Well, school is officially back in session in colleges and public high schools and elementary schools throughout the country. A lot are in social distancing modes, such as Zoom or some other video conference platforms.

Some campuses, however, opened to students and suffered COVID outbreaks as a result. In three weeks, San Diego State University saw more than 620 cases. Now the big crisis PR issue here is who’s to blame, and there’s a lot to go around. Students who violated social distancing policies, proper hand hygiene, and the like certainly caused the outbreaks. Still, it’s going to be tough for the universities and other campuses to claim they’re not at fault by opening campuses. More to the point, schools will find it challenging in not reimbursing tuition and, even stickier, the student fees.

Universities don’t seem to be handling their COVID communications well, either. The ones I’ve seen emphasize their enforcement policies but don’t address how they will care for students. I would recommend that universities like San Diego State and the public school system start highlighting their intention to keep students safe. It won’t matter how right the schools are in enforcing restrictions if those are all the messages they employ. The lack of empathy will speak louder.