With increasing cases of COVID-19 connected to the return of students to Mount Pleasant, a Central Michigan University student group is calling for the cancellation of in-person classes.
The Central Michigan Health Department on Monday reported 178 (163 confirmed, 15 probable) cases connected to the return of students to campus.
Central Michigan University as of Sunday was reporting roughly 120 cases over the last two weeks among immediate staff, faculty and students. That number is different from the health department accounting which also tracks former students and those living inside and outside the community connected to cases caused by the return to school.
Emily Jones with the group Not Fired Up For Fall said the administration should have cancelled classes from the start.
“I think it’s extremely naive for an administration to expect freshmen who lost out on their prom, lost out on their graduation, Seniors who are sacrificing their last year because of COVID, like myself, to come back and be expected to not go out and do things,” Jones said.
Jones’ group posted signs across campus accusing the University of putting profit over people and calling for an end to in-person instruction. She said the group has so far received 800 signatures on their petition to end in-person classes and other demands that includes reducing tuition due to a switch to online instruction.
“While we know that suspending face to face classes is not a perfect solution and many other students will have other difficulties and struggles to face ultimately we believe student’s lives, faculty’s lives, staff’s lives, our Mount Pleasant community and our Native community as well should be put over that,” Jones said.
Last week, CMU officials and the local health department said they are monitoring cases but don’t yet see a need to move to online-only instruction.
In a letter to students on Friday, CMU President Bob Davies announced the start of on-campus COVID testing and wrote that “the data seems to uphold our decision to continue to offer in-person instruction.”
Jones said while she supports on-campus COVID testing, it should have been in place when classes began.
A university spokesperson said Monday in a written statement that the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff remains “our top priority.”
The spokesperson also noted that they heard “clearly” from students a “desire to be back on campus.”