3D visualization of Coronavirus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Latest Updates

  •  Mon, June 1, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – June 1, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today Governor Whitmer announced a major update in Michigan’s fight against COVID-19. The stay-at-home order that was announced on March 23, 2020 was largely rescinded allowing retailers and restaurants to reopen effective June 8. In the new executive order, the Governor stated “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice safe social distancing.”

    The University administration is assessing the new order and its impact on our operations going forward. For the immediate term, we will continue to operate in the same safe manner in which we have been functioning, with remote working to continue; Summer B classes will proceed as initially announced (see below). The Governor’s new order states the following: “Any work that is capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) must be performed remotely 

    There is other major news affecting our community and nation. We must continue to call attention to the most pressing issue facing America today – and it is an issue that has afflicted this nation for far too long – the hatred and racial violence that led to the brutal death of George Floyd. On Friday, along with Provost Longworth and Steven Bryant, Director of Diversity and Community Involvement, I addressed the death of Mr. Floyd and the recent racial incidents against Black men and women that have plagued our communities (read Friday’s campus message). Over the weekend citizens across the nation protested racial violence and discrimination. I continue to stand firm in my resolve that racism and discrimination have no place in our communities. Public universities like ours simply must be agents for social justice and change. Please join me in championing these values at Eastern Michigan University.

    Course delivery for remainder of summer

    Our primary mode of delivering instruction will continue to be online/remote through the remainder of the summer. The Provost's Office will provide exceptions for a very limited number of late start (Summer B), in-person instructional experiences in areas where remote operation makes effective instructional delivery and outcomes difficult to achieve. These decisions to allow in-person instruction on campus will be made on a case-by-case basis and delivery will be subject to any and all government and University health regulations.

    Details about summer registration, the EMU Summer CARES Grant, and program/class options can be found on the summer enrollment website.

    Fall semester planning process

    The University continues to move forward in the planning process for fall semester as outlined in my May 21 campus message: Update: Fall Semester Planning Process – May 21, 2020. These are our overall principles governing fall decision-making:

    • Our number one priority is the health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. This will be the guiding principle in every action we take.
    • We are committed to providing students with the outstanding education they deserve, excellent service to our community, and a safe working environment for our employees.
    • Many questions remain unanswered about the epidemiology and future pattern of the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, our planning process will not make specific predictions about a single course of action. Instead, we will model different scenarios with varying timelines and contingencies.
    • This planning process should be expeditious but cannot be rushed; our goal is to make the best decisions, not necessarily the fastest decisions.
    • As with everything we do at Eastern, we must ensure that our actions are consistent with inclusive excellence – namely, the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

     

    The University’s Public Health Work Group and the Steering Committee, helping to manage these processes, have started meeting and will continue to meet regularly for the foreseeable future. A Remote Work Group is also being established. As outlined in the May 21 campus message, Wade Tornquist, Interim Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education, has drafted a process for re-opening research laboratories, as permitted in the Governor’s recent Executive Order. This process will be submitted to the Faculty Senate for review at its June meeting.

    Work Share for non-instructional bargained-for employees

    On Friday, May 29, the University submitted Work Share applications for bargained-for staff to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. This includes employees from the FM, CS and PT unions who will work a reduced schedule effective Sunday, May 31 through August 1. The University’s intent in this process is to minimize the financial impact on our employees. Depending on individual base salaries, participation in Work Share could more than compensate employees for the decrease in their base salaries. This is similar to the application filed for the University’s non-bargained-for staff that started on May 18.  An FAQ about the Work Share program can be found on the Policies & Procedures page of the Human Resources website.

    These other budget actions were announced previously:

    • Non-bargained-for staff will not receive a salary increase in FY21.
    • A salary reduction of 7 percent for me and members of the executive leadership team, who will continue working full-time. This reduction also applies to the head coaches in football and men’s and women’s basketball.
    • University travel is frozen until further notice.
    • Capital projects are being suspended or delayed, other than those prioritized.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry schedule update

    Based on a recent survey of shoppers, the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry is modifying its hours to accommodate shoppers with work schedules that end later in the afternoon. This week, Swoop’s will be open on Tuesday (6/2) from 12:30 – 5:30 p.m. and on Thursday (6/4), from noon – 3:30 p.m.

    Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items – those most needed are pasta sauce, sugar, flour, toilet paper, barbecue sauce and black beans.

    Items can be dropped off Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected]emich.edu to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Student-athletes achieve record GPA; football student-athletes attain record APR

    Eastern’s more than 430 student-athletes earned their highest semester GPA with a 3.516 winter semester GPA. That surpasses the previous best of 3.238 set in the fall of 2016. Overall, 86 percent of the student-athletes earned a 3.0 GPA or higher. It marked the 21st semester in-a-row EMU posted an average GPA above 3.0.

    Meanwhile, the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures for the four-year period from 2015-16 to 2018-19 earlier this month and the Eastern Michigan University football program set a new multi-year school record of 976. That is second highest among football programs in the Mid-American Conference and tops the previous EMU record set last year at 970. The team also posted the highest single-year rate in program-history with a 987 to better the previous record of 982 set in 2016-17.

    Ongoing community support

    As I’ve stated in several of these messages and on many occasions, I am extraordinarily proud of the community support provided by our faculty, staff and alumni during this crisis. A reflection of that fine work was published in Friday’s MLive: Ypsilanti residents can apply for COVID-19 assistance ‘care packages’. The story discusses how Ypsilanti residents can receive a cloth face mask, hand sanitizer and more as part of a COVID-19 assistance care package program that launched earlier this week. [email protected] is a significant part of the effort.

    To see the full scope of Eastern’s community efforts, please visit this news release with a complete roundup of our activities.

    As a final note, I have included a link to a video I recently completed that was distributed last week to University alumni. The video celebrates the many great efforts of those on our campus and among alumni to support our communities in the wake of COVID-19.

    To our colleagues and partners across the University, thank you for your support and contributions to these important community initiatives, as well as your efforts to assist in planning for the summer and fall academic semesters. With the great degree of uncertainty ahead, our future success will require that we continue to work together constructively and with greater collaboration than ever before.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, May 22, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – May 22, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I hope your Memorial Day weekend brings you some respite from the challenges that surround us. While a slow “reopening” of our businesses and economy is underway, it is still vitally important that we remain vigilant in following health and safety guidance for the prevention of COVID-19--continue physical distancing, wear masks in public settings, and wash your hands frequently.

    Keep in your thoughts the people of mid-Michigan whose lives became a nightmare this week due to the severe flood damage caused by two burst dams. And, most importantly, take some time to reflect on the reason for Memorial Day as we celebrate our freedom and remember the cost at which it came and the sacrifices of our veterans.

    I have several important updates to share with you as we wrap up the week.

    Summer grant available for international students

    Last week, we informed our international students about a new summer grant, the You Are Welcome Here Summer Tuition Grant. Under this program, current international Eastern Michigan University undergraduate and graduate students may apply for a one-time, university-funded grant toward summer tuition and fees for Summer 2020. To be considered for the grant, students must enroll for a minimum of three summer credit hours and must complete the application form. The deadline for submission of the application is the end of the business day (5 p.m.), Friday, May 29.

    Application: You Are Welcome Here Summer Grant

    A committee will review the applications and announce decisions on or before June 8, 2020. Awards will range in value up to a maximum of $500. Please note that our internal funding source for this grant is limited and not all applicants may be selected to receive an award.

    Planning process

    Yesterday, I provided an update to campus on the comprehensive planning to ensure the University is well prepared to support students and employees in the coming months and into the fall semester. As I stated, I have tremendous confidence that we can conduct an inclusive planning process that involves our campus stakeholders, as we face the challenges of how best to educate and serve our students in a time of great change and challenge.

    Yesterday’s message can be found here: Update: Fall Semester Planning Process – May 21, 2020.

    As previously announced, our primary mode of delivering instruction will continue to be online/remote through the remainder of the summer semester. The Provost's Office will consider a highly limited number of exceptions for late start (Summer B) in-person instructional experiences on campus in areas where remote operation makes effective instructional delivery and outcomes difficult to achieve successfully. Decisions to allow in-person instruction on campus will be made on a case-by-case basis, be vetted in Departments, approved by Deans and delivery restrictions will be subject to any and all government and University health regulations.

    Details about summer registration, the EMU Summer CARES Grant, and program/class options can be found on the summer enrollment website.

    Budget update

    We continue to develop and implement plans to address the serious budget constrictions facing the University, which are not unlike those facing universities across the country due to COVID-19. In my May 15 budget message, I noted several budget actions, which include:

    • A reduced work schedule for most of our 200+ non-bargained-for employees in all areas of the University, and participation in the State of Michigan’s Work Share Program. The University’s intent in this process is to minimize the financial impact on our employees. Depending on individual base salaries, participation in Work Share could more than compensate employees for the decrease in their base salary. Please visit the Work Share FAQ on the University Human Resources Policies and Procedures webpage for additional information.
    • Non-bargained for staff will not receive a salary increase in FY21.
    • A salary reduction of 7 percent for members of the executive leadership team and me, all of whom will continue working full-time. This also applies to the head coaches in football and men’s and women’s basketball.
    • The University continues to work with the leaders of our collective bargaining units to implement the Work Share program for our non-instructional bargained-for staff. We appreciate the dialogue we have had with those leaders and the insight they have provided us. We will have further information to share in the days ahead.
    • University travel is frozen until further notice.
    • Capital projects are being suspended or delayed, other than those prioritized.

    This week’s meeting with the administrative leaders’ group detailed several of these actions, as well as provided an update and overview on the University’s budget situation and a number of other items. The slides from the meeting can be viewed on the Office of the President Communications page.

    To the extent that it is helpful to see COVID-19’s impact on other universities in our state and region, below is a partial list of links to media coverage of those institutions. A full list can be found on our budget impact website.

    Ohio University cuts 200 more employees, announces furloughs and salary cuts

    'Substantial' layoffs still coming at Western Michigan University as budgets cut by 20%

    UM, MSU pad admissions for fall, brace for decline of out-of-state, international students

    >WMU could lose $85 million in next fiscal year due to COVID-19, plans to cut staff

    University of Akron to eliminate six of 11 colleges as part of cost-saving measures due to coronavirus pandemic

    Work on the budget for the balance of this fiscal year and the 2021 fiscal year remains ongoing. I have stated several times our commitment to open dialogue, transparency and we will share that information as it is updated. Toward that end, Provost Longworth and I met with the University Budget Council to discuss budgetary considerations as recently as 10:00 this morning.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry update

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room served 66 shoppers this week and will be open again next week on Tuesday (5/26) and Thursday (5/28), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items – those most needed are pasta sauce, baking items such as sugar and flour, butter, packages of rice and pasta side dishes, hand soap, dish soap and garbage bags.

    Items can be dropped off Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Highlighting the positives

    Often, at times like these, the positives that surround us are overlooked due to the challenges at hand. I don’t want that to be the case, because we certainly have many positives to celebrate. I will share four recent highlights with you:

    1)Eastern Michigan University and the $2 million gift to graduating students and incoming first-year students from GameAbove was highlighted in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal;

    2)Eastern’s new partnership to expand awareness and involvement in esports among high school and current students received significant local, national and international coverage. Here is a link to the story in the Detroit Free Press;

    3)Lecturer Tony Kurek was honored as an outstanding instructor by the state’s top accounting organization, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants; and,

    4)The activities undertaken by Eastern Michigan University faculty and staff to support the greater community in the wake of COVID-19 are highlighted in this story in EMU Today.

    As I noted, we have so much of which to be proud. Thank you for your patience, understanding, ideas and support as we confront the challenges ahead.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu, May 21, 2020

    Update: Fall Semester Planning Process – May 21, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As outlined in my message to the campus on May 7, 2020, we have begun a comprehensive planning process to ensure the University is well prepared to support students and employees in the coming months and in the fall semester. I have tremendous confidence that we can conduct an inclusive planning process that involves our campus stakeholders as we face the challenge of how best to educate and serve our students in a time of great change and challenge.

    It is worth repeating that, despite the many uncertainties facing every aspect of our lives, Eastern Michigan University will continue to provide an outstanding education to our students. That is our mission, and our commitment to that mission remains unchanged.

    In this context, we will continue to regularly update the campus about our planning process to keep our campus community safe and resume on-campus operations in the near future.

    Our goals

    While some factors may not be in our control, our goal is to resume in person operations for the fall semester including, wherever safely possible, classroom instruction, housing, dining, and similar activities. But we will not likely return to anything like the “normal” we left behind in March. In the coming months, we must develop health protocols, cleaning schedules, new ideas around space, traffic patterns, room configurations, hybrid work designs, and much more. We must have as our goal the remaking of our community in a way that upholds the key relationship between us and our students that defines Eastern Michigan University. Several principles will guide this planning process.

    Our principles

    Our number one priority is the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. This will be the guiding principle in every action we take. We are committed to providing students with the outstanding education they deserve, excellent service to our community, and a safe working environment for our employees.

    Many questions remain unanswered about the epidemiology and future pattern of the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, our planning process will not make specific predictions about a single course of action. Instead, we will model different scenarios with varying timelines and contingencies.

    This planning process should be expeditious but cannot be rushed; our goal is to make the best decisions, not necessarily the fastest decisions. I therefore ask that our campus community remain patient.

    Whenever possible, owing to their expertise, existing campus committees will be used to propose, evaluate, and respond to plans for topic areas within their purview. Examples of such groups include the Faculty Senate and its standing committees, the Academic Affairs Educational Environment & Facilities Committee (EEFC), and University Budget Council (UBC). When needed, we will create ad-hoc work groups to address specific issues. Each group will be expected to not only bring their individual expertise to the questions and challenges we face, but also to engage the campus community of experts to inform their work and to seek feedback and input from appropriate bodies as they deliberate.

    Our process

    Following the principles outlined above, our planning process will be thorough, deliberate, and inclusive.

    As I previously announced, a Steering Committee of staff and faculty from throughout the University will oversee the planning process. I will chair the group with support from Rhonda Longworth, the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs, and Mike Valdes, the Chief Financial Officer. This group will oversee planning and communications efforts and include faculty and staff members skilled in those needed areas. I have also invited and await an appointment from our Faculty Senate.

    We have convened a Public Health Work Group to recommend public health standards and protocols that will help guide the University as we resume on-campus operations. As outlined in my message on May 7, this group is comprised of faculty, administrators from our College of Health & Human Services, the Dean of Students who has been the University’s point person with the county and state health officials throughout this crisis, and other staff from key areas. I have charged them to convene other campus experts from our faculty and staff as they conduct their work and to engage with government officials for guidance and expertise as needed. Some outcomes may warrant focused dialogue with our campus union leaders around health and safety issues as we receive recommendations and guidance both internal and external.

    We will soon launch a Remote Work Group that will develop trainings, resources and any needed policies surrounding remote work for our administrative, service and other non-instructional staff. They will advise and recommend policies, strategies and practices to ensure that staff working remotely have the tools available to continue to provide excellent service to current and prospective students, co-workers, and other stakeholders. This group will be chaired by Jeff Ammons, the Assistant General Counsel and Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, and will include faculty and staff experts whose specialties include organizational behavior, design, and strategy.

    The academic planning process will be managed by the Provost’s Office, our Deans and the University Librarian. They too will engage additional faculty and staff experts and each will seek contractual input from key faculty bodies as appropriate.

    The Provost has charged Wade Tornquist, Interim Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education, to convene a group of faculty and administrators to draft a process for re-opening research laboratories, as permitted in the Governor’s recent Executive Order. This process will be submitted to the Faculty Senate for review at their June meeting. Provost Longworth will also convene working groups around instructional delivery and support, student support services, and Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

    Further, Provost Longworth and her Academic and Student Affairs team will confer with the Faculty Senate and its standing committees (Budget, EEFC, GEC) regarding calendar, policy, facility, and capacity issues, as well as the budget implications we face as the result of the COVID-19 situation. We know our new working parameters will impact our mix of course offerings and needed delivery formats but specific plans and guidance are needed. We will likely have a higher percentage of classes offered online, and more classes in creative hybrid formats or hy-flex designs, or offered remotely. These issues must be discussed among faculty, instructors, Academic and Student Affairs staff at the department, college and university levels in the coming weeks and months as we develop and finalize our fall semester plans.

    We truly are fortunate to have robust processes in place to consider the myriad issues that must be addressed, and we appreciate the work that will be done by faculty leaders over the summer to recommend courses of action on these issues.

    We will continue to inform the campus community about our planning efforts as this process evolves. Unfortunately, during this unprecedented era in which we live and work, there are, for now, more questions than answers. With patience and diligence, that trend will slowly reverse. In the meantime, we will continue to adhere to these principles and update the campus as often as possible about this planning process.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, May 15, 2020

    Budget Message – May 15, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To Eastern Michigan University faculty and staff:

    You don’t have to look far to see that substantial budget challenges, and the responses to them, permeate the entire higher education community in response to COVID-19.

    Every university in the nation is making significant adjustments to address the financial impact of the disease. Sadly, Eastern Michigan University is no exception. (For a national snapshot of this impact, visit our budget impact website, which has a long list of universities and the budget reductions they have announced over the past month.)

    As noted in my prior messages to our campus community, these are unprecedented times that require unprecedented actions. And while these actions may not be the kind we like to take, they are necessary to address the mounting budgetary challenges we face.

    We don’t yet know, nor can we yet predict, COVID-19’s substantial impact on our primary revenue drivers – tuition, auxiliaries, and room and board. Meanwhile, the future availability of state aid is another great unknown, and it, too, is sure to have a significant revenue impact. While Michigan has not yet announced its state aid plans in response to the disease, discussions of a 10-20 percent state aid reduction for both the state’s current fiscal year (which expires in September) and next fiscal year, are receiving considerable attention.

    For Eastern Michigan University, this situation requires us to continue to plan for significant budgetary impacts. We have taken great effort to research, evaluate and implement these next steps in the most respectful and supportive manner for our valued employees.

