1. Your University requires all students to wear masks while in class, and faculty — not the administration — are expected to enforce this mandate. On the first day of the semester, three students in your class refuse to wear masks because “this is America.” One student shows up in a Confederate flag mask, and another shows up in a “defund the police” mask. You ask them to leave and they refuse, reminding you that they are paying customers. Calculate the number of students who will be infected with COVID-19 after being involved in the ensuing multi-student fistfight.
2. Extra credit: How many students will drop your class as a result of this incident? How many will leave the University? How many will sue?
3. A network of research, policy, and public-health experts recommends that 13 states where COVID-19 cases are rising astronomically should shut down immediately. Your University is in one of those 13 states and draws students from several others. Faculty at your institution have been told that in order to stay in business and pay salaries, students must return to your campus, and some faculty must teach face-to-face. You are one of those faculty who will be teaching face-to-face. Given that the rate of infection in your state stands at 18 cases per 100k residents and your University’s student population constitutes 12,000+, within +/- three days, calculate the time from the start of the semester to the day that you will become infected with COVID-19.
4. Then calculate the time between the start of the semester and the day that the first housekeeper dies from COVID-19, which she contracted while cleaning restrooms in your building. Consider the following variables: most of the housekeeping staff on your campus are women, many over the age of 60, who make less than $30K/year.
5. Then calculate how soon the nearest hospital, with fewer than 100 ICU beds, will be at capacity.
6. Through contact tracing and testing, find the person who gave this housekeeper the fatal case and the day on which it occurred (extra credit for this one because your University is not doing routine testing or contact tracing, but you have been given a couple of masks and some hand sanitizer and are expected to pay for more such supplies, despite not seeing a rise in your salary since 2008).
7. As of late July, your University’s football team has returned to campus for training. Classes do not start for another few weeks, but there has already been an outbreak among athletes on your campus — as has been the case across the nation. The University sends an email in which the administration attempts to reassure you, letting you know that “(4.83%) tests administered returned positive results for COVID-19 — which closely aligns with the current average locally within [the] County [in which your university is located] for positive cases (4.15%) and is below the current State [in which your university is located] average (8%).” Calculate the football coach’s salary.
8. Then look at your salary and ask yourself why you’re risking your life to participate in this death march.
9. A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the ways that students are spreading the virus off-campus and suggests that universities should mandate that students not attend social gatherings off of campus and should penalize them if they do. Calculate the number of students who say “OK, Boomer,” to any person who tries to enforce such a policy. Then multiply that number by the parents of every kid and every grandparent of every asymptomatic student who goes to your University and to a party and takes a case of COVID-19 home at Thanksgiving.
10. Calculate the number of dead people in your campus community that will get your administration to realize that this plan is a joke, that they are going to get sued within an inch of everyone’s existence before they move instruction back online, where it should have been in the first place.