MSU student petition for online course option
EAST LANSING — As Michigan State University prepares to resume in-person classes next week, some students want the option of staying remote.
A petition began circulating last week calling on MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. to give students the option to continue taking their classes online. The spring semester started Jan. 10 with most classes delivered online to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after the holidays.
Throughout Michigan, there were about 13,124 new cases every day these past Saturday, Sunday and Monday. MSU had 453 cases the week of Jan. 17, down from 546 and 661 the previous two weeks, but up from the fall semester peak of 146 per week.
That’s why Katarina Keeley, a senior from Flint, started the petition.
“It’s still a spreading disease,” she said. “There are a lot of students who want to be back in person, but I’ve come to realize that a lot of students want to continue the online format because they’re worried about getting sick and spreading the virus.”
The petition had garnered more than 1,100 signatures as of Thursday.
The 31st of December, Stanley announced that most classes would go online for at least the first three weeks of the semester. The third week ends on Friday, January 28. The announcement came as the state reported a record two-day average of almost 13,000 cases per day, almost a third more than the previous peak recorded more than a year ago.
After monitoring campus-related COVID-19 cases, Stanley said officials believe the number of cases is plateauing, according to a message from January 21.
“With our continued mask requirement, high vaccination rates and most students and faculty being reinforced, we believe we are well positioned to resume in-person classes on Monday, January 31,” said Dan Olsen, a gatekeeper. word of MSU, in a press release. “We know that many of our students prefer in-person learning.”
Olsen also highlighted a variety of courses available that are delivered online or in a hybrid format.
Keeley said one of her five classes offered an online option, but the others were in-person only.
She appreciated that Stanley moved most classes online to start the semester, which allowed her to avoid spending too much time with other people and masking up when she had to attend an event.
But there are still those who have contracted the virus despite vaccination and masking.
Keeley said she’s not alone in hoping MSU gives students the option to continue online, but she doesn’t deny Olsen’s argument that many students prefer in-person learning.
“I’m not trying to prevent that,” she said. “I’m just asking for that other option.”
Contact Mark Johnson at 517-377-1026 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMarkJohnson.