As a student from Miami University who chose to live in the college town that Miami U is in all summer, I think I have a pretty solid gauge on how COVID was affecting us before and after Miami students came back.
A little backstory: Miami U is homed in Oxford, OH where 20,000 residents live full time. As you might imagine, COVID-19 wasn't a huge issue over the summer when only that number of people were here, spread out. Most residents still took all the precautions, so we didn't have a huge number of confirmed cases.
Toward the end of August, Miami U students began coming back. Miami U has a student population of around 20,000, meaning we essentially double Oxford's population. Miami U chose to defer in-person classes until September 21, though we've been online since August 17. Since early August, all the off-campus students have trickled in and really no one knows for sure how many are back now. We are still fully online, but here's where the bad news comes in.
We already have over 1,000 positive cases across the student body in Oxford.
We are a party school full of rich and entitled kids, so as you might expect, COVID-19 didn't halter their love of partying, despite Miami U's frequent words of caution against gatherings. Miami University began randomly and cluster-testing students a few weeks ago, and updates the count every evening.
Miami U has also committed to suspending students who don't follow Oxford's current order of only allowing 10 or fewer people at social gatherings.
Here's where it gets worse.
On September 5, police pulled up to bust a party that seemed to have more than 20 guests. But no one was ready for what happened next.
In the body-cam footage, the policeman is shown talking to the males at the residence and then asking them to make anyone who doesn't live there leave. Then he asks for one of their IDs to run it through the system. Next, he pulled the student to his car and said, "Hey, Zack, can you come here? There's a... I've never seen this before, there's an input on the computer that you tested positive for COVID?"
To which the student responds yes, and seems to claim that it's OK because he was staying at home and they "all have COVID."
At Miami U, when students test positive they are required to quarantine, and housemates are asked to isolate. Oddly, these boys decided that meant that they could have a party as long as everyone there was all good with getting COVID, or already had it.
However, research has shown that COVID might not be a one-time thing, and you can contract it more than once. Thus far it is only believed to happen when there are specific circumstances, like high-viral dosage, but considering there were 20 people there, most who had COVID, that high-viral dosage doesn't sound impossible.
All of this occurred only weeks before Miami U's on-campus move-in date. And a few days ago they announced that they would move forward with this plan.
We are now upon the week of move-in and one has to ask, why has Miami University chosen to go ahead with the move-in amidst over 1000 cases and parties just like this one frequently happening off-campus?
I guess we'll never truly know, but one thing is for sure. Miami University is in for a wild ride this semester and the whole world is watching, thanks to TMZ.