Mitch Daniels on how coronavirus could impact colleges this fall

NOW: Mitch Daniels on how coronavirus could impact colleges this fall


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Current Purdue University president and former Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, spoke on how coronavirus could impact colleges this fall.

When asked what is going to happen with Purdue fall football schedule and other logistics in relation to the football schedule Daniels responded with “we don’t know is the honest answer.”

“Our team is going to start individual training and then group training as permitted by the new guidelines,” Daniels said. “There is a conference call, Big Ten presidents this weekend where maybe we will learn more, but playing within a conference as we are we have to go with the group and at this point the group hasn’t decided.”

When asked to clarify his statement that it would be irresponsible and a dereliction of his duty not to reopen the campus to 45,000 students this fall, Daniels said, “First thing I will say, is that it is based on the science as we’ve all learned it. We didn’t know it even a couple of months ago, so at that point it might have been irresponsible to open or to consider doing so.”

“What we have learned is that this a very virulent virus visits its most dangerous effects on the very oldest,” Daniels said. “At this point in the state of Indiana almost half of all the fatalities are in nursing homes and nationwide something like 80 percent plus are in the most elderly and infirm age groups. What we have learned, I guess I’ll say mercifully, is that it poses almost no lethal risk to the young people who predominate on our campus. So that was the starting point, once we saw that and we also saw a tremendous desire amongst those young people to be here.”

Purdue closed their acceptance of deposits two days ago. According to Daniels it was an all-time record in the double digits over last year’s record.

“Young people are telling us they want to continue their education,” Daniels said. “They want to do it in the full on campus fashion. So it’s our job, we think under those circumstances to make it possible for them.”

“We are going to spend millions and do some very radical things here to protect our facility, our staff and anybody who is statistically vulnerable to this virus,” Daniels said. “We’ll be working on that all summer, determined to do that as well as a university can.”

According to Daniels, the steps that Purdue is going to take to protect its students are going to include feeding people in different ways, rearranging their dorm rooms (turning doubles into singles), and that classrooms will be at 50 percent occupancy and as well as masks being required indoors.

“You don’t have to come,” Daniels said. “After examining all the precautions that we are taking, if you still don’t feel comfortable with it, we have an online option for you.”

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