    As a result of that effort, effective Monday, May 18, most of the University’s employees not covered under a collective bargaining agreement will begin a reduced work schedule/three- or four-day work week under the State of Michigan’s Work Share program, with a corresponding reduction in pay of 40 or 20 percent. This will be in place through August 1, 2020, and will affect more than 200 administrators and staff in all areas of the University. Further, effective today, six positions have been eliminated. One of these was unfilled, but five individuals have been separated.

    These are not actions we had thought were part of our University’s future only a few months back, prior to the COVID-19 disruption to operations. I am aware that this is a difficult time to be without work, and I am very sorry to those affected by the position eliminations. Again, a few months ago I couldn’t have dreamt of a more unlikely prospect – eliminating positions and moving to a three/four day week for most of our administrative staff. It was not in any playbook that I ever anticipated, but this pandemic and its resulting economic impact is not in any historical playbook either.

    The University will participate in the Work Share program through at least August 1, 2020. Our participation in the program exemplifies our determined efforts to proceed in a way that minimizes the financial impact on our employees to the best of our ability.

    What is Work Share?

    The Work Share program is offered through the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). Under Work Share, the UIA will pay unemployment benefits to employees based on the 20 percent or 40 percent they will not be working.

    Plus, there is an important, additional benefit now available (currently through the end of July 2020) through the federal CARES Act. The federal CARES Act provides an additional $600 per week for anyone receiving state unemployment benefits. Although we cannot guarantee or promise any federal benefit, we believe we are doing what is required to ensure our Work Share participants are eligible for it.

    We anticipate that, due to our expected involvement in the Work Share program, our administrative staff members may receive federal and state benefits in addition to their salaries that, depending on their base salaries, could more than compensate them for the decrease in their base salary during their participation in the Work Share program.

    Individual employees will not need to file for unemployment benefits as part of this program. The Work Share program is entirely employer-driven. Once the UIA approves an employer’s Work Share application, employees are paid unemployment benefits by the UIA in accordance with the details included in the University’s application. According to the state, all employees participating in the programs should be automatically eligible to receive the federal $600 weekly CARES Act supplement as well.

    Our affected administrative personnel have been notified about the Work Share program by supervisors and divisional vice presidents over the past week. We appreciate the many questions that have been raised, as well as the overall understanding that these work reductions are necessary. Many employees also expressed appreciation for the steps the University is taking to manage this process in a way that supports employees to the degree possible.

    The UIA has developed a helpful FAQ for employees participating in Work Share. University Human Resources is also developing its own FAQ, which will soon be available on the UHR website.

    On April 29, I announced a salary reduction of 7 percent for myself and the executive leadership team, who will continue working full-time. Those efforts, along with the Work Share program, are among the first steps to be announced to address the budget challenges brought about by COVID-19. As a reminder, all University travel remains frozen until further notice and many capital projects are being suspended or delayed. All divisions of the University are equally affected by these earlier steps, including Athletics: the Athletic Director and three highest-paid coaches in football and men’s and women’s basketball have also taken 7 percent pay reductions, and the large majority of athletics administrative staff will take part in the University’s Work Share program.

    The University is now in the process of working with the leaders of our collective bargaining units to implement the Work Share program for our bargained-for staff. We appreciate the dialogue we have had with those leaders and the insight they have provided us. We hope to have further information to share in the days ahead.

    Thank you for your understanding as we work through the many challenges ahead of us. I am confident we are pursuing this difficult process with as much care and concern as possible for our employees. I understand that these are difficult times and understand the impact these actions may have on your lives and the lives or your families, friends and associates.

    We will have more to share in the days and weeks ahead. We will continue to work to be as transparent as possible as we undertake these actions.

    Stay safe, all, and my best wishes to each of you.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, May 8, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – May 8, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As we head into a weekend that feels way too much like winter, I want to take the opportunity to wrap up the week to share some positive highlights and other initiatives among our colleagues that you might find useful.

    Yesterday, I outlined the fall semester planning process in my note to our campus community. I will not rehash that message today, but I do want to emphasize its importance. I encourage you to read the message if you haven’t already done so. As with all of my messages, it is posted on the Office of the President Communications page. I would like to thank those of you who have written me and shared your views and perspectives about the importance of a planning process in these uncertain times.

    I choose not to see these as dark times. While they are difficult and uncertain times, and certainly tragic times for those who are directly affected by COVID-19, I remain hopeful. With the great support of the Eastern Michigan University community, we will get through this together. The guidance from public health experts, faculty leadership, the facility team and administrative professionals gives me confidence that we will identify the best path forward to support our students and employees.

    Recap: Giving Tuesday Now

    The impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis has disrupted everyday life throughout Eastern Michigan University, but no population has been more adversely affected than our students. The Student Emergency Fund received 294 applications in March, compared to four in February. The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room has had over 730 visits since March 11, 2020, distributing 16,679 pounds of food. Our students continue to be in desperate need of assistance during this time of uncertainty. This past Tuesday, thousands of caring and compassionate individuals across the globe celebrated Giving Tuesday Now.

    Thanks to the generosity of our EMU community, in just 24 hours Swoop's Food Pantry received over $19,000, the Student Emergency Fund received more than $44,000, and WEMU raised $22,334.

    With the generous matching gift of $50,000 from GameAbove, all donations to the Student Emergency Fund will be matched 1:1. Our Giving Tuesday Now efforts were also supported by two generous gifts to both the Student Emergency Fund and Swoop's Food Pantry from DTE and an allocation of funds to both by the EMU Foundation Board of Trustees. These funds will make a positive and immediate impact on our students.

    Thank you so much to those who made a gift to the Student Emergency Fund, WEMU, or Swoop’s Food Pantry in honor of Giving Tuesday Now. Your support will help create a safety net for students who are facing financial hardship and want to return to school in the fall.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room served 62 students this week and will be open next week on Tuesday (5/12) and Thursday (5/14), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items – those most needed this week are milk, black beans, barbecue sauce, flour, sugar, hand soap and toothpaste.

    Items can be dropped off Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Campus events canceled for June

    With Governor Whitmer’s extension of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order through May 28, and the uncertainty surrounding any form of large gathering in the immediate future, the University has extended its moratorium on campus events through the month of June. A determination for the scheduling of events in July and August will be made in the weeks ahead, consistent with the recommendations of public health officials and government directives.

    Eastern Michigan is operating remotely; we are not “closed”

    I continue to hear from many people that some of our employees have messages on their office voicemails or in an automatic reply to emails that indicate the University is “closed.” I ask that anyone who has that sort of message to please change it to indicate we are operating remotely. It can be very confusing to our guests who try to reach us.

    Where to get free WiFi

    WiFi access has become a challenge for many in our community who counted on access in University buildings or residence halls. Campus Technology, an online publication, has posted a list of locations where students can get free WiFi access during COVID-19. Please click on the link to access the list.

    As announced previously, Eastern Michigan has joined with other area universities to establish a network of on campus outdoor hotspots where people can access WiFi from inside their vehicles. An Eastern hotspot is located at the Convocation Center, Parking Lot B. The strongest signal can be found nearest the entrance of the Convocation Center. Hotspot access is available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and users should remain in their vehicles when using the hotspot due to physical distancing guidance.

    Complete details about how to access Eastern’s hotspot, as well as the location of hotspots at other participating universities, can be found on the Information Technology hotspot link.

    Faculty highlight

    One of my highlights each week is learning about our faculty members’ creative efforts to inspire our students. I learned of another such example this week.

    Dr. Eric Acton is a professor of linguistics. He shared with us a class project about linguistic discrimination that his students accomplished this past semester, overcoming the challenges of working remotely in the face of the pandemic.

    Professor Acton shared how at the beginning of the semester, his students in Linguistics 310 (African American Language) “planned to put together a workshop for other EMU students about the problems of linguistic discrimination (discrimination on the basis of one's language/dialect) and the value of linguistic diversity. Then came the COVID crisis, which meant no opportunity to host an in-person workshop.

    “However, we instead pulled together and developed a rich asynchronous workshop. For what would've been a live slide-based presentation, students recorded themselves presenting their portion of the slides, which I then compiled into a single presentation with interactive questions. They also took footage from interviews they had conducted on campus earlier in the semester and created a very powerful video on language and diversity at EMU.”

    To Professor Acton, I thank you for sharing this story. It is a great way to end the week – remembering, and celebrating, why we do what we do.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu, May 7, 2020

    Fall Semester Planning Process – May 7, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    With the close of the winter semester, I again extend my deep appreciation to students, faculty and staff who have endured an unprecedented upheaval in their educational experiences and workplaces.

    As we begin the summer term, many uncertainties permeate every aspect of our lives. There are, however, at least two certainties. First, Eastern Michigan University will continue to provide an outstanding education to our students. That is our mission, and our commitment to that mission remains unchanged. Second, our university -- like every other university -- faces a challenging financial future as a result of the global pandemic and resulting rapid contraction of the global economy. These challenges require careful planning but decisive and quick action.

    It is in this context that we now turn our attention to planning to resume on-campus operations in what can best be described as a “new normal.”

    Our goals

    While some factors may not be in our control, we are planning for University operations to be held in person on campus this fall including, wherever possible, classroom instruction, housing, dining, and similar activities. Several principles will guide this planning process.

    Our number one priority is the health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. This will be the guiding principle in every action we take. We are committed to providing students with the outstanding education they deserve, excellent service to our community, and a safe working environment for our employees.

    Many questions remain unanswered about the epidemiology and future pattern of the COVID19 virus. Therefore, our planning process will not make specific predictions about a single course of action. Instead, we will model different scenarios with varying timelines and contingencies.

    This planning process should be expeditious but cannot be rushed; our goal is to make the best decisions, not necessarily the fastest decisions. I therefore ask that our campus community remain patient.

    Whenever possible, owing to their expertise, existing campus committees will be used to propose, evaluate, and respond to plans for topic areas within their purview. Examples of such groups include the Faculty Senate, the Educational Environment & Facilities Committee (EEFC), and University Budget Council (UBC), When needed, we will create ad-hoc work groups to address specific issues.

    Steering Committee

    When most on-campus activities began operating remotely in March, I quickly convened a group of administrators and faculty to focus on responding to the crisis and the countless decisions that needed to be made. That group has met regularly, several times each week, for more than two months. It has been extremely effective, and I thank the team members for their excellent work.

    It is now time to transition our focus away from crisis management and toward planning for the future. We are convening a steering group of staff and faculty from key areas of the campus who will oversee the planning process. I will chair the group with support from Rhonda Longworth, the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs, and Mike Valdes, the Chief Financial Officer.

    Public Health Work Group

    The first step in the planning process must be the identification of public health standards that will help guide the University as we resume on-campus operations. We have convened a Public Health Work Group to recommend such standards for the campus. They will begin work immediately, consult with relevant experts from the campus and community, and rely on applicable government guidance.

    This group will be led by Murali Nair, Dean of the College of Health & Human Services. Other members are: Michael Williams, Director of the School of Nursing; Sherry Bumpus, Director of Nursing Operations; Bev Mihalko, Associate Professor of Health Administration; Andrea Gossett Zakrajsek, Professor of Occupational Therapy; Ellen Gold, Dean of Students; Dieter Otto, Director of Custodial Services & Grounds; and Elizabeth Radzilowski, University Human Resources Business Partner.

    Additional planning

    Other aspects of the campus planning process are under way or will begin soon. Issues to be addressed include developing scenarios for academic instruction in the fall, management of campus events, and offering a vibrant but safe student life program (e.g., housing, dining, recreation).

    Again, the principles outlined above will guide this planning process, including, where applicable, the use of existing campus committees. For example, Provost Rhonda Longworth and I will meet with the Faculty Senate next week where we expect to begin discussions about planning academic operations and budget.

    Thank you again for your patience and passion. I will continue to update the campus as often as possible. This is a challenging time, but I know we are up to the task of providing an excellent campus environment for all of our community members.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, May 1, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – May 1, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As we head into what appears to be a beautiful Michigan spring weekend, it is good to reflect back on the week and celebrate our raison d'être as students and employees of this great institution.

    Last Saturday was Commencement Day, and while our graduates didn’t get to walk across the stage we created a memorable experience for them nonetheless. Through a creative process that included text messages, social media filters, a digital/virtual experience and selfie videos we were able to celebrate our graduates in TRU(EMU) Eagles fashion. By the looks of things, did they ever have a great time!

    Hundreds of graduates participated. Scroll through the commencement virtual wall to experience their celebration.

    The congratulations selfie video montage, which includes fellow students, faculty, staff, alumni and family members, received more than 21,000 views on Facebook alone!

    A major part of our annual graduation celebrations is the Multicultural Graduation Celebration. This would have taken place last Friday. In recognition of that and to celebrate our graduating students of color, the Center of Race and Ethnicity (CORE) honored our graduates with a wonderful video that includes messages from faculty and others. It is sure to bring a smile to your face as it did mine.

    Budget challenges due to COVID-19 disruption

    I wanted to follow up on my message earlier this week about the budget challenges the University is facing due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the initial steps we are taking to address those. These steps include a 7 percent pay reduction for me and the senior leadership team who report to me. I appreciate the understanding words I have heard from those who acknowledge how difficult the weeks ahead may be and the uncertainty that surrounds us. I was able to further discuss the current situation and our approach to future reductions this morning in an extended 12-minute interview on WEMU with Morning Edition host David Fair. It is a wide-ranging interview - you may find it helpful in understanding our priorities moving forward.

    Staying secure while working remotely

    Because of COVID-19, Eastern Michigan University employees find themselves working remotely, either for the first time or more than ever before. We want to provide some guidance to help stay cyber-safe during this time.

    • Be vigilant with emails you receive. Hackers and phishers are actively working to play on our emotions and take advantage of our collective COVID-19 anxieties. Be skeptical of emails that you receive from unexpected sources. The sender that you see may not be the true sender of the message. Links may not go where they seem like they would go. For anything even a little unusual we recommend verifying by communicating through a different channel. Try to avoid clicking links directly in email. If possible, find the information by directly visiting the company's web site.

    • Working remotely means new consideration on data handling. See our Sensitive Data Guide at https://tiny.emich.edu/sdg to see where sensitive data can be stored.

    • If you must download EMU data to a personal owned device, create a dedicated folder (or folders) to store all EMU files so that you can easily remove them when the University transitions back to normal operations.

    • If you print any files that contain EMU data, printouts should not be left where others can view them. Printouts should be disposed of by shredding or other fully destructive processes.

    • Make sure your computer’s operating system, web browser, and other software programs are up-to-date. Turn on automatic updates wherever possible. If you have Windows 10 or MacOS, visit https://checkup.emich.edu to verify your computer meets these requirements. If you try this tool and have trouble please reach out to [email protected] for help.

     

    This information also can be found on the IT website.

    For those of you utilizing Zoom, IT has added a "Latest Updates" section to the IT support page for Zoom. The updates highlight new security features available in Zoom v 5.0.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry hours next week

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open next week on Tuesday (5/5) and Thursday (5/7), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items – those most needed this week are cereal, large bags of snacks, dish soap, ready-to-eat meals, baby formula, gluten free pasta, chicken ramen, rice, milk and deodorant.

    Items can be dropped off Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Financial contributions to support Swoop’s should be directed to Swoop's Food Pantry.

    Good news to share

    Today’s good news story comes to us from halfway around the world, from India to be precise. Ankit Soni is a 2009 graduate of the International Business/Entrepreneurship Program and is a third generation member of a family jewelry store ownership in India. The company is now making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including intubation boxes and masks for health care workers to send to the United States. You can see photos of his company’s efforts in the Everyday Eastern Heroes photo gallery.

    Please continue to let us know about positive initiatives among our students and faculty, and in the community. Send a message to [email protected].

    Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    I hope you are able to get outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weekend. Take care of yourselves, and continue to look out for and support others.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, April 29, 2020

    Budget Message – April 29, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To Eastern Michigan University faculty and staff:

    Universities, state and local governments, and businesses across Michigan and the nation are implementing unplanned and significant budget reductions to address the serious disruption of standard operations due to the COVID-19 crisis. While none of the institutions I listed above want to enact such measures, the economic circumstances of the current situation make them unavoidable.

    We at Eastern Michigan University are not exempt from these issues. The impact of lost revenue is already significant and, with the uncertainty of returning to any sort of normal operations, we have to plan, and adjust, for a challenging road ahead.

    Before I detail specific actions we are enacting and the planning underway for future operations and cost savings, it is important to know the lay of the land prior to mid-March, when the COVID-19 crisis hit Michigan full force and disrupted the entire state and our University operations.

    Enrollment projections for fall 2020 were very positive – applications were up 20 percent year-to year. Undergraduate and graduate numbers were both trending strong. Financially, the University was in a significantly better operating position than we were in previous years.

    This improved financial picture was the result of our turnaround plan, which represented a significant commitment over the last several years to cost containment and repositioning our operations to restore financial stability. As I outlined in my State of the University address in October 2019, the turnaround plan included budget cuts, early retirement incentives, and new initiatives to reduce costs and increase investment with the help of outside partners. These efforts succeeded in doubling our unrestricted reserves and turned seven years of deficits to balanced operating returns in FY 18 and FY 19, and, as I indicated, we were on our way to another positive year in FY20.

    As has been the case for every university in the nation, that situation changed drastically, and quickly.

    As an example, take a look at one operating area alone -- Auxiliaries. The revenue loss in Auxiliaries this year is $6 million. This doesn’t begin to project what those losses may look like if the current distancing directives extend into the summer and the next fiscal year. This exemplifies a single area of operations and does not begin to project the added impact on revenue of changing enrollment patterns and state funding models.

    As a result of the direct budgetary impact already identified, and the uncertainty surrounding future revenue, we are compelled to take significant actions to further reduce expenses.

    I am announcing the first of these actions today:

    • The University’s senior leadership team that reports to me will take a 7 percent salary reduction. This reduction takes effect the next pay period, beginning Friday, May 1, and will continue until further notice.
    • All University travel is frozen until further notice.
    • Capital projects are being suspended or delayed, other than those prioritized.
    • Non-bargained for staff will not receive a salary increase in FY21.


    While these are difficult first steps, they cannot be the last. The University’s leadership team is identifying other budget reduction plans that will involve both SS&M reductions and additional personnel savings. We will continue to work closely with our labor partners as we address these difficult issues and determine next steps moving forward. It is my promise and commitment to share information with you in the days ahead.

