Opinion—Please don’t force students and professors to go through another semester in person


“Passe-partout (computer, e-mail, online)” by Wies_van_Erp is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 SAFETY FIRST-Sam Rush urges administration to reconsider the plan to return to in-person classes.

Sam Rush

I am deeply worried by Northern Michigan University’s plan to return to in-person classes for the winter semester. I cannot, in good conscience, let another term continue in this manner without expressing my unease about the current situation.

I won’t go into detail about the COVID-19 cases in Michigan and in the Marquette area. It’s become almost cliche to say this, but one person is too many. It is irresponsible that the university has not taken every precaution to limit the spread in our community. Had we utilized distanced learning this semester, we could potentially be looking at very different numbers of COVID-19 cases in Marquette.

As a student, I’ve felt as if I was in the dark throughout the summer and this semester about the decisions that have been made by the administration. I understand that the situation is ever-evolving but the added stress of not being able to plan for what the school year may entail is overwhelming. This could have been alleviated by making the cautious decision to use distance learning.

After enrolling in classes this semester that were supposedly in-person, within a week, and for some classes days prior to the start of the semester, they were all switched online. This was not made known to me before making a long drive from my primary residence in North Carolina to Marquette, or before I had signed a lease on a house I will not be living in. This ineffective communication has not only resulted in a financial burden for me but has also caused unnecessary stress during an already unsettling time. Teetering in this grey area with the looming threat of having to switch living plans or to a different style of learning are difficult circumstances to get an effective education in.

As a senior, I would love as much as anybody to return to the status quo but I do not labor under the delusion that this is possible under the current conditions. I think it is unwise for the university to just simply wish for the best with the backup plan to flip to distance learning once the damage has been done. This has seemed to be the approach to the fall semester. I can only hope that whatever decision that the administration comes to for the winter semester is not clouded by any monetary loss or gain by the university. It is a decision that should be made solely with the students, faculty and Marquette community in mind.

I transferred to NMU as a sophomore. I was under the impression that this university was a compassionate and empathetic community. After seeing how this situation has unfolded over the course of these past few months, it is clear that we need to do better. This is not a responsibility that falls on students, it falls on you. I understand that these are difficult decisions to call. I think that the wrong decision was made this semester. I hope that you will reconsider for winter.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.