The Sentiment of College Students about Coronavirus

As the novel COVID-19, coronavirus, continues rapidly evolving and affecting more and more individuals around the world, college officials have been disseminating information to students and faculty, as we previously posted. In response to the weekly emails from university administrators, former CMC clients characterized general sentiment amongst college students ranging from concerned to “business as usual.”

CMC contacted current college students at Georgetown University, DePaul University, University of California San Diego (UCSD), and University of California Davis (UCD), where three students have been isolated after contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. 

The UCSD student shared the r/UCSD subreddit which she believes encapsulates the general sentiment amongst her peers, a thread titled, “Likelihood of Coronavirus coming to UCSD” students posts range from concerns to misinformation about the coronavirus, despite UCSD officials attempts to spread objective information about the coronavirus. 

Comments include references to protecting oneself since midterms are being given currently:

I think it’s best to avoid Geisel [UCSD’s main library] like the plague 

Additionally, a Georgetown student stated that the coronavirus has become a “meme” where amongst their peers, anyone who’s ill or just coughs has the coronavirus, which can be a way for people to express their fears. Privately, the student believed that all should address and dialogue about the public health concerns beyond making jokes so they can be safe. 

One UCSD student discussed being proactive on the r/UCSD, subreddit thread:

CAN Y’ALL STOP MAKING JOKES ABOUT IT whenever you see a kid wearing a surgical mask on campus? Some of us lived through SARS, it wasn’t fun and we ain’t playing with 2019-nCoV.

Also, please stop making the VERY dangerous claim that you’re probably more likely to be catching flu than you are to be getting coronavirus. That’s only true in the us FOR THE TIME BEING. At least 15 health care workers have been infected; it’s always a sign of alarm when that happens because it means the virus is being transmitted even in settings where people are taking great precautions.

I’m not trying to cause panic :((( but please be understanding of those who choose to wear masks, even if you personally choose not to.

2nd confirmed case in LA was announced this afternoon btw! 

At other campuses, “business as usual” is the general sentiment as current UCD students report. Although students generally are aware that three freshmen students have been quarantined, suspected of exposure to the coronavirus, most of them are attending classes and acting as if all is normal. 

A UCD student did mention however, that, in general, conversation seems more about if the university will cancel classes for the quarter or even temporarily suspend classes in response to the UCD student body being exposed to COVID-19, coronavirus. 

The DePaul University student, Emily, shared that in her Global Health classes, the coronavirus is a hot topic of conversation. She has a particular interest in public health issues, she wishes more peers would pay attention: 

I would definitely recommend staying up-to-date with what the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and WHO [World Health Organization] say about the virus. The news, and especially social media, tend to either over-dramatize or downplay the severity of the public health concerns like this virus, thus leading to many of these jokes and such

How ever college students are discussing their concerns about the coronavirus, as parents and educators, we can educate ourselves so we can speak factually and frankly about the evolving public health situation to quell concerns. Then, we can also work together to create a continuity of education for all students, while protecting their well-being


For 17 years at Creative Marbles Consultancy, we understand the need for families to make timely decisions about their children’s education. Given the current concerns about coronavirus, we are ready to continue advising families about pressing educational questions, including how they can work with their schools in the event of closure, via an online presence that we have robustly developed over the years, so there is a continuity in your student’s education. Contact us at (916) 457-4090 or for more details. 

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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