ELLA BRIGHT, KATE WESTPHAL
STAFF WRITER, LAYOUT EDITOR
GRAPHIC BY WESTON HIRVELA
Students returned to campus in late August with several new policies in place, the most important of which address guidelines for COVID-19. These guidelines include social distancing in all indoor places, masks worn at all times and the restriction of visitors on campus. Although these policies may appear strict, students agree with the choices Alma College has made regarding COVID-19.
“I’m pretty impressed with the way Alma is handling COVID right now. I think it’s smart to start out stricter and go from there,” said Amelia Earl (‘22).
“I am very pleased with the with preparedness of Alma College in regards to the safety guidelines in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The mandatory mask mandate and encouragement to practice social distancing makes me feel safe while on campus,” said Sydney Lopez (‘24).
Alma College has also updated their guidelines regarding COVID-19. In an email sent to the campus community on 1 Sept., President Abernathy discussed the local emergency order in place for Isabella County. The emergency order is due in part to a large number of new COVID-19 cases at Central Michigan University.
In the campus-wide email, President Abernathy states that Alma College students are not allowed to visit any campus housing at Central Michigan University or attend any gatherings of 25 or more people in Isabella County. This is to protect the Alma College’s campus community and resist the spread of COVID-19 in the surrounding areas.
Furthermore, off-campus travel should be limited and avoided when possible. President Abernathy stated this is due to an increase in potential COVID-19 exposure when students traveled home over the weekend. President Abernathy reiterated that guests and visitors are not allowed in students’ rooms, as well as prohibiting students from visiting on and off campus student residences that are not their own.
In response, Wiley Delisa (‘24) said “I believe that the protocols Alma College has in place are very smart and have made our campus way less likely to spread [COVID-19]. While some of them are disappointing and frustrating, like not being able to have guests in the dorms, it’s all for the greater good.”
While overall most students appear to agree with Alma College’s handling of COVID-19, frustration about aspects of the new policies still linger. “My biggest concern is how overcrowded Hamilton Commons is and how people don’t social distance but there is no staff policing that, especially in food lines,” said Earl. “I do think the rules on masks outdoors while over 6 ft apart are a bit strict, but I understand where they are coming from.”
With the new policies, students are hopeful that the policies will be updated and eventually lifted due to the work of the campus community. “I have high hopes that wearing our masks and sticking with our roommates will eventually allow some of the mandates to be lifted,” said Delisa.
“I am proud of how seriously the students and staff are taking these safety measures, and I truly believe that Plaid Protects,” said Lopez.
As of 2 Sept., Alma College has reported only four cases of COVID-19. Those who tested positive for COVID-19 have been placed in quarantine and contact tracing is in effect.