Michigan universities issue stay-at-home orders amid rising cases


Courtesy to GVSU

Elizabeth Schanz

Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University campus’ have issued a stay-at-home order for its students. These orders ask students to stay home for two weeks with the exception of food, exercise, work and in-person classes. 

Grand Valley State University students experienced a similar order at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester. These surges in the number of cases in September were partially due to student off-campus activities and a later surge from general community transmission in November and December. 

With COVID-19 remaining present, many students may wonder if the GVSU campus is next for a stay-at-home order. 

“Any future stay home/stay safe type directive specific to the GVSU campus (as opposed to a wider statewide or countywide health department order) would likely be linked to a sudden rise in cases on our campus that is out of proportion to the case rate in the surrounding community,” said Greg Sanial, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Director of the GVSU Virus Action Team.

The Virus Action Team looks at many factors to see if a change in the “Alert Level” is warranted. The Alert Level influences what operational activities take place on campus, for instance, in-person classes and indoor dining. 

The MSU and U of M campuses do not currently offer students widespread on-campus housing and have little to no in-person classes. GVSU has offered both on-campus housing and in-person classes for students since the fall semester.

“I sense a feeling of ‘we are all in this together’ throughout our campus community and everyone knows what is at stake to continue with our ability to deliver in-person instruction,” said Sanial. 

Campuses are actively working to provide safe and healthy learning environments for students. University of Michigan campus is taking many precautions to prevent the spread. 

“Students have to take a self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms every couple of days,” said Ali Hakim, a freshman at the University of Michigan.  “Additionally, (students) get a COVID-19 test each week to enter university buildings like the gym and study areas at The Union.” 

Universities continue to implement measures to contain the spread of the virus. At GVSU, strict mask policies, social distancing protocols, promotion of safe hygiene habits, enhanced cleaning, comprehensive testing, contact tracing and isolation or quarantine when appropriate continue to be used. 

The new emergence of COVID-19 variants may present a new, unknown challenge. The study of these variants provides some evidence of more rapid transmission. If the new form of the virus is able to transmit more efficiently, current precautions being taken by the community may not be effective in preventing the spread, leading to stricter preventative measures. 

For more information about COVID-19 procedures and cases go to the Laker’s Together Website and the GVSU COVID-19 dashboard. These provide a comprehensive listing of university protocol, what to do if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are exposed, and the daily breakdown of case numbers.