PEIF & Fit Zone close along with campus restaurants after surge of new COVID-19 cases

NMU+closes+PEIF

COVID-19 CLOSURE — NMU closes the PEIF, Fit Zone, Temaki, Fieras and Smoothie King in an effort to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Information was gathered from the email NMU President Erickson sent to campus.

Jesse Wiederhold

The PEIF, Fit Zone, Temaki, Fieras and Smoothie King will be closed as of Nov. 4 after midnight. This means that the facilities will all be shut down with Temaki, Fieras and Smoothie King looking at tentatively opening back up first the week of Nov. 9. As for the PEIF and Fit Zone, NMU is looking at Nov. 16 for a re-opening date.

According to the campus-wide email from President Erickson, “we received another batch of COVID-19 test results back this week.” He explained that “the good news is that the on-campus student numbers remain relatively low and consistent. The bad news is that we are definitely seeing the community spread reflected in the off-campus student cases, where we have had another measurable increase in positive results.”

NMU currently plans to continue hosting in-person classes with no current changes to that aspect of campus life. As a reminder, President Erickson stated in the email “Monday (Nov. 9) is our final COVID-19 surveillance testing event.” He said that the spots would be “first come, first serve” but within minutes of the email going out, the spots were already full.

“We are pausing recreational sports activities at the PEIF Rec Center and Wildcat Fit Zone for two weeks,” said President Erickson. “This pause is for non-academic purposes only and does not pertain to any academic courses held at the PEIF; classes will continue to be held as they have been throughout the semester,” concluded Erickson. He also recommended in his final paragraph that “all NMU student groups, as well as faculty and staff,” should “eliminate in-person gatherings at this time.” 

However contradictory to the plans of action for the PEIF and on-campus dining options, classes are to continue as they would normally. This didn’t sound right to some students who came together to start an online petition calling for “Online ONLY for the Remainder of the Fall Semester at NMU.” The petition was started by Sophia Pezze on change.org and has accumulated 279 signatures out of the goal 500.

According to the petition, there are some issues with staying open for students. “Many students and staff feel unsafe participating [in] in-person activities, and if NMU won’t help us we will take the initiative in our own hands to protect ourselves,” said Pezze. “After many social media and in-person witnesses of multiple huge parties last weekend due to Halloween and parties before Halloween, the transmission of COVID-19 is running rampant through campus,” the petition says.

To keep in mind however, NMU is surely aware of the situation. They did send the email out, and are making changes to unnecessary activity to keep the university open as a whole. Not to assume this is because of Halloween weekend but since that night, 39 people have tested positive, according to the NMU Safe on Campus dashboard. Finally, a word of caution: stay safe from here on out. As of Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. there are 74 active positives, bringing the campus percent to .98%. 20 of those cases were reported late evening on Nov. 4.

Avoid gatherings, report symptoms, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and wear your mask properly. There are only two full weeks of class left so it is really up to everyone now. Whether or not NMU makes it will depend on our every day actions.