestera few students being tested will be randomly selected for a monetary award.  

The announcements of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on college campuses across the country have become increasingly more common as the weeks go by. Diligently wearing masks, washing hands and socially distancing will determine what comes next for Iona College.