Campus Feature Maddie Luebke Nov 10, 2020

COVID-19 updates on campus



As the school year continues, policies regarding COVID-19 have adapted both statewide and here at Alma College. While some restrictions have been eased across the state, measures from within the college have been further reinforced.

At the beginning of October, news spread that a group was filing a lawsuit against Governor Whitmer saying that the policies implemented to combat COVID-19 over the summer were unconstitutional and an overreach of her power.

The Michigan Supreme Court overturned many of Whitmer’s policies, including social distancing measures and mask policies. Courts drew the line between safety protocol and total government control.

“I completely understand that she was in a hard spot, but at the same time, I think that there were other alternatives that she could have gone with that would have caused fewer restrictions and fear,” said Nicki Crump (’23). “I do feel she overstepped her powers, but I can also see how she was doing her best in a bad situation.”

The conflicting opinions on these policies are not just a statewide concern, but a concern of our own community.

”Alma Public Schools set the state record for K-12 outbreaks,” said Kathryn Blanchard, professor of religious studies. “And there’s been a huge spike in state cases, which seems to have come about 2 weeks after the court struck down the governor’s authority; lots of people seem to have taken that as a sign that they didn’t have to wear masks or practice social distancing anymore (if they ever did).”

While the statewide regulations have become less restrictive, Alma College has reverted to Phase 1 of the Return to Campus plan. Immediately after the move back to Phase 1, the third round of campus-wide testing resulted in 31 current positive cases on campus.

“The third round of testing was a wake-up call,” said Blanchard. “Alma students, like people everywhere, are getting “Covid fatigue” and not being as careful as they were before. I guess we’ll see if this wake-up call changes people’s behaviors or if it’s just the beginning of a bigger spike in cases.”

While many are very concerned about the number of cases, many students have brought up the impact the Return to Campus Plan has had on their mental health.

“They are hurting the students more than helping,” said Crump. “We are stressed, tired, and lonely enough as it is, the policies are only making it worse. We want our freedom back.”

This past week, President Abernathy released a statement saying that the campus had run out of quarantine rooms for students. Students that have been exposed will not be asked to quarantine for 14 days at home, rather than keeping them on campus.

While the campus looks for answers to all of these problems in the last 4 weeks of the semester, some believe that there is no perfect solution.

“I know the administration is doing its best, and campus-wide testing is a very good thing, but we already ran out of quarantine space once and students were forced to move; I suppose that could happen again,” said Blanchard. “I’m also not sure that small housing is a good idea, because if one person tests positive, a whole house full of people can’t go to class for two weeks. That’s really disruptive.”

The staff of The Almanian encourages all Alma College students to continue following the Phase 1 guidelines and keeping our campus safe from any further outbreaks. Daily temparture checks and following the rules are the best way to guarantee we can continue classes on campus this year.

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