Zach Carpenter, Staff Writer
With the winter semester entering its third week, students are settling in to being back on Alma College’s campus. The current semester began amid a wave of concern among students regarding the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Alma College assured students at the beginning of the semester that classes would remain in person and updated COVID-19 policies would be strictly enforced to ensure students remain safe while attending class, as well as living on campus. There were multiple updates to the campus guidelines offered at the start of this semester.
Some updates included students, regardless of vaccination status, needing to be tested for COVID-19 if exposed twice in five days and those same students being required to wear masks when around others during that five day period.
Additional guidelines include small housing guests being capped at one guest per house resident and a continuation of requiring guests to wear masks when in common spaces.
“[Alma College] said as long as I test five days after exposure, I can remain out on campus, which is not good,” said Andrea Wickman (‘23).
Additionally, students are still required to remain masked during classes and anywhere inside of campus owned buildings.
In light of the recent Omicron variant, however, many students are still concerned that Alma College has not taken enough precautions to protect students.
“There are so many cases on campus, and I feel like [Alma College] is not doing anything besides testing and asking people who are positive to quarantine,” said Wickman.
It is important to remember to continue wearing masks, social distancing when possible and washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Additional steps that can be taken include self-isolating if symptomatic and making sure you are being tested if you feel sick or are contact traced through Wilcox Medical Center.
There have been calls from students during the first few weeks of classes to move to a virtual format for a few weeks to protect themselves and others, but not all agree.
“I think the spread [of COVID-19] is getting worse, but I think it is not going to be bad enough to the point where we need to be sent home,” said Byron Weber (‘23).
Outside of COVID-19 related things are parking policies. After multiple complaints, Alma College sent out an email on Jan. 12 detailing what is required of those using school parking facilities.
Some of the reminders included: making sure that if you bring a vehicle to campus, it is registered and properly displays the parking permit for the parking lot to which it is assigned. If a student has not yet registered their vehicle, it is not too late; they can follow the steps in their student portal and pick them up in the Center for Student Opportunity.
Failure to comply with Alma College’s parking regulations will result in tickets being issued by Campus Safety and Security, which can be paid online, also through the Student Portal.
It is also important for students to remember that effective Nov. 1, and running through Apr. 1, vehicles are not allowed to be parked on any Alma city street overnight. Failure to heed this city policy will result in a ticket being issued by the Alma Police Department.
Not parking on the streets at night allows for plows to remove any snow that may have fallen overnight by both Alma College Facilities and the City of Alma. This ensures that commuter students can safely make it to campus, as well as those walking across campus to get to their various activities.