    It is also my promise to you that we will work to treat people fairly and with respect as we proceed through this process. Our people are what make Eastern Michigan University the great institution it has been for 170 years.

    As I have stated from the beginning of this crisis, the resilience of our community has never been as evident as it is today. While these actions will be difficult, I know that we all understand their importance and necessity.

    With deep appreciation,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

    President

  • Fri, April 24, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 24, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today Governor Whitmer issued a new executive order extending the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive through May 15, 2020. The new order included some changes to the previous order, some of which are significant to our University and our students and employees.

    Below are details of today’s executive order that specifically impact our campus community:

    Students living on campus

    The new order relaxes restrictions on travel between two homes or for the purposes of moving. This allows students living in residence halls who were unable to move out, to return to their primary residence beginning today.

    It also allows students living in residence halls who had previously left but did not remove their belongings, the opportunity to return to campus to do so. Students are expected to move their items out of the rooms by one week from today, Friday, May 1.

    Employees working on campus

    Employees who have been working remotely will continue to do so, pursuant to the terms of the new executive order, through at least May 15, 2020.

    Employees who have been designated as "critical infrastructure workers" or who have been specifically assigned to conduct “minimum basic operations” (as noted in the Governor’s executive order) should continue to work on campus as directed by their supervisors. Under the Governor’s new executive order, all employees working on campus are required to wear a non-medical grade facemask. The University must provide facemasks for any employee who needs one. Many employees working on campus, such as those in the Department of Public Safety, have already been wearing facemasks. Any employees working on campus with questions about facemasks should consult with their supervisors, who are working out the arrangements to ensure all on-campus workers have and are wearing facemasks.

    Moving forward together

    We know that students and employees are eager for more information about when campus offices will re-open, as well as details about how academic instruction and other University programs will operate in the fall. I share your eagerness for more certainty about our future. Our shared desire for more clarity in the face of so many unknown factors is not unique to EMU; every institution of higher education in the United States is struggling with these same issues.

    The global pandemic and resulting economic crisis are unprecedented in our nation’s history. In this rapidly changing environment, fixed timelines are simply not possible. Instead, we must plan for various scenarios with different possible timelines. That planning process must be methodical; it cannot and will not be rushed. Therefore, we cannot answer all questions as quickly as one might wish. This approach requires patience. It is also, however, a best practice used by government health agencies, our peers, and public and private organizations around the world.

    In the coming days and weeks, we will use the University’s existing input structures to execute a collaborative process to develop these scenarios. As always, we will keep the entire campus community informed as this process and its resulting decisions come to fruition.

    Celebrating our graduates!

    Tomorrow, instead of lining up at the Convocation Center for Commencement ceremonies, our graduates will have the opportunity to take part in a digital media/virtual experience. As we all know, our in-person commencement plans were postponed due to public health directives related to the COVID-19 crisis. A traditional in-person ceremony for our current graduating students will take place at a date yet to be determined.

    The virtual experience will create a memorable celebration for the graduating class while also providing an opportunity for faculty, staff, alumni, and fellow students to offer their congratulations. The platform includes celebratory content, including a wonderful video from the EMU community and social media filters that allow graduates to virtually wear a graduation cap and celebrate the occasion.

    Graduating students will receive both a text and email tomorrow with links on how to participate. We all will have the opportunity to celebrate our graduates and watch the fun unfold on the University’s social media channels starting tomorrow.

    Graduates seeking regalia

    We have heard from many of our April graduating students who wish to purchase graduation gowns and mortar boards for their “at home” celebrations and photos. We’ve arranged through the bookstore to make that happen. Please visit this site to learn more.

    Diplomas

    Diplomas will begin being shipped on June 10, 2020 via UPS to the address students provided when applying for graduation. For address updates, please email [email protected].

    Yesterday’s Board of Regents meeting

    As you know, yesterday’s Board of Regents meeting was held remotely and streamed live due to the COVID-19 crisis. I am pleased, thanks to the work of the Board of Regents Office, IT and Communications, that the video stream of the meeting went smoothly and we have received positive feedback on the process.

    We were able to complete several important pieces of business, the primary of which was Board of Regents authorization to pursue the sale of the Gary Owen Building at a price of $2.7 million. This transaction will allow us to return the College of Business to main campus, thereby enhancing interdisciplinary opportunities for faculty and students. Moreover, this arrangement will reduce the University’s annual utility, custodial and other expenses by nearly $1 million and eliminate $13.2 million in deferred maintenance for the building and the adjacent parking garage. Full details can be found here: Eastern Michigan University announces plan to move College of Business to central campus

    Collective bargaining agreements with the unions representing police officers and the command officers in the EMU Department of Public Safety also were approved. We thank our officers for their commitment and service in these challenging times. Details of the agreements can be found here: Eastern Michigan University reaches contract agreements with unions representing EMU police officers and command officers

    In my regular report to the Board of Regents, I thanked the entire Eastern Michigan University community for your supportive and collaborative efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    You can read all of the documents from yesterday's meeting on the Board of Regents website.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry update

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open next week on Tuesday (4/28) and Thursday (4/30), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items – those most needed are cereal, rice, tofu, dish soap, hand soap, pasta sauce, and ready to eat items.

    Items can be dropped off Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Financial contributions to support Swoop’s should be directed to Swoop's Food Pantry.

    Good news to share

    We have another good news story to share in our ongoing effort to highlight projects in which our campus members are supporting one another and the community. Today’s highlight is the work of the Family Empowerment Program (FEP). On-site Eastern Michigan social workers are currently assisting families living in all Ypsilanti Housing Commission (YHC) communities – serving as a key point for social, health and economic access, education support and community navigation.

    During the COVID crisis, FEP's social workers are deemed essential workers and continue to provide daily on-site support and critical resources to almost 1,000 YHC residents, including coordinating bi-weekly deliveries by Food Gatherers and American Muslim Neighbors. You can find photographs of the efforts on our Everyday Eastern Heroes photo gallery.

    Visit the [email protected] Family Empowerment Program website for additional information or contact [email protected].

    Please continue to let us know about positive initiatives among our students and faculty, and in the community. Send a message to [email protected].

    Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    I hope you are able to enjoy the warmer weather we are expecting this weekend. I wish you and your families and friends safety and good health in the days and weeks ahead.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, April 17, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 17, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Greetings on a snowy mid-April Friday. I’m not sure what happened to spring, but I know many of you join me in not welcoming the cold and the sight of the white stuff this time of year!

    I hope many of you are able to enjoy some respite in the weekend ahead. It is a good time to get away, emotionally, and decompress from the stress and challenges in the world around us. A mental health expert interviewed on WEMU this week emphasized the need to focus on simple things – such as sleeping, walking, laughing, eating healthy, practicing mindfulness and taking deep breaths. Finding diversions from the 24-hour news cycle is important – as is staying connected with family and friends through all the various online social sharing platforms. Most of all, continue to stay home and stay safe.

    I have several good news items to share as we wrap up the week.

    EMU CARES Grant expanded to graduate students

    I am very pleased to announce that we have expanded the EMU CARES Grant for students affected by the COVID-19 crisis to include graduate students. The EMU CARES Grant was introduced last week, initially for undergraduate students while the University assessed the most effective way to support graduate students. After that assessment, we determined that graduate students would benefit from the grant under the same terms.

    The one-time grant provides $500 to all students, undergraduate and graduate, enrolling in three credit hours, and $1,000 for all students, undergraduate and graduate, enrolling in six credit hours.

    The grant is designed to offset new costs and other hurdles students face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the additional expenses associated with online and hybrid courses. It provides an additional benefit to students to help them persist in their education and complete their degrees.

    Many of our graduate students face layoffs and other financial hardships and we want to support them, as well as our undergraduate students, as they navigate these unprecedented challenges.

    No application is required to obtain an EMU CARES Grant. It will be automatically credited to students’ accounts for eligible summer 2020 courses. If you have already registered, the grant will be reflected in a future ebill.

    Because the grant is designed to offset additional online fees students must pay due to COVID-19, the grant is available to students who take courses in which an online fee is charged -- this includes the majority of summer courses. The grant aims directly to address concerns raised by some students about being required to take an online course because of the COVID-19 crisis.

    A few important qualifications should be noted. Students who receive full-tuition scholarships for their summer classes and international students may not be eligible for the EMU CARES Grant. Students may e-mail [email protected] if they have questions.

    Summer registration is currently underway, with more than 650 courses to choose from. Classes begin May 4. Students can visit the University’s online enrollment page to learn more about the University’s extensive online and transferable summer course offerings.

    Renewal conditions relaxed for 2020-2021 student scholarships

    Some students have expressed concern that the changes in the delivery of instruction and housing status due to the COVID-19 global pandemic may impact their ability to meet the GPA requirements for EMU scholarship renewal. I am pleased to announce that all scholarships listed below will automatically be renewed for the 2020-2021 aid year if students meet other scholarship conditions such as their remaining semesters of eligibility, enrollment requirements for the 2020-2021 aid year, and Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):

    • Presidential Scholarship
    • Regents Scholarship
    • Recognition of Excellence Scholarship
    • Education First Opportunity Scholarship EFOS (must maintain Pell eligibility)
    • Emerald Scholarship
    • National Scholars Program Scholarship

     

    Students should contact [email protected] with questions about this process or other scholarship awards not listed above.

    Update to pass/fail reporting requirements

    The Provost’s office yesterday distributed a helpful update to students about the University’s Winter 2020 Pass-Fail Grade Reporting Options. Details are included in this link: Provost's Update to Students.

    COVID-19 international students survey

    A survey has been designed specifically for our international students to request feedback on their experiences at Eastern during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Provost’s Office and the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) will review the information to determine the best ways to continue our support of international students during this difficult time. We ask international students to please check their email in order to access and complete the survey by April 24, 2020.

    Campus hotspots identified, coordination with other universities

    In order to provide students throughout the region with free access to WiFi, Eastern Michigan has joined with other area universities to establish a network of on campus outdoor hotspots where people can access WiFi from inside their vehicles. An Eastern hotspot is located at the Convocation Center, Parking Lot B. The strongest signal can be found nearest the entrance of the Convocation Center. Hotspot access is available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and users should remain in their vehicles when using the hotspot due to physical distancing guidance. Other University parking lots are being evaluated for hotspot/WiFi access. We will provide further details as these are determined.

    Eastern is participating in a regional hotspot project with other universities to assist students across the area with hotspot/WiFi access. Students from Eastern or any of the participating institutions can access hotspots at participating institutions. Complete details about how to access Eastern’s hotspot, as well as the location of hotspots at other participating universities, can be found on the Information Technology hotspot link.

    GameAbove offers $50,000 matching gift to Student Emergency Fund

    The EMU Foundation is reporting a positive response to our message earlier this week about the $50,000 matching gift directed to the EMU Student Emergency Fund. This opportunity is offered by the GameAbove alumni group in response to the COVID-19 crisis. If you would like to help us realize the full match by making a gift, please follow this link: EMU Student Emergency Fund.

    Next week’s Swoop’s Food Pantry hours/donations needed

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open next week on Tuesday (4/21) and Thursday (4/23), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items – those most needed are milk, tofu, canned beans, pasta and pasta sauce, cleaning items such as dish soap, laundry pods, dishwasher pods, canned cat food and baby wipes.

    Items can be dropped off Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Financial contributions to support Swoop’s should be directed to Swoop's Food Pantry.

    Looking ahead

    As many of you know, we truly value the inspiring stories emerging among our students, faculty, staff and community volunteers. I like to capture highlights of these efforts in our messages, and today I have a wonderful and profound message to share about the work of a faculty member and her engagement with our students. It seems a fitting way to close out the week – with a strong reminder of why we all do what we do.

    Dr. Beth Henschen, associate professor of political science, sent this message to us:

    I applaud my faculty colleagues for the creative ways in which they have connected with their classes during this pandemic as well as their remarkable dedication to continuing to “teach well.” I’d like to say a few words about the students...

    I was fortunate to be the recipient of a Faculty Research Fellowship (FRF) for the winter 2020 semester. My research “team,” a graduate assistant and an undergraduate funded by the fellowship, have continued to work diligently. Electronic conversations replaced our regular in-person meetings and our methods for coding data were adapted to an online format. Through it all, they have cheerfully continued to work, thanking me when I send them another set of items to code. A work-study student in the department asked if I had any projects for her to undertake, even though she would continue to be paid for the remainder of the semester whether she logged any hours or not. I offered her a contained data-gathering task. She thanked me for giving her something interesting to do, for bringing a bit more focus to her days, and completed the assignment in record time.

    My point is this: These students have had their lives upended. Symposium presentations that have gone undelivered, honors events that have not taken place, send-offs to law school put on hold, graduate student receptions cancelled. Yet through it all, these students—our students—have shown grit and grace and good humor. Let’s applaud them.

    Thank you for sharing this poignant message with us, Dr. Henschen.

    To all in our community, please continue to let us know about positive initiatives among our students and faculty, and in the community. Send a message to [email protected].

    Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    Have a safe, warm and relaxing weekend.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue, April 14, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 14, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Students have expressed considerable interest in the EMU CARES Grant, a one-time grant initiative to support registration for undergraduate students in 2020 summer online/virtual classes, which was announced in an email to students last Thursday (4/9).

    The Grant provides a $500 grant for students enrolling in one class/three credits and $1,000 for students enrolling in two classes/six credits.

    Some of the positive comments we have received include:

    • “Thanks so much, I have already enrolled, and was considering dropping the class, but this will really help me and I can stay enrolled :)”
    • “Thank you very much. This will help tremendously since my husband lost his job due to COVID-19.”

    The grant program was established to address the serious disruption in students’ pursuit of their degrees. We understand the profound impact the global health crisis is having on everyone, particularly the financial hardship on students and their families. We are committed to doing everything we can to help students persist in their education and complete their degrees.

    The new EMU CARES Grant directly addresses concerns raised by some students about the online fees for summer courses, which total $240 for a three-credit class. In fact, the CARES grant not only covers the online fee, but also provides students with an additional financial benefit. With the new grant, students will benefit with an additional $260 ($500 grant minus $240 online fee) for those taking three credits. Students taking six credits will receive an additional $520 ($1,000 grant minus $480 online course fees).

    The CARES grant was designed to maximize a student's ability to qualify for financial aid because the CARES grant is specifically excluded from a student's financial aid award calculation. Removing the online fee does not accomplish this goal and may, in fact, negatively impact a student's financial aid award calculation.

    As you might expect with a grant offering of this nature we received several questions, which I will answer below:

    Q: What do I have to do to apply for the EMU CARES Grant?
    A: There is no application process. The grant is automatically credited to your account upon registration.

    Q: What if I have already registered, do I still qualify?
    A: Yes. The credit will be reflected in a future ebill.

    Q: Why isn’t this particular grant offered for graduate students?
    A: We greatly value our graduate students and are evaluating the best way to support them.

    Q: Why do students have to pay online course fees for summer classes now that we are required to take these courses online?
    A: The online course fee is an existing fee that has been in place and supports the additional technology, software and design support required to offer these course sections on an ongoing basis. As outlined above, however, the CARES grant is designed to address this concern in a way that does not negatively impact students’ financial aid eligibility.

    Q: Will I receive the CARES grant if I take a one- or two-credit summer course?
    A: Yes. The grant will be pro-rated based on the number of credits taken. For example, a student taking a one-credit course will receive a CARES grant of $166, and a student taking a two-credit course will receive a CARES grant of $333. The maximum allowable grant is $1,000 for undergraduate students taking six or more credits this summer.

    Join us in celebrating our 2020 graduates

    As I indicated last week, we are finalizing plans for an online/virtual celebration for our more than 2,200 soon-to-be new graduates in advance of an in-person Commencement ceremony that will occur this fall (we hope to announce the date soon). We’ve had a great response to our request for “selfie videos” congratulating the class of 2020. It’s not too late -- all students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to send us a video to be included in the celebration.

    Even though we are apart -- learning, teaching and working remotely -- we can come together virtually to cheer on our graduates and acknowledge all they have achieved.

    The deadline for video submissions is Saturday, April 18.

    Please send your video to [email protected]. In your email, please include your name and your connection to the EMU community (graduation year if alumni, faculty/staff title, student standing, community member, etc.).

    Suggestions for making the video:

    • Be enthusiastic!
    • Be dynamic and active in your presentation.
    • Be concise.
    • Hold camera vertical - selfie angle.
    • Wear EMU gear.
    • Record selfie message in a controlled environment to limit background noise.
    • Do not record with a large window in the background to avoid being backlit.
    • Have fun!

    I encourage everyone to participate, have fun and be creative, as we start to celebrate our 2020 EMU graduates in a memorable way.

    GameAbove offers $50,000 matching gift to Student Emergency Fund

    After listening to EMU student leaders discuss their priorities for this year, the GameAbove group made a significant investment in the well-being and success of students by creating the Students Matter Most Initiative, which launched in January 2020. Through this initiative, the Student Emergency Fund received a substantial boost with the first round of gifts from GameAbove. The fund now stands to receive additional funding through a $50,000 match that this group of passionate alumni is offering in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

    If you would like to help us realize the full match by making a gift, please follow this link: EMU Student Emergency Fund.

    [email protected] PPE volunteer effort

    [email protected] has initiated a PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) volunteer effort. More than 100 individuals (mostly EMU students, faculty and staff) are participating in the project, making masks, face shields and gowns for St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital and community organizations in need. Engage and its volunteers will produce 1,200 masks. Once this first round is complete, more fabric will be purchased and more masks constructed and distributed. The project is supported by GameAbove (see above). [email protected] has established a website with additional details about the PPE initiative.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry hours/donations needed

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room was open today and will be open again on Thursday (4/16), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Last week saw 115 clients in the seven hours Swoop’s was open.

    Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items, the most needed items this week are:

    • Bread
    • Ketchup and other condiments
    • Tofu
    • Rice side dishes
    • Chicken noodle soup
    • Large snack items
    • Individual frozen meals

    Items can be dropped off Thursday from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Financial donations to support Swoop’s should be directed to Swoop's Food Pantry.

