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Wary eyes cast toward returning college students

An image from move-in day in 2018 for college students in the Boston area. Fall 2020 is expected to look vastly different.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File Photo

The residents of Boston are rightfully concerned about the pending influx of college students this fall (“A wave of worry as college students begin annual influx while virus flares,” Page A1, July 26). The plans local colleges are making and the measures they are taking are commendable but doomed to fail. As a 42-year veteran of teaching college students in Boston, I can attest to the fact that many will not follow the rules. For proof, one need only look to the images of beaches, bars, and restaurants crowded with young people this summer.

By forging ahead into the unknown, colleges are putting us all at risk. Offering only online courses is the only safe approach. Colleges need to explain exactly why they are choosing preserving their bottom lines over the safety of students, faculty, staff, and the public.


Martin Ross


The writer is a professor emeritus in the department of marine and environmental sciences at Northeastern University.

The Globe’s July 20 Opinion pages featured three commentaries on the challenges of reopening K-12 education in the state’s schools. However, these children are from Massachusetts, where COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths have declined. What about the roughly 170,000 students enrolled at local colleges and universities? Even if only half of them are on campus this September, many come from other states, including those with surging case numbers.

College administrations have worked to provide an environment that fosters learning while minimizing risk, but unless the state can ramp up viral testing capacity (something in the range of 12,000 tests per day is totally inadequate), new cases could skyrocket in the region. A proactive governmental response to this threat is essential.

Stanley F. Wainapel

New York