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'All options' on table as GVSU tracks hundreds of COVID cases

The university said its 622 active cases were evidence of widespread community transmission and in large part, were not acquired on campus.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Grand Valley State University officials said it would keep its options open with regard to reimplementing virtual learning and instituting a booster shot mandate as its campus community battles hundreds of cases Monday.

The University's COVID dashboard showed staff monitoring 622 active cases as students returned to class Monday.

The total includes:

  • 20 faculty cases
  • 58 staff cases
  • 105 on-campus student cases
  • 242 off-campus student cases (Ottawa County)
  • 165 off-campus student cases (Kent County)
  • 32 off-campus student cases (other)
Credit: GVSU

GVSU Vice President Greg Sanial, who leads the university’s Virus Action Team, attributed the surge in active cases to coronavirus' prevalence in the community at large. He says this is in contrast to the fall of 2020, when data suggested on-campus transmissions caused caseloads to surge. 

"You're talking about a population that's highly vaccinated. We're wearing masks in all of our indoor spaces on campus," Sanial said. "The students that have tested positive, it wasn’t because they were getting it in the classroom... to sort of lock things down, you have to lock the community down."

RELATED: COVID spike causes GVSU to tighten policies at athletic events

The Ottawa County Health Department echoed that concern during a Monday phone conversation.

A spokesperson also said the university had done everything possible to mitigate new transmissions from a public health perspective.

Grand Valley State University said it would continue to enforce its policy requiring masks to be worn indoors and has recently limited student dining options to encourage social distancing.

It reserved the right to implement a more stringent set of standards if the data called for it. 

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