Going to college and living on campus during a global pandemic may not be ideal, but for students at Grand Valley State University and other schools in Michigan, it is reality. GVSU has done many things to keep those who live both on and off campus safe. With the helping hand of the Grand Valley Police Department (GVPD), resident assistants on campus have been trying to keep their residents and fellow students safe from COVID-19.
GVPD Capt. Jeffrey Stoll said that the incidents happening on campus are not far out of the ordinary compared to previous years. Many on-campus residents went home for the holiday weekend and things are expected to slightly pick up as the semester moves forward.
“Right now, things have been very similar to past years, in some ways on a slightly lower scale,” Stoll said. “We’ve been involved in some alcohol and liquor complaints and we’ve been doing a lot of fire alarms. People are adjusting to learning how to cook on their own, and we did fire alarm drills last week and we try to do some education with that.”
During the first week of classes, GVPD had responded to 26 incidents on campus involving fire alarms or investigations. Along with responding to incidents on campus, GVPD has also been helping out with the new policies and expectations involving masks and guests in living centers. Although the resident assistants have been able to handle these new regulations, GVPD is always there to help if needed.
In compliance with the state order, students and staff must wear masks while inside of GVSU’s facilities. According to GVSU’s face coverings video, the school is urging staff and students to be kind, courteous and respectful when dealing with people and the face-covering rule. GVPD is also helping along as well, but they urge students and staff to try to handle the situation first before calling them.
“Law enforcement is not the optimal tool,” Stoll said. “However, we will assist if people become unruly or dangerous in a confrontation. Our goal is safety and order and if a confrontation becomes problematic and possibly dangerous then we are appropriately involved to mitigate the situation. We would resist being the first agency to call because someone doesn’t wear a mask.”
GVPD, as well as other groups around campus, are still trying to determine the best way to safely hold events and gatherings, whether that is virtually, outside, or maybe even in person when guidelines loosen up and things get better. But until then, Stoll said the students deserve credit in the prevention of people getting sick up until this point in the semester.
“I think the reduction in on-campus residents we’ve had helps mitigate some of those things,” Stoll said. “I think a credit to our students is they are trying to be responsible as it relates to maintaining community health. There is some credit that needs to be given to students as we look at a lower amount of calls for service in the police department. I think that it’s a contributing factor”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, GVPD will continue to try to keep the staff and students at GVSU safe and healthy by protecting wellbeing and by enforcing the guidelines set forth by the University and the state.