MOUNT PLEASANT — Students returned to Central Michigan University campus to start classes last week.
This week students are facing the possibility of campus closing and classes moving to all virtual. Last week, former Cadillac students and current CMU student Jordan Healey talked about her thoughts on the newly started school.
What a difference a week makes.
With a public health emergency declared in Isabella County and cases of COVID-19 spiking among students after a weekend of not social distancing and large gatherings, Healey said she is concerned.
"There has been a bit of a spike in cases since we have come back. While it is not as big as at other larger universities but in comparison to what we had a few weeks before students got here, it is a big jump," she said. "It is very concerning."
Healey said when classes started last week students could choose between Hyflex (part online/part face-to-face) and completely online. This week, she said she is noticing more students choosing the virtual option. As a result, one of her English professors said if students want to come to both face-to-face classes they can do so safely because only a handful of students are physically coming to each class session.
Although Healey anticipated a spike in Covid cases, she said it doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
"I remember thinking if we could make it all the way through the semester that would be good, but to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if we went fully online by Labor Day," she said. "With this big spike in cases, I think that is what we should do for the safety of the students, but also the people who live in Isabella County."
Fellow Cadillac graduate and CMU freshman Brooke Kleinsorge lives on campus in Sweeney Hall. Kleinsorge is also part of the CMU Marching Band moving to campus on Aug. 13 for band camp. Kleinsorge said she could see a distinct difference from her first days on campus and when students started returning for class.
While she does believe students and staff are vigilant about wearing masks, some are not. She also said that she doesn't anticipate face-to-face classes the entire semester.
"I would say I had the attitude we would go longer, but not until Thanksgiving. I thought through late September or early October," she said. "People are planning on going home for Labor Day weekend, hanging out with other people, and coming back. It is a recipe for disaster."
Both Healey and Kleinsorge said they believe their parents are worried about their safety, but also trust they are taking things seriously and being safe. Kleinsorge said her parents also feel bad for her because her freshman year of college is not "normal."
Although it is not normal, Kleinsorge said she wants to stay on campus as long as she can because even if she is not getting the "normal" experience she wants to be in Mount Pleasant and get the most out of her college experience as she can.
"I'm here and I might as well make the most of it and do what we have to do in order to keep ourselves and other safes. I'm having a good time even though I'm taking safety precautions," Kleinsorge said. "Some people think you should have fun, go out and take advantage of the college experience while you can. I think the college experience is being on campus and not at home."