Colleges across the country have encountered a number of problems while trying to reopen. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last month, a major outbreak forced classes to go online after a week, and the state of North Carolina also switched to distance learning when clusters popped up shortly after the campus opened.
At least a third of Michigan-affiliated people who tested positive attended social gatherings recently, and a third of them were fraternity or sorority affiliated, according to the Ingham County Health Department, which runs the university's East campus Lansing includes.
"These cases are clusters," said Linda Vail, a county health officer, in an interview Saturday night. "Here, there and everywhere. We have a serious, serious increase in cases, all of which are tied to a specific population. This is an urgent situation."
The university, which has about 50,000 students enrolled, announced in mid-August that classes were out of the way and asked most of the students who would have lived on campus to stay at home. However, according to Emily Gerkin Guerrant, a spokeswoman for the university, around 35,000 students with off-campus leases returned to East Lansing before the start of the semester on Sept. 2, and 2,800 students – including athletes, international students, or students without stable housing – were allowed to stay in the dorms.
As part of the recommended quarantine, students should only leave their homes for face-to-face classes or to get food or medicine, Ms. Vail said. Although the quarantine is a recommendation, she said it could be changed to an order for large homes where groups of more than 10 students live together.
Elsewhere in the state, several University of Michigan students recently joined TikTok to rage over campus health policies, including the jury-rigged accommodations where the university has quarantined those who test positive were. They spoke out in favor of continuing the strikes of PhD students, some of whom are trainers and have called for the right to remote work, increased transparency of tests and other virus protection measures.
According to the school's database, there have been 367 confirmed cases since March and 19 cases since students returned in late August for a mix of face-to-face and distance learning.