IT is A PARADOXICAL TIME in the arc of the Covid-19 pandemic. On the one hand, record numbers of people, including on college campuses, are still being infected. Hospitals are once again overwhelmed. Death counts, too, are high nationwide.
On the other hand, many colleges have highly vaccinated populations. The risk that those people will become severely ill with Covid is lower, broadly speaking, than it was before the advent of vaccines.
That contradiction--alarming transmission coupled with the relatively low health risks to many people--means a persistent moment of flux. On campuses, the tried and true best practices, including widespread testing, sudden pivots online, and strict on-campus quarantines, are in many cases proving either inadequate or inappropriate.
So what Covid policies should colleges be using right now? Experts interviewed by The Chronicle said it's still worth working to prevent infections among students, though there may be new limits to what colleges can do. Most experts interviewed said a "new normal"--in which Covid-19 is endemic, infecting people at lower levels and with less-catastrophic results--is on the horizon.
Many colleges are bent on operating in person, sometimes with modifications like starting the term with a few weeks of remote classes. Colleges have...