    Moving forward/community support

    I continue to be amazed by our University colleagues and the great support we provide to the community. Below are just a few new initiatives that are underway, as well as an update on an item we had noted previously:

    • EMU faculty members in the College of Engineering and Technology have built plastic intubation boxes to be donated to hospitals/health care workers. You can see images of the devices in the Everyday Eagle Heroes photo gallery.
    • EMU Police continue to support Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, with officers volunteering to make deliveries.
    • EMU Police joined other area agencies last week to acknowledge the front-line health care heroes at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital with a Parade of Lights.

    Let us know about positive initiatives among our students and faculty, and in the community – send a message to [email protected].

    Please follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    Thank you for your resilience and care for one another as we all work through this crisis.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu, April 9, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 9, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    It is with great sadness that I share news about the death of Marilyn Horace-Moore, a longtime and distinguished instructor and advisor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology.

    Marilyn earned a master’s degree in criminology from EMU in 1989 and a bachelor’s degree in 1978, and has been teaching criminology and sociology courses at Eastern since 1994. Prior to becoming a lecturer and advisor in the department, she enjoyed a successful tenure with the City of Ypsilanti Police Department, retiring as a police lieutenant in 1994. Her research issues have included race, discrimination issues and career advising. She has worked with students at Fast Track and athletic recruiting, and actively supported Commencement activities.

    Surviving Marilyn are her husband, two children and 11 grandchildren. Our heartfelt thoughts are with her family, friends, students and University colleagues. We will provide memorial details when they become available.

    Governor extends Executive Order

    Today, Governor Whitmer extended Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through April 30, 2020. Due to the University’s previously announced cancellation of in-person classes through the end of the semester, there will be no change to current University operations under the extension.

    Employees should continue to work remotely through April 30, with the exception of those employees designated as critical infrastructure workers or those conducting minimum basic operations. Employees designated to work on campus have received a letter from their supervisor stating this, and are the only EMU employees who have swipe card access to their buildings.

    We will continue to keep you updated as the situation warrants in the days and weeks ahead.

    Please continue to follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    I wish everyone a healthy, peaceful and restful weekend with the extra day off tomorrow for Spring Recess, and also for many in our community who observe the holidays of Passover and Easter.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, April 8, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 8, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today’s message begins with an important request. Help us celebrate the EMU Class of 2020!

    As I noted in Monday’s message, our graduating students are among the most affected by the disruption to the academic year -- their celebration plans for Commencement were put on hold due to the global health crisis.

    To be sure, our graduates will have the opportunity to participate in a formal Commencement ceremony at a date to be determined.

    Until that moment, when our graduating students get to don their cap and gown and walk across the Convocation stage in person, we plan to do a few special things to celebrate their achievements and let them know proud we are to have them as graduates of Eastern Michigan University.

    As I indicated Monday, we are finalizing plans for an online/virtual celebration for our more than 2,200 new graduates.

    You can play a part in one important element of the celebration. The University is assembling a “selfie” video montage of congratulatory messages to our graduating students. We are hoping current students, faculty, staff and alumni will take part. Even though we are apart -- learning, teaching and working remotely -- we can come together virtually to cheer on our graduates and acknowledge all they have achieved.

    I invite you to send us a short “selfie” video offering congratulations to our 2020 graduates. The video should be between 5-15 seconds. If you are at a loss for words, here are some suggestions below:

    • "Congratulations class of 2020!"
    • "Congrats Eagle grads!"
    • "Cheers to the class of 2020!"
    • "Best of luck and happiest wishes to the class of 2020!"

    The deadline for video submissions is Wednesday, April 15.

    Please send your video to [email protected]. In your email, please include your name and your connection to the EMU community (graduation year if alumni, faculty/staff title, student standing, community member, etc.).

    Suggestions for making the video:

    • Be enthusiastic!
    • Be dynamic and active in your presentation
    • Be concise
    • Hold camera vertical - selfie angle
    • Wear EMU gear
    • Record selfie message in a controlled environment to limit background noise
    • Do not record with a large window in the background
    • Have fun!

    I encourage everyone to participate, have fun and be creative, as we start to celebrate our 2020 EMU graduates in a memorable way.

    We have several additional updates to share with you today.

    Remote answering of office telephones

    It is important that offices answer incoming calls from people seeking information from University offices. Callers, particularly those with important or urgent needs, want to connect with people and don’t like being stuck in voicemail. Thanks to the Division of Information Technology (IT), software exists to allow office phones to connect with an employee’s remote work place and we encourage offices to use this technology.

    Employees working remotely may request access to install and use the Cisco "Jabber" softphone (software phone) client. A softphone is software that runs on your computer and connects to the EMU VoIP phone system. Requirements to use a softphone:

    • You must be connected to the EMU VPN to use the Jabber Softphone.
    • You must complete this service request in order for remote access to be configured and available for your phone.
    • You must have a computer equipped with a microphone and speakers or a headset with a microphone to use this software.
    • You agree that you have a cell phone or a landline available in the location you will be using the softphone. You agree that 911 calls from remote locations must be placed using your cell phone or landline to provide accurate location data to emergency responders.

    Once we configure your access, Jabber Installation instructions are found at https://tiny.emich.edu/jabberinstructions

    Please note: Requests from departments prioritized by the Executive Council are completed first. Requests from other departments will be completed when time permits.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry donations needed

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open again tomorrow, Thursday (4/9), from noon – 3:30 p.m. More than 70 clients visited Swoop’s in the 3½ hours it was open yesterday. The need is great. Clients are requested to complete an online shopping request form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    A significant need continues for certain items. These include:

    • Bread
    • Pasta sauce
    • Ketchup and other condiments
    • Garbanzo beans
    • Large snack food items
    • Size 6 diapers
    • Toilet paper

    Swoop’s also requests self-care and creative items such as lotions, bubble bath, journals, crayons, and markers.

    For those wishing to make donations, items can be dropped off on Thursday from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Financial donations to assist students should be directed to:

    Curbside COVID screening and testing

    The Curbside COVID Screening and Testing Area at the St. Joseph Mercy campus in Ann Arbor offers COVID-19 screening and testing for patients that meet the CDC and State of Michigan testing criteria. A physician's order is NOT required for screening; however, if you have a doctor's order for testing, you are asked to please bring that prescription with you.

    WHEN: Open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week.

    WHERE: Screening/Testing Area is located at the Outpatient Surgery entrance on the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 5360 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, 48197.

    HOW: Drive through screening/testing – people can stay in their vehicles.

    WHO: Open to the public, no prescreen or appointment is necessary.

    St. Joe’s is offering this service to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to patients and their families. If you have any questions, please call 734-712-0918.

    For more information on the CDC testing requirements, please review https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html.

    United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund established

    The United Way of Washtenaw County has launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund to raise funds for the emerging and critical needs of our local community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have not already donated to the Eastern Michigan University campaign, or wish to make an additional donation, please use this link to support the families and community affected. Please put “EMU” in the company field on the relief fund donation page so we can keep track of how our EMU community is helping during this time.

    COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub

    Many of the nation’s most respected mental health organizations have combined efforts to create a new resource hub for access to mental health services and guidance. Please visit the COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub for additional information. The Hub has been added to the University’s COVID-19 resource website.

    Community support initiatives

    We continue to highlight EMU community members making a difference during this crisis. Here are some excellent examples:

    • Some of our outstanding EMU alumni have spent the last two weeks making and donating masks to local hospitals and medical professionals. Anne Houston Chapman (BME02), band teacher at Summit Academy in Romulus, has made over 200 masks, going through three sewing machines to create them. Another alumni, Lynn Klammer (MS88), helped her friend start The Mid-Michigan Mask Makers (4M) and in just one short week has donated over 1,000 masks to hospitals and other health professionals. The new group has 130+ volunteers. Learn more about 4M and how you can get involved by visiting the Facebook Page.
    • EMU professors Cathy Fleischer and Ann Blakeslee have worked to extend the YpsiWrites resources to the community via an online initiative since people are unable to physically utilize those services at Ypsilanti district libraries. The team has created and curated sources to help children, teens, and adults with writing invitations that they can do at home -- individually or together as a family. They are being rolled out on the YpsiWrites website and through the YpsiWrites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

    It is wonderful to learn about these efforts, which speak to Eastern’s long-standing Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement recognition. Please continue to relay details of any other special efforts you are aware of to [email protected].

    Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    The University will be closed on Friday for Spring Recess, and as many in our community observe the holidays of Passover and Easter I will not have another update this week unless necessary.

    Once again, I thank you for your ongoing support, for your commitment to staying safe, and for your care of one another during these challenging times.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon, April 6, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 6, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today marks the beginning of our fourth week of online/virtual class instruction -- it also marks three weeks away from the end of the winter semester. The level of understanding and acceptance among our students, faculty and staff to the adaptations we have been forced to implement continues to be a source of great gratitude, pride and admiration for all of us.

    Commencement and graduation celebrations for current seniors

    Perhaps nowhere are the effects of the pandemic as impactful as they are to our seniors, who were anticipating the traditional celebration to mark the milestone of the attainment of their degrees. Commencement day is the most special day on a university campus, and I, along with our faculty, University leadership, staff and the Alumni Office, were so looking forward to celebrating this day with our students and their families and loved ones.

    We announced previously, with sadness, that Commencement activities would be postponed due to the health crisis. Postponed is the appropriate term. Graduating seniors will still have a celebration. University leadership is working on some creative solutions to mark April 25, which was to be Commencement day, in an appropriate but responsible way given the public health guidance limiting public interaction. We will have more to share once the plans are finalized, which is expected in the next week.

    Most importantly, the University is committing to our graduating students’ participation in a full public Commencement ceremony once it is safe to do so, whether later this fall or in tandem with the University’s Fall Commencement ceremony. These plans also are being finalized with plans to be announced soon.

    Seniors, we know this time is important to you. It is important to us as well. We will make sure you have the celebration you deserve!

    Reminder for employees working on campus to answer screening questions

    Although most EMU employees continue to work remotely, a few, who have been designated as “critical infrastructure workers,” are still coming to campus. As a reminder for these employees and their supervisors, the Washtenaw County Health Department emergency order dated March 26, 2020 is currently in place until April 13, 2020. That order requires EMU employees to answer screening questions each time they report to work on campus (or before reporting to campus for work). Some supervisors have chosen to use a paper form for employees to answer the questions. Others are using the Google Form that has been made available. Supervisors and employees should coordinate regarding which form should be used. As a reminder, if any EMU employee answers "yes" to any of the screening questions, that employee may not work on campus. Further information regarding the Order is available on EMU's COVID-19 website and the Washtenaw County Health Department website. The paper and Google forms are available on the HR Forms website.

    Here are the relevant links:

    Paper Form:

    https://www.emich.edu/hr/documents/benefits/covid-19-daily-screening-requiements.pdf

    Google Form:

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3q9jJpHHcbdydrJBGadHTklhKhMV8_Y-ELkB4tc7XvySh7g/viewform

    Health Department:

    https://www.washtenaw.org/3122/Critical-Infrastructure-Businesses-Guida

    HR Forms:

    https://www.emich.edu/hr/working/employment/forms.php

    Remote working resources/Zoom

    As we continue to adapt to the remote working environment, the Division of Information Technology (IT) continues to work to share and support technology resources. IT has updated its remote-work resources and information page to assist the campus community in these efforts. Please visit the webpage: Technology Resources for Working Remotely. It also is linked on the University’s COVID-19 website.

    Given the questions and concerns that you may have observed in national media about the use of the video conferencing platform Zoom, the IT page also includes security tips for using Zoom effectively and securely. It also includes information about Jabber - the softphone (software-based phone) that people can request access to so they can make/receive calls from their campus phone right on their computer.

    Wellness programs now available online

    Classes and working remotely aren’t the only major adjustments taking place on our campus. Wellness programs for students, faculty, staff and community members have moved online as well. These include exercise, fitness and other initiatives, including yoga, pilates, meditation and even “Wellness Woof” dog therapy. Sean Woolf, associate director of the EMU Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility, is helping coordinate these efforts. He indicates that these programs are a great way to help deal with stress and grief, as well as helping to build resilience and adjust to adversity. Individual classes can be found on the University calendar.

    Reminders/updates

    • The number of students living on campus is now at 313. We expect that number to continue to decline slightly in the days ahead. As this transition continues, we remain committed to supporting students who are still on campus. Students with questions about their on-campus housing or the move-out process should email [email protected].
    • The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open tomorrow (Tuesday, April 7) and Thursday, April 9, from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an online shopping request form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form. Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Creative approaches to virtual class delivery

    We continue to learn about Eastern faculty members who are implementing creative approaches to engage their students in our virtual/online world. Professor Linda Kinczkowski shared with us how she adjusted her three classes in the Simulation, Animation and Gaming program. Considering they were design classes, being able to see and interact with students was imperative. While she misses the personal approach of in-person classes, she has used CANVAS and ZOOM to continue course delivery and meet with students, seeing their continued project work and hearing their reports on each assignment. Professor Kinczkowski indicates that during these meetings she reassures students that “we will get through this together” while also allowing the opportunity for a few laughs, which she says helps lighten some of the challenges faced by students during the health crisis.

    Please continue to relay details of any other special efforts you are aware of to [email protected].

    Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    Please continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    Many thanks for your continued engagement and commitment to Eastern as we weather this crisis.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, April 3, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 3, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As we head into the weekend, I want to again acknowledge the outstanding collaboration we continue to see from across the University. In these challenging times, our Eastern community is working tirelessly and creatively to support one another and our students.

    We have several updates to share with you today.

    Support of health/medical professionals at IHA and St. Joe’s

    As part of the University’s ongoing support of our community and our health partners, Eastern will assist IHA and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital physicians, nurses and health professionals by providing temporary living arrangements in the Village Apartments. This helps to address a major issue for St. Joe’s and IHA -- helping provide a nearby apartment living space for their professionals who are working long hours in the face of this crisis and need a place to self-isolate. These professionals will occupy a single building in the Villages complex – students will not be housed in the same building. The use of Village Apartments for this purpose begins next week.

    Students living on campus

    The number of students living on campus is now less than 400. We expect that number to continue to decline slightly in the days ahead. Students remaining on campus include international students – some who are not being allowed to enter their home countries due to the crisis, as well as students from long distances away, students who consider Eastern their permanent address, and those who are unable to return to their permanent address for other reasons, such as someone in their home being at high risk for COVID-19.

    As this transition continues, we remain 100 percent committed to supporting students who are still living on campus. Students with questions about their on-campus housing or the move-out process should email [email protected].

    Registering for summer and fall classes

    Processes for summer and fall registration remain underway. Students interested in fall registration should visit the fall registration appointment page for details. Students interested in summer classes, which are moving to an online format, should visit the summer registration appointment page to learn the schedule for registration.

    Adjustment to student account hold policies to support studentsis and the disruption it has created, students currently registered for the Winter 2020 semester will now be able to register for Summer and Fall semesters with up to a $500 account balance. The previous outstanding balance limit was $200.

    We recognize that there are unique situations that students and the University have never encountered as a result of the pandemic. For unique situations, please contact the business office via email at [email protected] to arrange a time to discuss your situation.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry hours next week

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open next week on Tuesday (4/7) and Thursday (4/9) from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an online shopping request form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Swoop’s continues to receive great support and is well stocked to support students’ needs. The “hot list” of needed items includes bread, milk, pasta sauce, pasta, rice and tofu.

    For those wishing to make donations, drop-off times are Monday (4/6) from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and on Tuesday (4/7) and Thursday (4/9) from 10 a.m. – noon. Donations can be dropped off to The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room in 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Financial donations to assist students should be directed to:


    Campus Medical Pharmacy changed hours of operation

    Beginning Monday, April 6, Campus Medical Pharmacy, located in the IHA Health Center @ EMU, will be changing its hours until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday – Friday, and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    The Pharmacy encourages patients to contact them ahead of time at (734) 547-5995 to set up a curbside pick-up of medications to limit exposure to others. Contact the Pharmacy with any questions.

    Community volunteer opportunities

    As you might expect, there continues to be high demand among social service and not-for-profit organizations for volunteer assistance. Eastern has a wonderful resource for people who have some time to share and an interest in helping others. Through our VISION Volunteer Center, and in tandem with the University of Michigan Ginsberg Center and the United Way of Washtenaw County, volunteer opportunities can be found at the EMU Volunteer Connection website.

    Further, organizations who wish to have assistance from the EMU community as they combat the disease can fill out this form on the [email protected] website. The staff at engage will connect these organizations with EMU community members who may be able to help. Please feel free to share this website throughout the wider community, and to use it to channel all requests for EMU assistance with supplies or volunteers.

    In addition to the community support opportunities listed on the Volunteer Connection, we continue to receive information about other efforts to support one another and our community. This is one you can do from home. The team at [email protected] is collecting thank you notes for our friends at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital who, like many others, are working tirelessly to treat patients with COVID-19 as well as provide care for all other patients. More than 40 notes have already been generated. One example of the positive messages received reads:

    “Your love and commitment to your job, but more importantly, to the people that you serve every day in the healthcare setting is an amazing and admirable trait. Compassionate and caring people like you make this world a better place, even more so during these dark times. Thank you for just being you!”

    Any and all support we can give to them is appreciated. If you are interested in writing a note of support, please visit this form. The notes, which can be anonymous if you choose, will be printed and shared with the St. Joe’s staff. For more information, contact Engage at [email protected].

    Please continue to relay details of any other special efforts you are aware of to [email protected].

    And, just as important today as when the public health guidance was initially issued -- please “Stay Home, Stay Safe” and continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

    Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    Stay well!

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, April 1, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 1, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Strength. Character. Resilience. These terms capture the sentiments I observe each day in communications with others on campus about the adjustments made by Eastern Michigan University students, by our faculty and by our staff. Each of us is adjusting rapidly to the turmoil and health crisis that surrounds us, which is affecting every area of our lives. I applaud the Eastern Michigan community for your perseverance, patience and support of one another during this difficult time. This is truly a mark of distinction and something of which we all should be very proud.

    I have several updates to share today as the University continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Campus housing

    We currently have fewer than 500 students who have not checked out of campus housing at this time. The number is expected to further decline in the days ahead. This has been an extremely important process as the University follows government and public health directives for physical and social distancing. We know that the actual number of students currently living on campus is likely less than the number referenced above -- including students who returned to their permanent addresses but have not formally moved out.

