EMU won’t open dorms for weeks; students report elsewhere

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Residence halls at Eastern Michigan University won’t open for the new year until at last mid-September, officials said Monday, while other schools around the state cautiously welcomed students to campus.

“The dangers of increasing the spread of the virus and the challenges of maintaining physical distance and safe behavior heading into Labor Day weekend remain quite serious,” said James Smith, EMU president.

Classes at the 18,000-student school in Ypsilanti begin Aug. 31 but will be online-only through at least Sept. 20. Residence halls will be closed through Sept. 17, although athletes and international students can stay if they already have rooms.

Students are moving into dorms this week at the University of Michigan and Grand Valley State University. Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula began the annual ritual last week. Michigan State University isn’t opening residence halls.

At Michigan Tech in Houghton, Jacob Pilon said students might need to spend more time outdoors if they can’t gather in groups indoors. He’s wearing a mask and following the school’s virus-related restrictions.

“I don’t know about other people, but I want to be up here as long as I can,” Pilon told The Daily Mining Gazette. “I don’t want to be sent home early and do this from my own desk.”

Meanwhile, the state health department reported 868 new virus cases and four additional deaths Monday, raising the death toll since March to 6,397.