Mid-Michigan schools and universities have seen the biggest increase when it comes to COVID-19 outbreaks. While some have put mask or vaccine mandates in place, others have not which has led to the increase of cases.
One of those universities not implementing a coronavirus vaccine or mask mandate is Northwood University. As of Monday, the University had 25 students infected with COVID-19, making the Midland campus the largest new outbreak in the state.
Unlike many of the state's larger colleges and universities, there are no vaccine, masks, or testing mandates on campus.
"We absolutely are recommending vaccinations and promoting vaccinations to those that are eligible and make an informed decision down that path," said Chip Reeves, vice president of finance and administration for Northwood University.
Reeves is part of Northwood's COVID-19 response team.
"We stop short of mandating vaccinations because there was not an obligation frankly to do so and we do feel that it's a very important choice and a very personal choice" Reeves said.
According to the university's website, there are 18 current positive cases, and 19 pending tests. Reeves said the school had 55 cases this time last year.
"Compared to where we were last year I think yes, we would view that we're currently navigating successfully the situation," Reeves said.
Some students on campus would agree.
"I honestly haven't felt any of the repercussions or effects of it so far," said Dawson Bruckner, Northwood junior.
Bruckner said a mandate would make a lot of students upset.
"I don't think that anything should be mandated. It is a freedom of choice. It is my body, my choice, so if I don't want to put that vaccine in my body I shouldn't be forced to," Bruckner said.
58 percent of the population at Northwood is vaccinated and 82 percent of the staff is vaccinated.
"A lot of my friends have chosen to go with natural immunity route, which is they've gotten COVID-19 and then they've fought it off with their immune systems and they now have antibodies," Bruckner said.
Since the start of the semester, 37 Northwood students have been infected.