    The students remaining on campus include international students – some who are not being allowed to enter their home countries due to the crisis, as well as students from long distances away, students who consider Eastern their permanent address, and those who are unable to return to their permanent address for other reasons, such as someone in their home being at high risk for COVID-19. As this transition continues, we remain 100 percent committed to supporting students who are still living on campus. Students with questions about their on-campus housing or the move-out process should email [email protected].

    Registering for summer and fall classes

    Processes for summer and fall registration remain underway. Students interested in fall registration should visit the fall registration appointment page for details. Students interested in summer classes, which are moving to an online format, should visit the summer registration appointment page to learn the schedule for registration.

    New Psychology Department chatbot provides additional support for students

    The EMU Psychology Department, in collaboration with X2ai.com, is conducting a research study that will provide all EMU students free access to a mental health chatbot during the COVID-19 crisis. "Tess" is an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that is trained to deliver evidence-based emotional wellness and coping strategies in this difficult time. To learn more about the study and how to access this resource, please click here. You can enter the study directly by clicking the link at the bottom of the flyer, but you may also receive an email from the investigators in the near future, asking you if you would like to join the project. We encourage you to take advantage of this free service by participating in our study. Please contact the primary investigator, Dr. Karen Saules ([email protected]u) or co-investigator, Krithika Prakash ([email protected]), if you have any questions.

    This effort complements the important and ongoing efforts of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which has transitioned to fully phone and video sessions with Zoom. If students have questions or need to speak with a counselor, they should email CAPS at [email protected] and communicate their interest. Phone messages can be left at 734.487.1118 and will be returned as soon as possible. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends) phone support through its main CAPS phone line, 734.487.1118.

    Cleaning and disinfecting

    The deep and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of campus areas remains a priority and is ongoing. This process will continue through the spring and summer and is being conducted by our facilities team and external specialists as necessary.

    Building access via card swipe for critical infrastructure employees only

    A reminder that only employees designated as critical infrastructure workers or those conducting minimum basic operations are permitted on campus at this time, under the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order. Employees designated to work on campus should have received a letter from their supervisor stating this, and are the only EMU employees who have swipe card access to their buildings. All others do not have such access. Any employee seeking one-time or temporary access must have consent from their supervisor and divisional vice president. The Department of Public Safety requests that anyone visiting campus buildings contact them so they are aware of the building entry and can ensure appropriate cleaning of those areas by our facilities team.

    Update for employees working remotely

    Employees working remotely will continue to do so until further notice. We will keep you advised as any new directives are issued. If employees have a specific date on their “away” phone or email auto-reply messages, such dates should be changed to “until further notice.”

    Looking ahead

    We continue to identify positive efforts to inform and support our campus community. This week’s EMU Today includes three outstanding illustrations of the excellence and creativity of our faculty members and their important connection with students. Please check out the efforts of our School of Music and Dance; the inspired methods of Political Science Professor Jeffrey Bernstein, who has added a bedtime story to his virtual lessons; and the expertise provided by Economics Professor David Crary about the longer term implications of the health crisis.

    And, in true Broadway tradition, “The show must go on!” Virtually, of course. Examples include this year’s virtual delivery of the 24th annual Student Gold Medallion Awards and the 40th Undergraduate Symposium, which is posting one student presentation a day via its social media channels:

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emusymposium/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EMUsymposium

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emuundergraduatesymposium/

    These are wonderful and creative representations of the use of technology to continue to support our students! My thanks to everyone involved. Please continue to relay details of any special efforts you are aware of to [email protected].

    Follow physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Monitor your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates.

    Stay well and stay safe,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon, March 30, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 30, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    We have several important updates for you today as the University’s continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a very important deadline for students living on campus.

    Deadline for residence hall/ on-campus apartments move-out

    Tomorrow is the deadline for students to move out of their residence halls or on-campus apartments. As stated in several previous messages, to be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and keys must be returned no later than tomorrow, March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does allows travel for such purposes, as noted in Section 7(b) of the order:

    Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within the above exceptions.

    We understand that for some Eastern is a permanent address, or a destination for international students and students from far away in the U.S. Other students have other special circumstances that affect their ability to return to their permanent place of residence.

    Please contact the housing office if you have questions about this process. As indicated previously, students who remain in campus housing may be asked to change rooms or consolidate based on total occupancy.

    Update for employees working remotely

    Employees working remotely will continue to do so until communicated otherwise. This applies to all employees other than those designated as a critical infrastructure worker or necessary to conduct minimum basic operations under the terms of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. We will keep you advised as any new directives are issued.

    Working remotely presents distinct challenges for those who have not done so in the past. Our Learning and Organizational Development office has developed the following Tips For Maximizing Your Productivity While Working From Home.

    New Psychology Department chatbot provides additional support for students

    The EMU Psychology Department, in collaboration with X2ai.com, is conducting a research study that will provide all EMU students free access to a mental health chatbot during the COVID-19 crisis. "Tess" is an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that is trained to deliver evidence-based emotional wellness and coping strategies in this difficult time. To learn more about the study and how to access this resource, please click here; you can enter the study directly by clicking the link at the bottom of the flyer, but you may also receive an email from the investigators in the near future, asking you if you would like to join the project. We encourage you to take advantage of this free service by participating in our study. Please contact the primary investigator, Dr. Karen Saules ([email protected]) or co-investigator, Krithika Prakash ([email protected]), if you have any questions.

    This effort complements the important and ongoing efforts of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which has transitioned to fully phone and video sessions with Zoom. If students have questions or need to speak with a counselor, they should email CAPS at [email protected] and communicate their interest. Phone messages can be left at 734.487.1118 and will be returned as soon as possible. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends) phone support through its main CAPS phone line, 734.487.1118.

    Hospital and healthcare organizations requests for donations, supplies and volunteers

    Several offices and individuals across the University have been contacted by hospitals and other healthcare organizations with requests for donations, supplies and volunteers. In some cases, the outside organizations have contacted several different offices at the University seeking assistance. This has led to different offices and individuals working to fulfill the same requests as other colleagues on campus. We have designated the Engage @ EMU office as the central point for coordinating the University response to these varied, and in some cases duplicate, requests. If you receive a request from a hospital or healthcare agency, please direct it to Engage @ EMU at [email protected].

    State of Michigan launches COVID-19 volunteer website

    Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have launched a new volunteer website, www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19, where trained medical professionals can register to serve their fellow Michiganders by assisting hospitals in fighting COVID-19. Other state residents also can use the site to find out how they can help in their local communities, give blood, donate money or needed medical supplies, or assist public health officials in tracking infections.

    Returning books to Halle Library

    The library is not accepting returned books at this time. Fines are not being assessed. The library is working on a procedure for how to return books once the University resumes in-person operations.

    Donations to Student Emergency Fund and Swoops Food Pantry

    The Eastern Michigan University community continues to step up to support our students. I am pleased to announce that over the last two weeks the EMU Student Emergency Fund has received 34 gifts totaling $2,647, while Swoop’s has received 106 gifts totaling $10,046. Thank you to everyone who is supporting these important initiatives! Donations can be directed to:


    Swoop’s Food Pantry hours this week, items in need

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open tomorrow, Tuesday (3/31) and Thursday (4/2) from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an online shopping request form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s “hot list” of needed items includes:

    • Tofu and other meat alternatives
    • Non-dairy milk such as almond, soy, or coconut milk
    • Bread and flour tortillas
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Pasta and pasta sauce
    • Rice and rice sides
    • BBQ sauce
    • Can openers
    • Toilet paper
    • Board games and puzzles
    • Coloring books, crayons, colored pencils
    • Bubble bath, shower gel, bath bombs


    For those wishing to make donations, drop-off days and times are Tuesday (3/31) and Thursday (4/2) from 10 a.m. – noon. Donations can be dropped off to The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room in 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items up from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Moving forward

    We have made it a priority to update our campus community regularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold. Given the growing number of cases both in the county and statewide, the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) no longer issues public announcements about individual cases. The majority of our student body and employees have not been on campus since Wednesday, March 11, more than two-and-a-half weeks ago. Given that time lapse, it is no longer likely that students or employees who test positive would have had close contact with others on campus. Additionally, this time frame is beyond the period of exposure. Anyone who has had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 during the period of high risk would be contacted and provided directions by the Health Department typically between 36 and 48 hours after receiving test results. Moving forward, the University will no longer issue announcements about individual cases, unless circumstances warrant. Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about individuals who test positive is permitted to be released. The health department has an established protocol to track close contacts of any individual who tests positive and will notify anyone who may be at risk.

    We continue to identify positive efforts to support others in these challenging times, as exemplified in this story reported on WDIV-TV’s website. Please continue to forward positive stories and any corresponding photos to [email protected] so that we can share them with the rest of our community.

    Our faculty members continue to share their expertise regarding COVID-19. Epidemiologist and Associate Professor of Health Administration Dr. Beverly Mihalko offered practical advice for protecting ourselves during an interview segment this afternoon on WEMU.

    As Dr. Mihalko noted, please continue to follow physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Sat, March 28, 2020

    EMU instructor tests positive for COVID-19 – March 28, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Late yesterday, we received the unfortunate news that an EMU instructor has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the health department, the instructor’s last day on campus was March 16 and they did not develop symptoms until March 19. Eastern last held in person classes on March 11 before moving to online class operations as a result of the health crisis.

    The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the instructor. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department to self-quarantine or take other actions, if necessary.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the instructor is being released. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State.

    Our thoughts and support are with the instructor and their family at this time.

  • Fri, March 27, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 27, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today you may have heard Governor Whitmer confirm that it is unlikely Michigan K-12 students will return to the classroom this school year. While summer registration at Eastern Michigan formally begins Monday (3/30) for Honors students, the University is looking closely at the summer schedule in terms of maximizing the online class delivery model we are currently using. We will have more to share about that in the days ahead as we work out the details with our faculty leadership.

    With more than 3,600 COVID-19 cases and 92 deaths in Michigan as of this morning, it is becoming increasingly clear that the duration of our health crisis may extend for some time and we need to prepare, as uncertain as it may be at this time.

    The pandemic is causing extreme stress on our state’s hospitals and health care system. The health care workers and first responders who continue to work extraordinarily long hours and under highly stressful circumstances deserve our support and praise. They are our heroes in this crisis.

    So too are the individuals who are supporting others in our community: students, faculty and staff who are volunteering to collect food, medical supplies, and those who are delivering these items to the places, and the people, in need.

    I continue to see great collaboration among the Eastern community throughout this challenging period. I am particularly grateful to the leadership of our faculty and labor partners across the University. They have expressed their unity, support and ideas every step of the way. We would not be able to get through this effectively without that level of collaboration and commitment to our students and institution. This unity and shared effort represents the very best we can be as a University, serving and supporting one another and our students.

    I know all of you join me in trying to stay positive as we confront this crisis. At times it may not be easy. But it is more important than ever to search for and embrace those things that give us solace, hope, peace and happiness. As we head into the weekend, it is a good time to think about how we can mentally get away. How we can recharge. The massive effort over the past two weeks to transition to online classes did not come without a lot of anxiety and stress – for our students, our faculty and our staff.

    Practice self-care. Search for moments of peace. Find creative outlets for positive energy. It may be reading, taking a walk or a hike and enjoying nature, meditating, or even putting on that energizing Zumba home workout video! Binge watch a program. Listen to music. And how about this? Don’t check your email or phone messages for an hour or two. Whatever you do, find a break from the turmoil, even if just briefly. Take care of yourself!

    As we wrap up the week, I have a couple of updates as well as some reminders for students about campus resources to support your online/virtual learning.

    Extension of eligibility for Temporary EMU COVID-19 Leave

    The 80-hour Temporary EMU COVID-19 Leave for full-time, benefits eligible employees continues to be available through Monday, April 13, 2020. Due to the Washtenaw County Health Department's Order dated March 25, 2020, which requires University employees to answer certain screening questions before working on campus, EMU employees may not be permitted to work because of their answers to the questions. EMU employees who are sent home because of their answers to the screening questions are permitted to use the Temporary EMU COVID-19 Leave for this reason.

    Update to operations of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    Counseling support has been transitioned to fully phone and video sessions with Zoom. If students have questions or need to speak with a counselor, they should email CAPS at [email protected] and communicate their interest. Phone messages can be left at 734.487.1118 and will be returned as soon as possible. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends) phone support through its main CAPS phone line, 734.487.1118.

    Important March 31 deadline reminder for students living in residence halls

    To be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and keys must be returned no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Online resources to assist students -- Holman Success Center and Halle Library

    Services at the Holman Success Center have been adjusted during this period of modified operations in order to continue to support students through online offerings. Please visit the website for details and contact information.

    Services at Halle Library also have been adjusted during this period of modified operations to support students’ online learning needs. Visit the website to explore how the library can assist and to find contact information.

    The Dean of Students Office

    The Dean of Students Office is a resource for students on any issues or concerns they are facing. Like other campus offices, the Dean of Students Office is operating remotely. It is prepared to assist with student questions or concerns of many types, including food insecurity, academics, technology, health and wellness, or any other challenges a student may face. Please contact the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    Supporting our Asian American community

    There have been ongoing reports nationally of COVID-19 related racism and discrimination targeting the Asian American community. As we stated in one of our initial messages about the crisis: It is not an illness associated with contact with Asian community members. The Washtenaw County Health Department states, “Let’s fight this public health concern with compassion and science, not fear and discrimination.” As we proudly say here at EMU, “You Are Welcome Here!”

    WEMU essential coverage of COVID-19 and community impact

    On March 12, WEMU made the painful but necessary decision to postpone its spring on-air fundraiser. While WEMU’s needs for funds are essential to its survival, it was more critical to concentrate on serving the community with real-time news and information: global and national coverage from NPR, local news from the WEMU news team, and coverage of the arts and cultural community through the music programs.

    Since that time, WEMU has been tirelessly on the job, with daily updates from elected officials, community leaders, the medical community, EMU faculty, public safety and public health officials, and the EMU administration. Morning and afternoon news hosts David Fair and Lisa Barry have spent hours gathering information, speaking to news leaders, doing key live interviews, and keeping up with breaking news. The music team has covered the local music scene and its loss of performance income and live concerts. The behind the scenes staff has provided support wherever it’s been needed including the endless updating of social media.

    Putting aside their own anxiety for themselves, family, and friends, the WEMU team has been on the job every day (at a social distance and in a carefully sanitized environment) to make sure the community has all the critical information they need.

    While this critical coverage has been ongoing, WEMU decided to do a soft fundraiser. This was done using a mix of recorded and live donation requests for online gifts to try and offset some of the loss from not producing a full-fledged on air fundraiser, with program breaks, special guests, and in-studio volunteers answering telephones.

    And the community responded in amazing fashion with $93,925 from 455 donors over 8 days, 24 of whom gave $1,000 or more as part of WEMU’s Community Champions giving circle.

    Samples from the many comments that accompanied these gifts are below.

    • “In these times, it is this independent reporting and news that is crucial to deliver to local residents, thank you for all of your work!”
    • “WEMU is doing a heroic job of keeping the community informed.”
    • “Keep the light of music coming in these dark days.”
    • “I really appreciate your coverage of our community and its efforts to help.”
    • “Thank you for keeping things ‘jazzy’ during a difficult time for us all.”
    • “To the wonderful WEMU crew in this time of crisis, thank you for supporting the community with your timely and accurate news coverage. We appreciate your dedication to serving all of us.”


    We send our sincere gratitude to our colleagues at WEMU!

    Inspiring stories of support

    This section continues to be dedicated to sharing positive efforts among those in our campus community to support others.

    Zuzana Tomaš, EMU associate professor of ESL/TESOL, is feeling extra proud of her children after they designed and created a flyer for Swoop's Food Pantry donations and organized a food drive in their neighborhood! Professor Tomaš and her children were able to deliver a trunk full of goods to the pantry. During the 10 minutes she and her children were at Swoop's, three other cars came by to drop off donations. Professor Tomaš stated in an email, "It is incredible to see our community stepping up and thinking of others during these difficult times.”

    Photos of Professor Tomaš and her children’s efforts are highlighted on a new photo gallery designed to showcase these fine efforts among our campus community. Visit Everyday Eagle Heroes and please continue to forward stories and photos to [email protected]. We will highlight more of these wonderful initiatives in future communications.

    Again, as we head into the weekend, please take the time to recharge and get away. Continue to follow social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    With appreciation,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu, March 26, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 26, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Earlier today we received word of a second positive COVID-19 test result involving one of our students. The student lived in campus housing and was last on campus two weeks ago, on March 12 (the day the university stopped in person classes). The student lived in a single unit and did not have symptoms when they departed campus. The student is now under care at home. Our thoughts and support are with the student and their family.

    As in yesterday’s report, public health officials indicate there is no concern of exposure to others on campus due to the length of time between the student’s departure from campus and the onset of symptoms.

    The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the student. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department to self-quarantine or take other actions.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the student is being released. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State.

    Washtenaw County Health Department Emergency Order

    Late yesterday, the Washtenaw County Health Department issued an Emergency Order requiring essential service providers and businesses to use recommended screening and social distancing to protect everyone’s health to the greatest degree possible.

    As we’ve stated repeatedly, guidance and directives in this crisis continue to evolve and change rapidly with little notice. Eastern Michigan has been working through the day to develop a screening process to meet the County’s order, which provides for employees to do their own daily health check prior to working. Specific details about the process were included in an email to employees on behalf of University Human Resources a short time ago.

    Credit eligibility for residence hall/housing move-out

    An important reminder: To be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and keys must be returned no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room had more than 100 shoppers over the past three days. Clients are requested to complete an online shopping request form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    Also, Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Next week, Swoop’s will be open on Tuesday (3/31) and Thursday (4/2) from noon – 3:30 p.m.:

    Thanks to donations, Swoop’s has received many wonderful personal care items, games, puzzles, and coloring books, which clients have appreciated.

    Currently needed items include bread, non-dairy milk, tofu, toilet paper, cheese and cream cheese, canned beans, and condiments such as barbecue sauce and hot sauce.

