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Health, Science and Environment

Mt Pleasant official describes “tension” between valuing CMU and concerns over rise in COVID-19

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The Central Michigan District Health announced on Tuesday that there are 87 new cases of COVID-19 in the Mount Pleasant area due to the return of students to Central Michigan University.

City officials said concerns are being raised about community exposure.

As of Monday, only 54 cases were directly among CMU students, staff, or faculty. The health department said the additional cases belong to “former students and those living in the community.”

Nancy Ridley is the City Manager for the City of Mount Pleasant. She said community members understood that a return of students would likely cause an uptick in cases.

“But I think the concern is as the people that test positive are potentially interacting in the community it puts the residents who live here year-round more exposed than what they were prior to classes starting face to face.”

Ridley said many residents understand the value of in-person instruction and also the value CMU brings to the Mount Pleasant area.

“So I think there’s a tension between wanting to support that value and also being worried about the potential exposure.”

CMU President Bob Davies has called on the suspension of in-person Greek activities and threatened fines or even suspension for students who host large gatherings.

The Central Michigan Health Department has also announced an emergency order restricting outdoor gatherings to 25 people or fewer.