Home Coronavirus Coverage Despite Strains, Small Colleges Find Advantages In Dealing With COVID-19 On Campus – NPR

Despite Strains, Small Colleges Find Advantages In Dealing With COVID-19 On Campus – NPR

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After the summer, Liliana Pokropski was relieved to be back on Benedictine College’s bucolic campus from her home in Wilmington, Del.

While coronavirus numbers were high on the East Coast, none of the more than 2,000 students at the college in Atchison, Kan., were displaying symptoms. But when the college tested all of the students in late August, they turned up 66 positive cases.

“Unfortunately, I was a part of the outbreak,” Pokropski, who is president of the student body, chuckled through a mask decorated with the school tartan. “I was quarantined along with a huge portion of the students, and it was very shocking.”

The pandemic is straining many small American colleges, which have been scraping by for years with declining enrollment and faltering resources. But some — especially those with an overarching mission, be it secular or religious — enjoy distinct advantages over their bigger rivals in fighting the spread of the coronavirus on campus.

“There is this sense that we are in it together,” said Barbara Mistick, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

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