The prevailing question these days is: As students leave their college communities and travel to their homes all around the country for the holidays -- will coronavirus cases spread along with them?
NBC5 and Telemundo Chicago have been tracking campus coronavirus cases ever since students began the fall semester. We found a surprising number of cases -- which spiked at the beginning of the fall, then subsided, but recently have begun to spike again.
For example, we discovered that a total of more than 174,000 students and staff were diagnosed with coronavirus at the 300 in-state and out-of-state schools most-attended by Illinois students. Many of those cases occurred in early September, as the semester began. But a significant proportion -- more than 25,000 cases -- have just been diagnosed over the past week to 14 days.
(To view this table full-screen, click here.)
At the fourteen schools in the Big Ten Conference -- which is currently in the midst of a modified football season -- NBC5 and Telemundo have uncovered more than 36,000 coronavirus cases -- with more than 5,000 of those currently active, as we head into the Thanksgiving holidays -- and more football games.
We've found that a healthy majority of colleges publish clear numbers and "dashboards" online, with thorough information on weekly coronavirus diagnoses among both students and staff. Some schools, however, have no numbers posted online, and others publish only active cases, which are significantly lower than cumulative cases at a college or university. NBC5 and Telemundo have noted those schools that do not publish thorough numbers.
NBC5 Investigates and Telemundo Chicago Investiga update this college/coronavirus tracker approximately once a week, and provide direct links for the most current information for each school.