    Please email Swoop’s to inquire about making a food or self-care product donation at [email protected].

    For those who wish to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client needs, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    More stories of inspiration

    In addition to the important and wonderful work by the staff of Swoop’s, we continue to receive many examples of campus community members who are going above and beyond to support our students and fellow citizens during these challenging times. It is truly heartwarming and inspiring!

    • Chad Hutchinson, who became Eastern’s new orchestra director this past year, is one of many great examples of faculty who continue to support our students remotely and is also ensuring they are practicing self care. As you can imagine, the orchestra director normally spends all of his time working with EMU students in person. Director Hutchinson is now working with all of his students using Zoom and other technologies. He also made a self-care video for his students, and now they are sharing their own self-care ideas on discussion boards within Canvas. He has played piano pieces for his students (some classical, some jazz) both as a gift to them and also to demonstrate that performing their own art is still very important in these times. His is but one example of all of the large ensemble directors in the School of Music and Dance who have continued teaching content to their students, despite the challenges inherent in those classes.
    • Counselors Krystol Alpert and Olivia Kaiserian with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have volunteered to serve as crisis counselors for the Crisis Textline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Krystol is completing her master’s degree in counseling at EMU and Olivia is completing her master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. Both are finishing their respective placements at CAPS this year. The Crisis Textline is a national crisis support service that can be accessed by texting "Hello" to 741-741.

    • Last Thursday, the Eastern Michigan University Children's Institute hosted a drive-up opportunity for families to pick up an activity bag and pantry items needed from the Children's Institute Little Free Pantry. Nearly 70 families drove through, with eight Children's Institute staff helping to distribute the items. The activity bags included a book, playdough, craft items and paper. Mailers with additional activities for families to do at home were also mailed this week, and more are planned to be mailed next week.

    I enjoy learning about these efforts as much as I like sharing them with you. As they say, and it is especially true here at Eastern Michigan University, adversity brings out the best in people. We should all be proud of these fine efforts, and the many others that are taking place. Please continue to forward them to us. Send to [email protected]. We look forward to highlighting more wonderful initiatives in future communications.

    Last, but certainly not least, please continue to follow social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    With warm regards,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, March 25, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 25, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As indicated in my message earlier today, this morning we received the unfortunate news from the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) that an Eastern Michigan University student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the student and their family.

    According to the WCHD, the student has not attended classes since March 5. The student lived off campus and is from Wayne County.

    There is no indication that the student had the disease at any point while on campus. The WCHD indicates the student would not have been at risk of exposing others until March 19, and at this time there is no indication that the student visited campus since in person classes ended on March 11.

    The student is currently hospitalized and is not part of the study abroad group that visited Italy, which we communicated about previously. The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the student. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department if needed to self-quarantine or take other actions.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the student is being released. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State.

    As this disease spreads, it is increasingly likely that many of us will at some point know of a family member, friend or associate who has been affected. Our thoughts and support are with all of those who are fighting this disease, those family members who are worried about their loved ones, and also with our health, medical and first responder communities who are on the front lines every day.

    Credit eligibility for residence hall/housing move-out

    An important reminder: To be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and key must be returned no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Academic policy change for Winter 2020 only

    Yesterday, Michael Tew, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Programming & Services, provided information via an email to all students about extended deadlines for student grade and class withdrawal options. Details and email addresses for questions and additional information can be found here.

    Employee leave

    We understand there remain a number of questions about the recently announced Temporary EMU COVID-19 Related Leave as well as the emergency leave acts recently enacted by the federal government. Details regarding each of these leaves may be found on the University Human Resources Leaves of Absence webpage. Additional questions may be directed to the University Human Resources Benefits Office at [email protected].

    Inspiration in challenging times

    In recent campus messages, we have provided examples of exemplary work among members of the Eastern community in supporting others in these difficult and uncertain times. I have asked students, faculty and staff to send other such stories to me so that we might share them with you as we move through this crisis. It is important that we continue to embrace and acknowledge the positive and inspirational efforts of our colleagues and associates. I thank those of you who have taken the time to bring those to our attention. We look forward to highlighting them in future communications.

    Please continue to follow social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. My very best to all of you.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, March 25, 2020

    EMU Student Tests Positive for COVID-19 – March 25, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To students, faculty and staff:

    Late this morning, we received the unfortunate news from the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) that an Eastern Michigan University student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the student and their family.

    According to the WCHD, the student has not attended classes since March 5. The student lived off campus and is from Wayne County.

    There is no indication that the student had the disease at any point while on campus. The WCHD indicates the student would not have been at risk of exposing others until March 19, and at this time there is no indication of visits to campus since in person classes ended on March 11.

    The student is currently hospitalized and is not part of the study abroad group that visited Italy, which we communicated about previously. The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the student. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department if needed to self-quarantine or take other actions.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the student is permitted. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State. It is important to continue to follow hand-washing, social distancing and other prevention measures.

    As this disease spreads, it is increasingly likely that many of us will at some point know of a family member, friend or associate who has been affected. Our thoughts and support are with all of those who are fighting this disease, those family members who are worried about their loved ones, and also with our health, medical and first responder communities who are on the front lines every day.

    Please monitor your email, the Eastern Michigan University COVID-19 website and our FAQ for further information and updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue, March 24, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 24, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The light of dawn this morning brought with it the new day, but also a new way of conducting our personal and professional lives. Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order went into effect this morning, further restricting our day-to-day routines as we all adjust to this unprecedented crisis. The Governor’s actions, and those occurring in other states and at the federal level, are deeply needed and necessary as we fight the global pandemic of COVID-19.

    As announced yesterday, the University implemented several additional actions following the Governor’s Executive Order. Those actions are in alignment with and extend the steps the University already has in place to reduce the on campus work force.

    At this time, employees working on campus include only those designated by their supervisors in the following areas: 1) those engaged in the safety and well-being of our community; 2) those involved in the maintenance of facilities and business operations; 3) employees in housing who are supporting the remaining students who live on campus; 4) support services personnel who facilitate online/virtual/distance learning technologies; and, 5) those working at WEMU 89.1 for their role in providing critical information to the public.

    In each of these cases, it is expected that public health guidance for social distancing and hand washing/hygiene is followed. We also ask that any of the above designated employees or students who still live on campus who feel ill or symptomatic of COVID-19, stay home, self-monitor and contact their medical provider as necessary.

    We have several updates to share with you today.

    Extension of Temporary COVID-19 Related Leave Allowance for eligible employees

    The University is extending the time frame in which its Temporary COVID-19 Related Leave is available. Full-time, benefits-eligible employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of additional paid time off pursuant to this leave through Monday, April 13, 2020.

    This additional time must be used in the case of quarantine, isolation or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure or illness, or other related scenarios, including a temporary lack of work assignments. This is a one-time allowance of paid time off to be utilized during this current pandemic. If the leave allowance is exhausted before April 13, sick leave and/or other leave may be used. This COVID-19 leave allowance is subject to prior approval by your supervisor.

    Employees with questions may contact the University Human Resources Benefits Office at [email protected]. Please continue to monitor EMU’s COVID-19 website for updates.

    Residence halls/housing move-out questions

    We have received many questions from students who have left their resident hall room or apartment, but did not formally checkout and still have items remaining in their room or apartment. We also have been asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

    First, yesterday’s Executive Order by the Governor does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states as follows:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Further, to be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed and formal checkout and key return completed no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. The University cannot store personal belongs or furniture.

    In addition, the University must undertake a deep cleaning of all residence hall rooms and apartments, and cannot begin that process until a room has been officially vacated for 14 days, in the interest of the safety of our employees who clean the rooms, following public health guidance.

    Update on student grade and withdrawal options

    We received several questions from students about the announcement from the Provost’s office yesterday about extended deadlines for student grade and class withdrawal options. As indicated yesterday, these include:

    • Extending the deadline until the end of the semester for students to request the Pass/No Pass grading option;
    • Extending the deadline until the end of the semester for students to request certain types of withdrawals from courses;
    • Waiving degree requirements related to the cancellation of one-credit-hour in person PEGN courses since the decision to suspend in person operations; and,
    • Implementing alternative means of completing LBC requirements for graduation.

     

    Students will receive details on how to extend the deadlines and waivers noted above in a separate email from the Provost’s Office that will be sent within the hour.

    Student government elections postponed until September 2020

    As a result of the unprecedented disruption to campus life that affects every student, the University has postponed until September 2020 the Student Government election that was scheduled to occur tomorrow, March 25, and Thursday, March 26. The exact date of the September election will be determined and announced in the near future.

    To ensure that students retain representation, the current Student Government – which was scheduled to remain in place until late-April – will continue in their roles until the transition to a new Student Government this fall. All candidates who submitted a valid petition to run in the March election will automatically appear on the September election ballot unless they request to have their name removed. As with all matters related to this rapidly evolving global crisis, we will continue to update students about the election process.

    Moving forward

    This morning I participated in an in-depth interview on WEMU 89.1 conducted via phone by Morning Edition host David Fair. The extensive discussion included recent actions taken by the University to ensure the health and safety of our campus community, and the transition to distance/online learning and remote operations for a majority of our employees. The interview addresses many of the ongoing questions that have been raised by our students, faculty and staff – you may find it helpful in answering questions you have.

    In addition, today we posted a new Frequently Asked Questions resource to the University’s COVID-19 website. It features a drop-down format with individual sections for questions pertaining to specific areas of our University community: University Operations; Students; Instructors; Staff; Parents and Family; Community Members; Prospective Students; Travel; and, COVID-19 Information. We hope you will find this to be helpful resource in addressing questions you may have.

    Despite these times of trial and challenge, the Eastern Michigan University community continues to do wonderful things to support our fellow citizens. We have continued to highlight the work of Swoop’s Food Pantry. Some other recent initiatives include:

    • Eastern’s nursing program developed a plan for nursing students, faculty, and/or alumni to assist IHA at their nearby drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. A total of 245 people have volunteered to participate in this effort.
    • EMU Police committed to assisting in the delivery of Meals on Wheels in the community, with more than 20 officers volunteering for deliveries next week.
    • And, as mentioned in previous messages, our community continues to donate medical supplies to be delivered to local hospitals.

    There are undoubtedly many more examples of these kinds of efforts happening throughout the University community. Please share them with us. It is important at these times of challenge that we continue to embrace and support the positive actions around us -- they reflect the very best of the human spirit.

    Please continue to heed social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures, and follow your University email and our COVID-19 website for additional updates, as well as resources to keep you safe.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon, March 23, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 23, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    In light of Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order issued this morning, the University implemented a number of actions today. They are designed to further reduce the workforce working daily on campus beyond our initial actions, which require non-designated employees to work remotely.

    This remains an extremely fluid and evolving situation, reflecting the emergency and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 global crisis. As we all know, guidance and directives are changing daily. The University is working diligently to adjust operations rapidly to meet the changing situation as we assess their impact on University operations and implement the new directives.

    Today, under the terms of the Governor’s Executive Order, we are instructing employees to refrain from coming to campus unless they are part of a smaller group of designated employees, which include those:

    • Needed to maintain essential business and facility operations.
    • Providing instructional support services for online/virtual/distance learning.
    • Involved in urgent health and wellness needs of students.
    • Assisting in the wind-down of on campus housing and student resident checkout, which is to be completed by 5 p.m. March 31. A majority of our on campus residents have moved out, including more than 1,200 students who left over this past weekend. As noted previously, not everyone can move out. For some students, Eastern is a permanent address, or a destination for international students and students from far away in the U.S. Other students have special circumstances that affect their ability to return to their permanent place of residence.
    • Involved in vital public communications during the crisis, such as WEMU 89.1, the University’s National Public Radio station.


    Employees who are included in this smaller group and designated to work on campus will be notified by their supervisors. Other employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so.

    Employees who have items in the workplace they need to retrieve before the order goes into effect at midnight should get them this evening. Swipe card access to all buildings is in place for today only. Buildings will be closed tomorrow. Employees designated to work on campus should call DPS (734.487.1222) to advise them of the building they are working in and the length of time they will be there.

    Due to the Governor’s Executive Order, the Student Center closed at 5 p.m. today and will remain closed at least through April 13 as noted in the Governor’s Executive Order. This includes:

    • EMU Credit Union, which had been open by appointment only. Drive thru operations continue at nearby branches; and,
    • EMU Bookstore, which offers several free online initiatives to support students, including eBooks, access to Lumen Learning OER Courseware, online shipping, and deadline extensions.

    Student grade and withdrawal options

    Under these unprecedented circumstances and consistent with our commitment to support the academic needs of students in every way possible, the Provost’s Office is adjusting student grade and withdrawal options. These include:

    • Extending the deadline for students to request the Pass/No Pass grading option;
    • Extending the deadline for students to request certain types of withdrawals from courses;
    • Waiving degree requirements related to the cancellation of one-credit hour in person PEGN courses since the decision to suspend in person operations; and,
    • Implementing alternative means of completing LBC requirements for graduation.

    Summer registration

    The Provost’s Office today announced the delay of the start of Summer Registration until Monday, March 30 in order to allow for a review of the Summer A course schedule. Fall Registration began today as previously announced.

    Student employees

    Student employees may, if they wish and if their supervisor approves, continue to work remotely (and only on campus within the bounds of the Governor’s Executive Order, with the approval of a vice president and following strict social distancing guidance). Timesheets are due tonight by 11:59 p.m. per the standard reporting process. Students should only report on their timesheets those hours that they have worked.

    Tips for working remotely

    The Division of Information Technology has prepared a set of tips for working remotely: Resources to Prepare for working remotely [PDF].

    Swoop’s Food Pantry reopens tomorrow

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room reopens tomorrow (Tuesday, March 24) from noon – 3:30 p.m. It will be open during those same hours from Tuesday - Thursday of this week. Swoop’s is seeking donations of these supplies:

    • Refrigerated items such as milk, eggs and cheese. Also, beans - both canned and dried - and pasta, rice and bread.
    • Self-care items such as body lotion, soap and bubble bath. Also creative outlets such as used (but with all the pieces!) puzzles, games, journals, and other creative things such as coloring books, markers, and crayons.


    Swoop’s can arrange pick-up of these items from your porch if you are in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area. Please email Swoop’s to inquire about making a food or self-care product donation, or to arrange a pickup, at [email protected].

    For those who wish to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client needs, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    Please join me in thanking the staff of Swoop’s for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students and the community.

    Additional community resources

    Engage @ EMU has compiled a list of community resources. It includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs.

    The Dean of Students Office

    The Dean of Students Office is a resource for students on any issues or concerns they are facing. Like other campus offices, the Dean of Students Office is operating remotely. It is prepared to assist with student questions or concerns of many types, including food insecurity, academics, technology, health and wellness, or any other challenges a student may face. Please contact the Dean of Students at [email protected]emich.edu.

    Urgent need for donations to local hospitals

    Many people responded to our campus wide initiative that we shared yesterday. As noted in the message, area health systems are being tested as a result of COVID-19, with several seeking supplies for patient care. The University is soliciting the following items, in any quantity, to help our colleagues on the frontline of caring for these patients:

    • Face masks, N95 masks, and face shields
    • Gowns
    • Surgical caps/protective caps
    • Eyeglass shields/goggles
    • Lysol or Clorox wipes
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Nasal testing swabs
    • M4 viral media
    • Acetate transparency sheets - blank ones (which will be used to make "face shields")

    Please drop off donations at EMU's Department of Public Safety located at 1200 Oakwood.

    Additionally, our local hospitals are down to a 1-day supply of blood. If you can donate, please contact the American Red Cross and schedule your appointment today.

    Questions about these needs can be directed to the School of Nursing at [email protected] or 734.487.2310.

    Student Gold Medallion Awards to be live streamed

    In an effort to celebrate this year’s nominees and award winners, Campus Life will live stream the announcement of the winners tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, at 4 p.m. That is the time the event was originally scheduled before it had to be canceled. Watch the announcement live on Campus Life’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

    Future steps

    The actions we are taking today, consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order, further reflect our ongoing commitment to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the Eastern Michigan University community. I ask you to continue to heed social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention [PDF] measures.

    Please continue to follow your University email and our COVID-19 website for additional updates, as well as resources to keep you safe.

    Thank you for your continued attention to these urgent matters.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, March 20, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 20, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding in these difficult times. The actions and decisions we are implementing daily are in direct response to the national emergency surrounding COVID-19 and directives from the executive and state branches of government. They also are in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    In response to yesterday’s message about closing residence halls and on campus apartments effective Tuesday, March 31, more than 700 students are scheduled to move out this weekend. Housing staff is deliberate in the scheduling process to spread the move-outs apart in observance of social distancing guidance. I thank students and families for your cooperation through this process. My sincere appreciation to housing staff who are working tirelessly to ensure a safe and efficient process.

    As noted in yesterday’s communications, students living in residence halls or on campus apartments should visit the housing website for move-out details and to schedule a check-out time. This must be completed by 11:59 p.m. tonight, Friday, March 20. Our housing team will not be able to accommodate all those who want to check out at the same time, so please be flexible. At their scheduled time, students should check-out at their respective service desk. Parking will be free during the move-out process.

    We understand that not everyone can move out. In some cases, Eastern is a permanent address, or a destination for international students and students from far away in the U.S. Other students have other special circumstances that affect their ability to return to their permanent place of residence. Exceptions to the mandatory move-out exist for those students. Please email the housing office if you have questions at [email protected].

    Some students have asked how they will be notified about their housing and/or meal plan credit, as was announced yesterday. Eligible students will be notified by email from Student Business Services once the assessment process is completed. As noted yesterday, processing the entire population of students living in campus housing and on meal plans will take some time, and we ask for your patience. It is important to remember the unprecedented time we are in and the state of emergency that surrounds, and affects, all of our actions.

    The Dean of Students Office

    The Dean of Students Office is a resource for students on any issues or concerns they are facing. Like other campus offices, the Dean of Students Office is operating remotely. It is prepared to assist with student questions or concerns of many types, including food insecurity, academics, technology, health and wellness, or any other challenges a student may face. Please contact the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    Student employees

    Student employees received their regular pay yesterday, March 19. Student employees may, if they wish and if their supervisor approves, continue to work remotely (and only on campus with the approval of a vice president and following strict social distancing guidance). Students should only report on their timesheets those hours that they have worked.

