Canadian students commuting across the river to attend Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan this fall, are facing a massive dilemma.
Students must adhere to the Quarantine Act upon every return in Canada, meaning they could be perpetually quarantining throughout the year or risk heavy fines and jail time.
"They are in lockdown, not just if because if they're crossing daily, that resets every single time," said Terry Sheehan, MP for Sault Ste. Marie. "They can only cross from the border to their place of quarantine, that's it."
It's estimated that there are roughly 80 Canadians enrolled in LSSU, where Sheehan is an alumnus.
Sheehan said he's a bit bewildered by his alma mater's decision to hold the majority of its classes in-person this fall.
"Their spring and summer courses transitioned to online-only well before a lot of our schools here locally," he said. "But now, it's something like only 20 per cent of courses online."
With the Canadian Quarantine Act being as strict as it is, Sheehan said he hopes the university will eventually switch back to a more accommodating format.
"If they did that and make it more welcoming for Canadian students, it sends certainly a signal to other Canadians that are looking for options to study during COVID-19," said Sheehan.
Since starting its semester on Aug. 10, Lake State has a total of five confirmed COVID-19 cases on its campus.
It's also what's sparked a former Sault Ste. Marie city councillor to speak out against students travelling back and forth.
"I mean, you're putting a lot of pressure on a young person, to expect them to choose their education, versus the greater good of the community," said Susan Myers.
Myers said the fact that students will be perpetually in a state of quarantine is contradictory to the actual word.
It's why she's disappointed that students can travel.
"I've contacted city council to help resolve this issue because we don't know how many students are crossing, but everyone that does, is potentially bringing back another case," Myers said.
Myers says she's also hoping local post-secondary schools, Sault College and Algoma University, can find a way to help out.
"It's none of my business to tell you where to go to school and get your education," she said. "But I would have hoped that, perhaps, there would be an opportunity here for our local institutions to reach out."
So far, the university has committed to sticking with its fall scheduling.