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As spring semester begins, the future looks uncertain for life in East Lansing

January 19, 2022
<p>William Berkey Hall is located in North Neighborhood right off of Grand River Ave. This building houses the Department of Sociology and College of Social Science. </p>

William Berkey Hall is located in North Neighborhood right off of Grand River Ave. This building houses the Department of Sociology and College of Social Science.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

For many students excited to return to in-person classes, the sudden reversion to three weeks of remote learning has conjured questions about the future of the semester.

Human biology senior Zack Wojcik said he is unsure if the preventative measures put in place will be enough. Ensuring safety for all students on campus with the density of live-on students returning for the spring is no easy task.

Wojcik said the most crucial part is catching the spread early and deciding the state of classes.

“I think they can reduce the spread if they catch us early enough,” Wojcik said, “The amount of bodies on campus I don’t think will realistically help reduce the spread that much because even if they come to campus and things are online, people are going to be in their dorms ... which will reduce the spread some, but there will still be thousands of people on campus who will have believed that classes will had been in person, so they came here.”

The decision shortly followed the announcement for all students and faculty to receive the COVID-19 booster. Booster information must be submitted by Feb. 1, as classes are scheduled to move back to in-person.

The administration's move is to ensure safety for students and faculty alike as cases skyrocket in Michigan. Said by Michigan.gov, Ingham County has reported 41,184 positive cases on Jan. 10 alone with a 31.4% positive test rate results across all Michigan counties this week. 

MSU deputy spokesperson Dan Olsen said the decision to go remote was influenced by high transmission rates and the health and safety of the campus community.

Olsen said the satisfactory/not satisfactory, or S/NS, grading option is not yet off the table for the semester.

“I know that (S/NS) is something the provost office is having our academic governance groups take a look at yet again this semester,” Olsen said, “So, I believe (MSU Provost Teresa Woodruff) has requested they look at and evaluate whether that is an option being extended and that has to make its way through academic governance process.”

Though staying online will prevent the spread of Omicron through classrooms, students on campus still have other obligations and reasons they must go out.

“I am way less likely to leave my apartment if I don’t necessarily have to – rather than if I’m already out a place, I would definitely go around to the restaurants,” interdisciplinary studies in social science junior Sarah Sketch said. “So, without having classes (in-person) I really lack the motivation to get out.”

With students socially distancing until administration gives the go-ahead to return to in-person classes, it is impossible for students to not have doubts about starting virtually and that this semester may be a repeat of fall last year. Understanding the strain and progression of the variant, starting remotely gives time for the administration and students both to prepare.

“It kind of eases you back," Sketch said. "I don’t have to worry about catching the bus and trying to get to class directly on time. It’s easier just to open up my computer and log into a Zoom rather than run from one class to another, but it’s definitely a hindrance because I, like many others, do not learn online as well as I do in a classroom setting."

While no one wants to think about the possibility of remaining virtual, Omicron continues to change and adapt; so, the university must as well.


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