As students disperse around the globe following the cancellation of in-person classes on campus they are returning home to a wide array of settings, both geographically and in terms of the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite the disparities in circumstances for Cornell students one sentiment remained constant — the vast majority of students are committed to taking action to limit the spread of COVID-19.
From April 2 to April 3, the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives at Cornell Health administered a digital survey via multiple email lists with the goal of understanding students’ attitude and shift in behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The results of the survey are intended to inform administrators and professors, so they can appropriately develop educational material and messages.
While analysis of the data is ongoing, the initial findings are promising, most students are committed to making changes to their behavior to hamper the spread of COVID-19.
The survey was completed by over 9,000 students, including 5,700 undergraduate students and 3,100 graduate students. Overall, the total respondents make up about 39 percent of the student population.
Despite initial perceptions that younger generations were not appropriately adhering to social distancing guidelines, the survey indicated 96 percent of all students feel that it is their responsibility to practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
This statistic is backed by the responses to the other questions of the survey, which stated that 93 percent of students have routinely practiced physical distancing from others and 97 percent of students believed that it was important to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
Attitudes toward the virus have evolved in the past few weeks. There are no signs of the parties that flooded Collegetown after President Martha E. Pollack’s announced classes would be suspended for two weeks, with only 1.1 percent of students reporting that it is likely or very likely that they will attend a party within the next two weeks.
Analysis of the survey’s qualitative components is ongoing. The results of this analysis will be shared with campus officials and will inform the creation of informational content on Cornell Health’s website.