College Towns Brace For a New Wave of COVID-19

Sierra Imwalle, a real estate agent in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. When she shows houses to clients, she takes precautions: masks, distance, hand sanitizer. She’s avoiding the denser, usually crowded downtown area and steering clear of restaurants.

Other people in Ann Arbor are also sticking to public health recommendations, she says. They’re wearing masks and following stay-at-home orders. “We’ve done a really good job maintaining a low number of cases,” she says.

But Ann Arbor is a college town. Downtown brushes up against the campus of the University of Michigan, a sprawling research university that enrolls just under 50,000 students each year. It’s home to Michigan Stadium (nickname: the Big House), the largest stadium in the United States, which can seat over 100,000 people.

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