Jacob Kendrick: On this week's episode, we’ll be talking about why Eastern Michigan University’s fall enrollment increased, as well as mask mandates now in effect for Washtenaw County.
This upcoming fall, Eastern Michigan University students can expect to see many new faces, as enrollment among first-year students has increased by 20%. According to a press release, fall enrollment has increased from 1,867 new students to 2,250. There has also been a 7% increase in enrollment from the incoming class of 2019. First-year international student enrollment has also increased by a rate of 60%, from 117 last year to 187 this year.
Walter Kraft, Vice President of communications at EMU, correlates the increase of enrollment due to the quality of staff and recent renovations made by the university.
Kraft told the Echo: “The high-quality faculty that we have, the 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and the relationships that students have with faculty are all a big part of what we talk about externally and hope that students share with friends and people in their hometowns about Eastern."
Kyle Deetz, from Brighton, Michigan, is a freshman this year at EMU, and he believed the university would be a good place to focus on his general education classes as he figured out what major he would like to study.
Deetz told the Echo: “I knew people here, and it wasn’t too terribly far away. They gave me a scholarship of $2,500 a semester.”
EMU invests about $50 million in scholarships and financial aid for students. This investment helps offset the high costs that students pay.
As a reminder for students living on campus, you are required to submit your vaccination status by September 30th.
Next, we’ll cover the new mask mandate in Washtenaw County schools.
The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a mask mandate order on Sept. 2 in response to the increased COVID-19 spread within the county, according to a press release. Washtenaw County is currently at a high transmission level, and these orders will remain in place until further notice from the health officer.
The mask order does not apply to the following individuals:
Those actively eating or drinking, swimming, or diving, or who are alone in a room.
Anyone under the age of 4 years; however, supervised masking is recommended for children who are at least 2 years of age.
Anyone with developmental conditions attending school when using a face mask would inhibit the person’s access to education.
Vaccinated staff working with hard-of-hearing children or students with developmental conditions who benefit from facial cues.
Anyone who has a medical reason confirmed in writing from a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine who is currently licensed to practice medicine in Michigan.
Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, Public Information Officer of the Washtenaw County Health Department, explained why going back to last year's prevention protocols is in the best interest of all schools.
Ringler-Cerniglia told the Echo: “Over the past year in that tight classroom setting, when masks, distance, hand-washing, all of these infection control prevention strategies, when those were being used, we saw that transmission was very low. Now, we have a new variant circulating that is more contagious, so prevention strategies are very effective, and the priority and the goal with having these orders are so we can preserve that in person education and do that as safely as possible.”
Washtenaw also issued a second order regarding isolation and quarantine requirements for illness or exposure to COVID-19.
As of September 7th, both orders have taken effect.
The seven-day cumulative case rate of COVID-19 infections is 134 per 100,000 Washtenaw County residents for the days between Sept. 3 and Sept. 9, a 34% increase from a week prior.
As always, thank you for listening and don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday.
Reported: Juliana Lumaj
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: CAmeron Santangelo
Host: Jacob Kendrick