Many colleges are returning for their spring semester this week and many of them are deciding to begin virtually due to the Omicron variant.
Two local universities are bringing students back in-person.
“We know that they learn better in person,” said Shaun Holtgrieve, interim associate vice president of student affairs at Central Michigan University.
This week students returned to campus for the spring semester at CMU and Ferris State University. For the fourth time, starting a semester under the impact of COVID-19.
“We knew that we would get that temporary spike in cases when students came back but we also know that, with procedures in place, we can mitigate that spread because of what we’ve done the last two years,” said Holtgrieve.
Multiple colleges across the state began their semesters virtually.CMU and Ferris decided to come back face-to-face.
“We’ve had two years to work through this so from a procedure standpoint, we haven’t really had to change much,” said Holtgrieve.
Masks worn inside, socially distance when possible and frequent cleanings are all part of the protocols the past two years. Now they have added vaccines and pushed for students to be boosted.
“To be up-to-date on your vaccinations, you have to get the booster,” said Holtgrieve about CMU, “If you choose not to get the booster, then you just have to test weekly.”
CMU is not much of a commuter school, 97% oif their freshmen live on campus. They believe that has helped them avoid outbreaks and handle them when they do come.
“Students have been vaccinated above 80%,” said Holtgrieve, “And our faculty and staff above 90%.”
The expectation being this is the final semester impacted by COVID-19 but they have thought that before.