    The University recognizes that with the temporary modification of campus operations, certain student employees may not be needed. We understand that many students rely on their student employment to make ends meet and that the impact of not working could lead to serious financial consequences. We are reviewing this matter, as well as guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies. We hope to provide additional information as soon as possible.

    Students should examine the Student Emergency Fund and seek assistance if eligible. Students are also encouraged to explore the Community Resource Page developed by Engage @ EMU.

    Halle Library

    Library services have been adjusted during this period of modified operations. Although in person services are suspended because of the Governor’s executive order, the library is committed to providing research support, which is available online in a variety of ways:

    • 24/7 chat reference through the Ask a Librarian service (EMU Librarians are now staffing most hours normally covered in person via this chat service);
    • E-mail or phone by filling out this online form; and,
    • Virtual appointments via phone or Google Meet with subject specialists.


    Much of the library's collection is available electronically via Esearch and the library's other databases. This includes many ebooks assigned in courses. Faculty and students who need to access specific material that is not available electronically should contact their subject specialist to help identify alternatives.

    The computer labs in Halle, which reopened temporarily yesterday and today with limited hours and social distancing, usage limits and cleaning and hygiene protocols in place, will close effective Monday, March 23. They will remain closed until further notice.

    The labs were reopened to assist students who do not have access to a computer during the wind down of on campus operations. The labs received very limited use over the past two days. Students with challenges for resources to finish classes online should contact the Dean of Students Office, as noted above, for assistance.

    The library has a number of resources available for faculty for online learning (via Canvas or another option.) In Canvas, there is a "Library Guides" link at the bottom of the LH navigation column that will take you directly to an appropriate research guide. Additionally, the library offers a number of tutorials and instructional videos that you can point students to.

    Please keep library materials until the library reopens, including EMU, MelCat, and Interlibrary Loan items. Due dates will be automatically extended and fines will be waived.

    Please see the Library Services for Online Learners and Library Services Updates pages for additional information.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    Over the past three days of being open 3½ hours a day, the John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room was visited by 159 shoppers. The need is great and demand is high. We are working to continue to support those in need. Swoop’s will be open next week from Tuesday – Thursday from noon to 3:30 p.m.

    Swoop’s is seeking these supplies through donation to keep up with demand:

    • Refrigerated items such as milk, eggs and cheese. Also, beans - both canned and dried - and pasta, rice and bread.
    • Self-care items such as body lotion, soap and bubble bath. Also creative outlets such as used (but with all the pieces!) puzzles, games, journals, and other creative things such as coloring books, markers, and crayons.


    Swoop’s can arrange pick-up of these items from your porch if you are in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area. Please email Swoop’s to inquire about making a food or self-care product donation, or to arrange a pickup, at [email protected].

    For those who wish to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client needs, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    Please join me in thanking the staff of Swoop’s for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students and the community.

    Additional community resources

    Engage @ EMU has compiled a list of community resources. It includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs.

    Further guidance and information

    As many of you, I am closely monitoring government and public health updates. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan today increased to more than 500. There were no cases reported in Michigan just 10 days ago, until Tuesday evening, March 10. The predicted escalation in the number of cases is clearly happening now and the health care system is under tremendous stress.

    The University is taking every precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. This guides every decision we make, every day. As I’ve said repeatedly, our students, faculty and staff have conducted themselves with the greatest of skill, expertise and understanding throughout this crisis. This is a time for everyone to work together, to protect one another, and ensure we follow hygiene and social distancing guidance.

    Please continue to follow that guidance and the Washtenaw County Health Department prevention recommendations that have been provided in my daily updates.

    If you know of someone who has contracted the disease, or an individual or family that is quarantined as a result, you might find this Health Department guidance helpful: Directions for Isolation, Quarantine, Monitoring and Social Distancing. It is one of the many helpful resources on the University’s COVID-19 website. Please continue to monitor it, and your campus email, for ongoing updates.

    Please be safe.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thur, March 19, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 19, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and declarations of emergency at the national, state and local level, we have instructed our residence halls to close effective Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. This applies to all students living in residence halls, with the exception of international students, students from far distances, or those who have other special circumstances.

    We have given great and careful thought to this decision, as we have to every action taken as we respond to this global crisis. It follows our announcement yesterday to extend online-only course delivery through the end of the winter semester, which eliminates the possibility of in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. We are not the first University to order such actions, and we won’t be the last.

    We have implemented a credit process to reimburse students for some of their housing and meal plan expenses this semester. These plans were articulated directly to students a short time ago in a message from Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Calvin Phillips and Chief Financial Office Mike Valdes. The message also provided specifics and directions about the move-out process to take place starting tomorrow through March 31.

    These decisions and actions are intended to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our entire community at a time of crisis and great uncertainty. We all are witness to the rapidly changing world around us. We all are trying to adjust to these changes – changes that affect us personally and professionally. While we work to maintain University operations, we are concerned about our loved ones and friends. Keeping apart from one another, socially distancing ourselves, is the most effective way to slow the spread of the disease.

    Please continue to follow that guidance and the prevention recommendations that have been provided in my daily updates. In short, this is best thing all of us can do to make a difference in the midst of this crisis.

    I have other important updates for you today:

    Temporary COVID-19 Related Leave Allowance

    To ease the impact of COVID-19 on full-time, benefits-eligible staff, EMU has established a temporary, 80-hour leave allowance. Effective today, March 19, through April 6, full-time, benefits-eligible staff members are eligible for up to 80 hours of additional paid time off.

    This additional time must be used in the case of quarantine, isolation or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure or illness, or other related scenarios, including a temporary lack of work assignments. This is a one-time allowance of paid time off to be utilized during this current pandemic. If the leave allowance is exhausted before April 6, sick leave and/or other leave may be used. This COVID-19 leave allowance is subject to prior approval by your supervisor.

    Staff will be instructed on how to report use of the COVID-19 leave allowance in a future communication. We understand there will be other questions. Feel free to contact University Human Resources and monitor EMU’s COVID-19 website for updates.

    Summer/Fall registration

    Due to the evolving situation, we have made some changes to our registration schedules. Registration for fall classes will begin Monday, March 23. Registration for summer classes is being pushed back to a later date to be announced, as we work to adjust to changes in class delivery and scheduling.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    In just the last two days, The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room has seen more than 100 shoppers. Swoop’s is currently operating on a modified schedule to serve and meet our EMU student's needs during the COVID-19 crisis. Swoop’s current needs include:

    Food Donations: Milk, bread, eggs, pasta, pasta sauce, canned beans, baby food, and other refrigerator type items.

    Self-care products: Journals, body lotion, bubble bath, as well as gently-used items such as puzzles, games, and creative items, including things like markers, crayons and coloring books.

    These items can be dropped off at the pantry, please either email [email protected] or call (734) 487-4173 to make arrangements.

    For those who want to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client need, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    The following items below are being shared again due to their importance:

    Holman Success Center

    The Holman Success Center services have been adjusted during this period of modified operations. A detailed list of the Center’s online services can be found here. You may e-mail the Holman team at [email protected].

    Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions will be held via Google Meet. Sessions will continue during their regularly scheduled times. If you are registered for a course that offers SI, the Center will send you links to the Google Meet session.

    Tutoring will also be available virtually. Students should navigate to the tutoring schedule, locate their supported course, and e-mail the listed tutor for the day and time they choose to attend. Tutors will e-mail links to a Google Meet to all students for a specific session.

    Peer Academic Coaches (PACs) will be available for virtual meetings via Google Meet. PACs are available to assist students with how to manage their time and stay organized in an online environment. They can also assist with learning strategies for virtual learning. Links to schedule virtual meetings with peer academic coaches can be found on the EMU Engage app.

    Success Coaches will continue to meet with students virtually through Google Meet. Students can schedule virtual meetings with success coaches here and here.

    The Holman team is also creating a series of videos for students about how to remain an active learner in an online learning environment. Those videos will be posted to the Holman website and YouTube channel as they are completed.

    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    During the on-campus modification of operations, CAPS is working to provide support to students, while maintaining the physical health of our campus community. All in-person appointments have been canceled. Current clients have been contacted by email and will also be called by a CAPS therapist. CAPS will be offering phone support to any students in need from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday. CAPS will continue to offer after-hours phone support through the main CAPS phone line (734-487-1118) after 5 p.m. and on weekends. If you have questions or need to speak with a counselor, please contact CAPS at 734-487-1118 or [email protected]mich.edu.

    Other mental health resources include:
    1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    2. Crisis Text Line: Text "hello" to 741741

     

    IHA Health Center @ EMU

    IHA has notified the University that due to a surge in urgent care volume, it has expanded urgent care capabilities and shifted more routine care to its Arbor Park location. Students and employees who need routine care should go to the Arbor Park Location at 4940 W. Clark Road. IHA requests that anyone experiencing upper respiratory or fever symptoms should complete this form, at which time IHA will contact individuals with further information and appropriate care.

    The Campus Medical Pharmacy located in the health center will remain open with regular hours.

    Computer lab

    The ground floor computer lab in Halle will be open again tomorrow, Friday, March 20, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The technology computer labs also will open for technology students. Usage will be limited to meet social distancing guidelines, with many computers not activated to ensure more than six feet of distance between users. In addition, a new hand sanitizing station has been set up just outside the computer lab. Anyone who enters the lab will be required to use the hand sanitizer or wash their hands in the nearby restroom. Users also will have to use the hand sanitizer or wash their hands upon leaving the lab.

    Due to space limitations and the observance of social distancing, users will not be allowed to bring guests or family members with them to the lab. Given the limited number of computers available under these circumstances, we are asking users to work as efficiently as possible on only university academic assignments so that others can have access to the computers. There may be times when capacity is reached and students will not be allowed inside. They will have to return at a time when computers are available. Swipe card access will be required to enter the building, and access is limited to the computer labs only. The library areas of Halle are closed and gated. Lab hours for next week are being determined.

    Looking ahead

    We will continue to provide updates and new information as warranted. Once again, I thank all members of this great University for staying focused on responding to these enormous challenges. To all students, faculty and staff – please continue to operate with patience and understanding. Support one another any way you can. Together, we will confront the issues we need to address, and maintain the qualities of excellence and distinct student connection that are part of our rich 170-year history.

    Please monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these difficult times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, March 18, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 18, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 and based on declarations of emergency and guidance from federal, state, and local government and public health officials, the University has made the important decision to extend online/virtual class program delivery through the end of the winter semester, April 27. This decision was made after discussion and consultation with bargaining unit leadership and support, which I greatly appreciate. In person, on campus classes will not take place for the remainder of the semester.

    Employees, other than those designated by their supervisors, will continue to work remotely for the time being. A return date to regular on campus operations for employees will be communicated at a later date, as this evolving situation warrants.

    These are important actions. They would have been unheard of just months ago. But they reflect the severity of the health crisis facing our community, state, nation and world. It is not a time for business as usual. It is a time for reassurance. It is a time for action, and leadership. And, it is a time for addressing the University’s number one mission and priority – protecting the health and safety of our community. It also is a time for creativity and ingenuity as we deliver Eastern’s high quality education to students in new and different ways to ensure their continued success.

    I again want to offer my sincere appreciation to everyone who is adjusting to these changes. Our faculty and staff have responded with overwhelming support, with a “can do” attitude that reflects the very best qualities of everything Eastern Michigan University stands for. Your passion for what we do and your commitment to making a monumental operational transformation to an online/virtual environment is a source of deep pride for all of us.

    Several other operational items are important to address in today’s update, including helpful information for students about the computer lab, Holman Success Center, and CAPS:

    Computer lab to open

    The ground floor computer lab in Halle will open tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, and Friday, March 20, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The technology computer labs also will open for technology students. Usage will be limited to meet social distancing guidelines, with many computers not activated to ensure more than six feet of distance between users. In addition, a new hand sanitizing station has been set up just outside the computer lab. Anyone who enters the lab will be required to use it, or wash their hands in the nearby restroom. Users also will have to use the hand sanitizer or wash their hands upon leaving the lab.

    Due to space limitations and the observance of social distancing, users will not be allowed to bring guests or family members with them to the lab. Given the limited number of computers available under these circumstances, we are asking users to work as efficiently as possible on only university academic assignments so that others can have access to the computers. There may be times when capacity is reached and students will not be allowed inside. They will have to return at a time when computers are available. Swipe card access will be required to enter the building, and access is limited to the computer labs only. The library areas of Halle will be closed and gated. Lab hours for next week are being determined.

    Students living in residence halls

    Due to this public health crisis, and in light of the need to continue online course delivery through the end of the semester, we strongly encourage students living on campus to return to their permanent place of residence for the remainder of the semester (unless they are international students, are from far distances, or have other special circumstances requiring them to remain).

    Dining hours are continually being adjusted to meet our on-campus student population and directives from the State of Michigan. Please check hours at EMU’s dining website.

    The University is developing plans to provide financial adjustments for students who have moved out of residence halls and for those who have dining contracts. We will provide further details in the very near future as those plans are finalized.

    Holman Success Center

    The Holman Success Center services have been adjusted during this period of modified operations. A detailed list of the Center’s online services can be found >here. You may e-mail the Holman team at [email protected].

    Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions will be held via Google Meet. Sessions will continue during their regularly scheduled times. If you are registered for a course that offers SI, the Center will send you links to the Google Meet session.

    Tutoring will also be available virtually. Students should navigate to the tutoring schedule, locate their supported course, and e-mail the listed tutor for the day and time they choose to attend. Tutors will e-mail links to a Google Meet to all students for a specific session.

    Peer Academic Coaches (PACs) will be available for virtual meetings via Google Meet. PACs are available to assist students with how to manage their time and stay organized in an online environment. They can also assist with learning strategies for virtual learning. Links to schedule virtual meetings with peer academic coaches can be found on the EMU Engage app.

    Success Coaches will continue to meet with students virtually through Google Meet. Students can schedule virtual meetings with success coaches here and here.

    The Holman team is also creating a series of videos for students about how to remain an active learner in an online learning environment. Those videos will be posted to the Holman website and YouTube channel as they are completed.

    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    During the on-campus modification of operations, CAPS is working to provide support to students, while maintaining the physical health of our campus community. All in-person appointments have been canceled. Current clients have been contacted by email and will also be called by a CAPS therapist. CAPS will be offering phone support to any students in need from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday. CAPS will continue to offer after-hours phone support through the main CAPS phone line (734-487-1118) after 5 p.m. and on weekends. If you have questions or need to speak with a counselor, please contact CAPS at 734-487-1118 or [email protected].

    Other mental health resources include:
    1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    2. Crisis Text Line: Text "hello" to 741741

    IHA Health Center @ EMU

    IHA has notified the University that due to a surge in urgent care volume, it has expanded urgent care capabilities and shifted more routine care to its Arbor Park location. Students and employees who need routine care should go to the Arbor Park Location at 4940 W. Clark Road. IHA requests that anyone experiencing upper respiratory or fever symptoms should complete this form, at which time IHA will contact individuals with further information and appropriate care.

    The Campus Medical Pharmacy located in the health center will remain open with regular hours.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    More than 60 shoppers visited Swoop’s yesterday. The number reflects the importance of the Pantry. Using appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols, Swoop’s was open today and will be open again tomorrow, Thursday (3/19), from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will have an update on next week’s schedule later in the week.

    To minimize social contacts, the shopping process has been adjusted: Staff walks the aisles with clients and staff fills the bags, thereby reducing touching of handles, food and produce by clients. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    Many have asked how they can support Swoop’s during this time. Staff is on hand from 11-11:30 a.m. tomorrow to take food donations.

    For those who want to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client need, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    Community Resources

    Engage @ EMU has compiled a list of community resources. It includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs.

    Campus events cancelation extended

    Today, I am instructing that the cancelation of University events be extended beyond the initial March 31 date we announced last week to May 8. This reflects Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance announced earlier this week for an eight-week moratorium on large gatherings. Out of an abundance of caution, our actions will not only limit large events, but smaller ones as well. All University and non-University hosted events scheduled at Eastern Michigan are canceled through May 8. As we had announced previously, this includes the postponement of Commencement ceremonies on April 25 and the Multicultural Graduation on April 24.

    EMU Credit Union (EMUCU) open by appointment only

    The EMU Credit Union in the Student Center has moved to a “by appointment only” schedule during its regular business hours, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. Please email the branch at [email protected] to schedule an appointment. Nearby EMUCU branch offices are open for drive-thru (Jackson Road, Carpenter Road, South State Street, Bristol Road). If you any questions, contact the EMUCU during regularly scheduled business hours at 800-968-8628.

    IBM SPSS

    During the COVID-19 situation, IBM SPSS is allowing free home-use licenses for SPSS Statistics Standard for instructors and students. To obtain the software please visit http://emich.onthehub.com and sign on with your EMU NetID and password. IBM limits the SPSS Statistics Standard software to one download per user.

    For graduating students – questions about diplomas and transcripts

    Information about diplomas and transcripts is available on the Office of Records and Registration website.

    Moving forward

    I am committed to keeping our community well informed of our updates and actions as we proceed through these uncertain times. I ask that you share with me any items that we need to know about, positive ways we are working together, or challenges we face, so that we can learn more, and share that knowledge and information.

    While this is indeed a challenging phase in all of our lives, it is one that we must continue to meet together by embracing the very best in one another, and the noblest qualities of our human spirit.

    Please continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these difficult times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue, March 17, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 17, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    These are unprecedented times. The ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the speed at which things are changing around us are affecting our lives in ways we could not have imagined. Our Eastern community continues to work constructively during these challenges, with the highest priority on the health and safety of everyone at our University. As you have observed, we are continually adapting our operations to meet this health crisis. We are working tirelessly, and taking every precaution. We also are committed to keeping you informed on an ongoing basis.

    To our faculty and staff, thank you for all you have been doing to lead our campus through a very difficult time. We appreciate your dedication and compassion for our students and your co-workers.

    University operations

    Based on questions we are receiving, it is important we are clear about University operations, and that any emails, out-of-office messages, websites and other communications, conversations or presentations reflect the following:

    • The University is not "closed." The University is "open with modified operations.”

