Boy, this in-person education thing is working out great, don’t you think?

Courtesy of ABC News

All local Michigan State University students have been asked to self-quarantine immediately for the next two weeks to contain the “exponential growth” of COVID-19 cases, county health officials said.

At least 342 people affiliated with the East Lansing school have tested positive for the coronavirus since Aug. 24, according to the Ingham County Health Department. In the three weeks prior, there were only 23 such cases, officials said. Cases started to rise once thousands of students returned to the area for the fall semester, officials said.

At least a third of the people who tested positive had recently attended parties or social gatherings — and at least a third of those were associated with a fraternity or sorority, the health department said.

“This is an urgent situation,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said in a statement issued Saturday. “The exponential growth of COVID-19 cases must stop. I am concerned about the health and safety of the MSU community, and importantly, I am seriously concerned that unchecked transmission locally will affect the health and safety of all Ingham County residents.”

“If we do not slow the spread immediately, we will be dealing with the consequences across the county for months to come,” she added.

I will not stop harping on this until everybody understands that there is in no way ready to resume in-person instruction in most places in this country at this time. 

There may be a few very small communities, towns, or villages that are relatively untouched by the virus that can continue on with their lives as usual, 

But any communities that have a significant infection rate or that have a significant number of visitors must observe strict guidelines and get the community spread under control before even thinking about sending kids back into a classroom setting. 

By trying to force kids back into classrooms prematurely we are not only erasing any previous progress we may have achieved, but also ensuring that the virus spreads to even more communities that may have been initially spared. 

And why that is not obvious to everybody I simply cannot imagine.