R-0 may be the most important scientific term you’ve never heard of when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic.


After a semester battling the coronavirus, often unsuccessfully, college leaders have one final plea for students heading home for Thanksgiving: Get tested, please. 

What’s unclear: whether the plea will work.

High-profile failures already have marred dozens of colleges’ attempts to hold the fall semester of college in person.Some institutions brought students back to campuses, only to pivot to digital instruction a week into classes, as unsanctioned parties drove up COVID-19 cases. By mid-September, counties with a significant population of college students were fueling the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. As those outbreaks continued, state and local governments cracked down, ordering students quarantined to campus, like at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, or asking colleges to send students home, like at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.