In-person classes: staying safe or taking a risk


Dreyma Beronja/NW

NEW MANDATES—As Omicron variant cases rise, NMU along with others across the U.S. are now switching to wear the safer mask choice of N95 or KN95 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. NMU is requiring anyone on campus to wear the N95 or KN95.

Dreyma Beronja and Ayanna Allen, News Editor and Staff Writer

Northern Michigan University delayed in-person classes the first week of the semester due to a lack of proper mask supplies. Now only a week later, campus opens back up and classes go back in-person. 

However, despite new mask mandates to stay safe from the new Omicron variant, which NMU has required all on-campus to wear an N95 or KN95, students’ feelings on being back in person vary with some for staying in-person and some against. 

For Kendra Day, senior English major, going on campus for in-person classes is not ideal for her.

“In-person learning is valuable because students have direct access to physical resources on campus as well as more direct contact with professors but considering that professors at Northern already have a year of teaching online under their belts, they should be able to completely provide courses online,” Day said. “To me, it feels like NMU would rather have classes in-person just to say they managed to stay open and keep their COVID case numbers low than go online to protect their students, faculty and staff.” 

Currently on NMU’s Safe on Campus Dashboard, as of Jan. 19, the Winter 2022 semester has had 110 cases, 19 being active. For the Fall 2021 semester, the total amount of cases for the semester was 137.

Of the new cases, nine were confirmed on Jan. 17 with four being employees, four off-campus students and one on campus. On Jan. 18, five cases were confirmed with three being on-campus students and two being off-campus students. Since Jan. 15, Jan. 17’s cases have been the highest yet. 

For quarantine and isolation capacities, 26.92% of the capacity has been filled with seven beds being occupied and 19 remaining open. While the number of quarantine and isolation beds is lower than last year, NMU has given the option for students to return home during their quarantine period instead of staying on campus if they are feeling well enough to travel. 

Though, despite the rise in COVID cases due to the new Omicron variant, there are students who still remain hopeful for the semester to go well and remain in person. 

“I feel good about coming back to class. COVID has not yet affected me personally, but there are a lot of people who have been impacted by the social and physical implications of the disease,” Weiland Dyer, junior psychology and English major said. “I will admit that it has negatively impacted my college experience, but the professors are doing their best to minimize that for us students which I am thankful for.”

Anyone who is feeling sick or has tested positive for COVID is asked to stay either in their dorm or at home until feeling better or if positive, in the quarantine/isolation quarters. Students are asked to communicate with their professors on their situation to keep up with their coursework.