Universities make reopening plans, and parents see tough choices no matter what.
The usual parental worries about college-bound children — whether they will be happy, or productive, or find a suitable major leading to a stable career — are getting sidelined this fall by one overwhelming concern: With coronavirus cases spiking in many parts of the country, will students be safe at school?
More than a quarter of U.S. colleges plan to begin fall instruction fully or mostly online, but many are still opening up their dorms. And at many schools, upperclassmen are returning to off-campus apartments, or fraternity or sorority houses. That leaves parents with the choice of forcing their 20-year-olds to stay home against their will, or allowing them to leave and join their friends, knowing the infection data may not be in their favor.
“This is a situation where you have to pray for the best and be ready for the worst,” said Kelly Hutchison, a retired firefighter and single father in…