The colleges with virtually no coronavirus cases

Ava McDonald strode across her college’s campus on the way to the library, happy to spend the fall back in idyllic Bronxville, New York, after what has been a tumultuous year. The sophomore’s classmates lounged on blankets. Some talked at a distance. Others pored over books. Except for their masks, everything at Sarah Lawrence College appeared to be just as it was before the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.

For the venerable liberal arts college’s 1,400 or so students, the campus has felt like a safe haven where they could live without fear of catching or spreading COVID-19. As of this writing, Sarah Lawrence has had only three cases of the virus, a minuscule number compared to other colleges and universities across the United States, several of which exceed 1,000 cases on their campuses.

In contrast to the pandemic drama playing out at colleges and universities across the country, a handful of schools, including Sarah Lawrence, have kept the disease at bay. Some of these schools are public, others private. All have created their own small public health infrastructures, sharing cohesive public health messaging and implementing COVID-19 testing regimens to stop the virus from spreading on their campuses.

At Sarah Lawrence, a seemingly carefree atmosphere belies months of planning. This past summer, college president Cristle Collins Judd started thinking about what the fall would look like on her campus.

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