    • We continue to serve our students in a virtual/online environment with most employees working remotely.

    • Our operations reflect the emergency orders on the national, state and local levels, as well as ongoing guidance we receive from federal, state and local public health officials.

    Internet access/computer support

    Students and employees have contacted us about what to do if they do not have internet access or a computing device. With Halle Library operations suspended under the Governor’s executive order, it is a priority for us to provide students with access to the computer labs. We hope to finalize this plan shortly and expect to have information to share tomorrow.

    In the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis, many internet providers are offering plans to support individuals at this time with low cost or free services. Below is additional information about some of those plans:

    • FCC agreement states that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots;
    • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families; all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time;
    • Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months;
    • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families;
    • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but follows the FCC agreement above;
    • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge; and,
    • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.


    Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for student home use:
    Eastern’s I.T. team has applied for Adobe's temporary student home use license, allowing students to run the Creative Cloud suite on their personal computers through May 31. We are coordinating with departments to prioritize known course requirements and will provide additional request options shortly. Visit the I.T. software resource page for details.


    Students living in residence halls

    Due to this public health crisis, students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence temporarily (unless they are international students, are from far distances, or have other special circumstances requiring them to remain).

    Dining hours are continually being adjusted to meet our on-campus student population and directives from the State of Michigan. Please check hours at EMU’s dining website.


    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    Food insecurity remains a problem for many of our students and others in the community. This health crisis will increase the demand for food supplies, and we are working to support this growing need. Using appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols, Swoop’s Food Pantry reopened today from 11:30 a.m. – to 3 p.m. It will be open tomorrow, Wednesday (3/18) and Thursday (3/19), also from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will provide an update on next week’s Swoop’s schedule later in the week.

    To minimize social contacts, the shopping process has been adjusted: Staff walks the aisles with clients and staff fills the bags, thereby reducing touching of handles, food and produce by clients. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    Many have asked how they can support Swoop’s during this time. Staff is on hand from 11-11:30 a.m. tomorrow and Thursday to take food donations. For those who want to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client need, donations are accepted here: Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here: EMU Student Emergency Fund


    Community Resources

    Engage @ EMU, which is part of the Provost's Office, has compiled a list of community resources that are available during this challenging time. The list includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs. The list will be updated regularly. Please refer to and share this resource. Special thanks to Decky Alexander, Kristen Klochko, Janice Lee, and Caroline Sanders from the Engage Team for this excellent work.


    IHA Health Center @ EMU

    IHA has notified the University that due to a surge in urgent care volume, it has expanded urgent care capabilities and shifted more routine care to its Arbor Park location. Students and employees who need routine care should go to the Arbor Park Location. IHA requests that anyone experiencing upper respiratory or fever symptoms should complete this form, at which time IHA will contact individuals with further information and appropriate care.

    IHA indicates the Campus Medical Pharmacy located in the health center will remain open with regular hours.

    ParkEMU

    ParkEMU is planning to have limited staff on campus from Monday - Friday through March 31 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the following:

    • assist with transient parking;
    • vehicle assistance;
    • cleaning/disinfecting high touch points in surface lots and garages;
    • enforcement; and,
    • office assistance for parkers (office doors will be closed to the public, but we assist through phone/email).


    ParkEMU will not have employees on campus before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. during weekdays, and will not have employees on campus over the weekend.

    Other items

    The Campus Bookstore, EMU Credit Union, and Amazon are maintaining their regular hours in the Student Center.

    Eastern Michigan University’s public radio station, 89.1 WEMU, is presenting a special on COVID-19 tonight at 7 p.m. All Things Considered host Lisa Barry will present a live one-hour on air program (also on Facebook Live). Lisa Barry will be joined by EMU Professor of Health Administration Beverly Mihalko and Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton, with a special call from Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Email questions to [email protected], or call 888.299.8910 during the event or submit questions through WEMU’s Facebook page.

    The Washtenaw County Health Department has published a comprehensive list [PDF] of prevention measures.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, contact the IHA Health Center @ EMU as noted above, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    Please continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon, March 16, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 16, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan now up to 53 today, Governor Whitmer hours ago issued several important executive orders that directly affect our operations. These include the closure of restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and libraries. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revised its guidance regarding large crowds, recommending that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.

    Therefore, effective today, the University is announcing the following:

    • Campus Dining: Consistent with Governor Whitmer’s executive order, all campus dining operations will move to a “grab and go”/takeout format, effective this evening. Campus dining options are limited to the Eateries, Homestyle @ Cluck, and the Market in the Student Center for the immediate future. Operating hours are posted on the dining website. Students should not congregate and eat with one another due to public health social distancing recommendations.
    • Rec/IM: The Rec/IM will close at 3 p.m. today and will remain closed for the immediate future, under the executive order from Governor Whitmer. This includes the Jones Pool and locker facilities.
    • Halle Library: Halle Library will close at 3 p.m. today, again following the executive order issued by Governor Whitmer. It will remain closed for the immediate future. We are assessing whether the computer lab can remain open and will have a further update soon.

    • Spring Commencement: Spring Commencement, scheduled for April 25, is postponed to a later date to be determined. We understand that this is a disappointment for the students who worked hard to earn their degree as well as their families, but this action is necessary pursuant to the various government emergency directives and guidelines regarding large audiences as our entire nation seeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to re-scheduling Commencement ceremonies to a later date, and all graduates and their families will be advised of those plans once decided. This also includes the Multicultural Graduation ceremony, which also is postponed until further notice.

    • Extending online class schedule: The University is continually evaluating its initially announced plans to resume in-person classes on April 1. We stated from the beginning that this timeline was fluid and would be adjusted if necessary. In light of the recent changes in guidance from the Governor’s office and the CDC, it now appears likely that we will need to further extend online/virtual class delivery and delay resumption of in-person classes on campus. We will have an announcement in this regard later this week.

    • Students living in residence halls: Due to this public health crisis, students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence temporarily (unless they are international students, are from far distances, or have other special circumstances requiring them to remain).


    I will continue to emphasize: The most important thing any of us can do at this time is to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes avoiding close interaction and practicing social distancing. We understand that tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, an occasion in which many people want to gather and celebrate. I emphasize, and both Michigan’s Governor and our health experts agree, this is not the time for those activities. Please refrain from such gatherings this year. Such interaction puts you in danger of contracting the disease and spreading it to others.

    This is a time for all of us to practice self-care. Take care of yourselves. The Washtenaw County Health Department has published a comprehensive list [PDF] of prevention measures.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, the IHA Health Center @ EMU, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    As a result of this health emergency, we ask that you continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Sun, March 15, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 15, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    These are challenging times filled with uncertainty and stress. This evening, Governor Whitmer announced 12 new cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, bringing the total number of people infected in the state to 45, with many more tests currently underway.

    The days and weeks ahead are going to be difficult as we all navigate this global pandemic and declarations of emergency in our nation, state, county and municipality, and the evolving changes in guidance and recommendations from public health and government officials.

    It is our commitment to you to continue to keep you informed and updated as the University responds to this health crisis.

    Public health experts are clear: social distancing is critical to preventing the spread COVID-19. Our actions reflect that priority.

    All EMU employees who have not been otherwise informed or designated by their supervisor are expected to begin working remotely tomorrow, Monday, March 16. Supervisors should be in touch with each employee via email or phone to confirm arrangements for their work and to resolve any areas of concern. A guide has been developed to assist employees in this effort: Preparing to work remotely [PDF]. Employees should contact their supervisor immediately if they are unclear about whether they have been designated to work on campus or have not confirmed work arrangements.

    Tomorrow, March 16, 2020, the University will launch an online/virtual schedule and support structure as noted in previous campus messages last week. Only a very few offices should be operating in person and protocols should be worked through for how this will occur in a manner than maintains social distancing and hygiene expectations to the highest degree possible. This is a significant undertaking and a process for which we have prepared. It requires many changes to the typical class delivery model and we ask everyone’s patience as we work through these new processes and adjust in the coming days. Please be patient and supportive with colleagues and community members who are less comfortable with this form of interaction. Our community’s support for each other during this time has made me so proud as a leader. Let’s stay strong as we dive into the deep water this week!

    FOR STUDENTS

    Online class plans

    Instructors either have or will soon be in contact with their students about next steps in their courses. We realize that some issues remain to be determined including full lab, practicum, and studio solutions but contact should be underway. If there are questions about this, students should (as always) first contact their instructor via email and then the department head or school director who leads the area that sponsors the course.

    We continue to work with faculty and staff who conduct performance classes such as dance and art, as well as laboratory classes, to determine the best approach for those classes. I ask for your patience as we work through these items. These courses are difficult to recreate virtually but solutions continue to emerge out of the creativity and commitment of our outstanding instructional staff. Please be patient as we problem solve -- we all remain committed to a full educational experience in the face of an unprecedented disruption in the national educational system.

    ServiceEMU

    ServiceEMU is open via email or telephone as outlined below.

    Inquiries regarding Financial Aid should be directed to [email protected] or 734.487.0455.

    Inquiries regarding Student Business Services should be directed to [email protected] or 734.487.3335.

    Inquiries to the Office of the Registrar should be directed to [email protected].

    Students in residence halls

    Due to public health recommendations for social distancing during this emergency, students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence temporarily (unless they are international students, from out of state or have other special circumstances).

    Hours for Halle Library, EMU Dining and Rec/IM

    Updated hours for these operations are posted on their respective webpages:


    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    During the on-campus suspension of activities, CAPS is working to provide support to students, while maintaining the physical health of our campus community. All in-person appointments have been canceled to minimize social contacts. Instead, current clients have been contacted by email and will also be called early this week by a CAPS therapist. CAPS will be offering phone support to any students in need from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday.

    CAPS will continue to offer after-hours phone support through the main CAPS phone line (734.487.1118) after 5 p.m. and on weekends. If you have questions or need to speak with a counselor, please contact us at 734.487.1118 or by email at [email protected].

    Other mental health resources include:

    1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255
    2. Crisis Text Line: Text "hello" to 741741

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    Swoop’s Food Pantry will reopen on Tuesday (3/17), Wednesday (3/18) and Thursday (3/19) from 11:30 – 3 p.m. Staff will be busy on Monday restocking the shelves and preparing the pantry for visitors.

    To minimize social contacts, the shopping process will be adjusted: Staff will walk the aisles with clients and staff will fill the bags, thereby reducing touching of handles, produce, etc., by clients. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    We will provide an update on next week’s Swoop’s schedule later in the week.

    Overall student issues and concerns

    The Dean of Students office is a central point for students who have a concern or need assistance that has not been addressed elsewhere in our updates. They will likely direct you to other offices on campus as needed so please carefully review their responses. We ask that you please hold questions that are not time sensitive issues until midweek to allow for adjustment to this new mode of operation. The Dean of Students office is best contacted via email at [email protected]. Please recall that course related issues should be addressed first with your instructor and then the relevant Department Head or School Director.

    FOR EMPLOYEES

    Buildings open tomorrow for retrieval of laptops, materials

    As indicated previously, all buildings will be open tomorrow, Monday, March 16, so that employees can retrieve office items needed to work remotely.

    ID/swipe cards

    After tomorrow, employees should expect that buildings will be locked and will require swipe card access if returning to campus. If you have misplaced your swipe card you will need to replace it in order to swipe in.

    Employees who need replacement ID/swipe cards to access buildings the remainder of the week should visit Student Business Services (SBS) in 203 Pierce Hall. SBS will be open from 9:30 a.m. to noon tomorrow (Monday, March 16) for replacement cards.

    Desktop computers

    Employees who wish to take desktop computers and peripheral equipment out of their office to work remotely should complete an equipment checkout request form.

    Campus Shipping, Receiving, and Mail Services

    In order to minimize interaction and embrace social distancing, mail pickup will be centralized at Shipping, Receiving & Mail Services (SRMS) from Monday, March 16 through the planned return to campus operations on Monday, March 30. Departmental mail and packages will be available for pick up between 2 – 3 p.m. each day. Please drop off any mail to be sent out, which will be delivered the Post Office the following morning. If your department is expecting a specific delivery, please contact SRMS at 734.487.4386 or at [email protected].

    LOOKING AHEAD

    The most important thing any of us can do at this time is to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. Please review this comprehensive list [PDF] of prevention measures compiled by the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, the IHA Health Center @ EMU, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    As a result of this health emergency, we ask that you continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, March 13, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update, March 13, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Preparations for the start of online classes on Monday, March 16 are moving forward. We appreciate student, faculty and staff understanding and patience as we begin this journey, along with our university colleagues across the country, into what are largely uncharted waters.

    We are committed throughout this process to operate with the utmost concern for the health and well being of students, faculty and staff. Our decisions are based on fully supporting social distancing recommendations as guided by the Centers for Disease Control as well as local and state public health officials.

    We have several important operational items for today’s update:

    FOR STUDENTS

    Student employees

    Student employees can continue to work at the discretion of their supervisors, either on campus or remotely as directed by supervisors.

    The University recognizes that with the temporary reduction in on campus operations, certain student employees will not be needed, such as in dining and other areas. We understand that many students rely heavily on their student employment to make ends meet and that the impact of not working could lead to serious financial consequences. The U.S. Department of Education is reviewing this matter and is expected to provide guidance to universities within the next week. The University will evaluate the federal guidance and assess how best to support our students. We hope to be able to provide a plan for those students within the next week. In the meantime, all students who worked over the past two weeks will receive their pay as scheduled on March 19.

    Registration for Fall 2020 classes delayed one week

    Given the disruption in the regular class schedule, the University is delaying the opening of Fall 2020 class registration by one week, to Monday, March 23.

    Hours for Halle Library, EMU Dining and Rec/IM

    Updated hours for these operations are posted on their respective webpages:

    Rec/IM

    Halle Library

    EMU Dining

    Student Center

    FOR EMPLOYEES

    Webinars for faculty

    We understand today’s webinars did not go as planned for faculty. We are working through these issues and appreciate your patience and understanding. We will continue to provide updates as soon as possible. As I indicated on Wednesday, with such a massive undertaking and transition to online/virtual classes, there are bound to be some challenges along the way. Working together, we will overcome them.

    Building access

    Swipe card access should work for your building in order to access workspaces and offices over the weekend and over the next two weeks when online/virtual classes are held.

    As indicated previously, all buildings will be open Monday, March 16 so that employees can retrieve laptops and materials needed to work remotely. If you are unable to swipe into your building, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 734.487.1222.

    Desktop computers

    Employees who wish to take desktop computers and peripheral equipment out of their office to work remotely should complete an equipment checkout request form.

    Payroll and timesheets

    Payroll operations continue as standard. Employee pay will be processed in accordance with the typical schedule.

    For timesheets, employees should classify yesterday and today (March 12, 13) as they would for a snow day. Beginning Monday, March 16, all employees should resume routine timesheet entry – those who work remotely and designated employees who work on campus.

    Campus mail pickup

    In order to minimize interaction and embrace social distancing, mail pickup will be centralized beginning Monday, March 16 through the planned return to campus operations on Monday, March 30. All offices will be required to pick up their mail from the mail office.

    OVERALL CAMPUS

    Campus cleaning

    The University’s facilities team continues its enhanced cleaning efforts across campus. They are concentrating on touch points (door handles, light switches, desk tops, etc.) and will cover all of campus before the currently scheduled employee return to campus on Monday, March 30, with on campus classes currently scheduled to resume on Wednesday April 1.

    By Monday, March 16, bathrooms in the following buildings will have been power-washed and fogged with an electrostatic disinfectant: Porter, Marshall, Halle, Quirk, Pray-Harrold, Mark Jefferson, Strong, Sherzer, Hover, Briggs, Student Center, Rec/IM, Bowen and Alexander.

    Public spaces that are used daily, such as Halle Library, the Rec/IM and the Student Center, will continue to receive daily cleaning and disinfecting.

    The University has expanded its purchase of disinfectant wipes to distribute across campus. The demand for wipes locally and nationally is great and we are working to purchase and distribute as many as we can obtain.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    The University recognizes the importance and need for Swoop’s Food Pantry. Given the challenging circumstances with employment both on campus and off, the need for a resource such as Swoop’s is likely more important today than it was a week ago. We are currently reviewing plans to resume some level of operations next week. We will advise you when the plan is in place.

    MOVING FORWARD

    My most important request of everyone as we enter the weekend is to continue to practice prevention. Practice social distancing. Employees should work remotely if and when you can (and if you are not a designated employee). Wash hands thoroughly and frequently. Sanitize and disinfect. Avoid contact with people who are sick.

    The Washtenaw County Health Department has published a full set of prevention measures.

    Monday’s launch of fully online classes will be challenging, but I know we are capable of meeting that challenge. As I said earlier, these are uncharted waters – not only for us but for our university colleagues across the country.

    We communicated previously our intention to resume on campus classes on Wednesday, April 1, with employees returning on Monday, March 30. We are closely following the changing situation, including guidance from the Governor’s office and public health officials in this regard. These dates may be modified as we indicated from the outset. We will update you further next week.

    I appreciate your patience, support and understanding as we move forward through these unprecedented days that test our creativity and resilience. Please continue to monitor Eastern's COVID-19 website and your campus email for further updates

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thur, March 12, 2020

    COVID-19 Update, March 12, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Our teams are working swiftly and with great precision to prepare our campus community for the launch of a nearly fully virtual/online course schedule beginning on Monday, March 16, as was noted in yesterday’s announcement.

    FOR STUDENTS

    Canvas

    Earlier this morning, students were sent an email about newly created course shells in Canvas for those courses that were not using Canvas previously.

    Your instructor will communicate with you soon, if they haven't already, about how they intend to modify their course plan. Plan on checking your email and Canvas (if appropriate) at least daily for messages from your instructor or the University about staying connected with your courses.

    If you're new to Canvas, review our EMU Student Canvas Guide. If you're having technical problems with Canvas, call the 24/7 Canvas Help Desk at (844) 326-6322. Click on the Help icon in the lower left-hand menu for other Canvas resources, including Help Desk Chat.

    Residence halls

    Most students living in residence halls have chosen to return to their permanent place of residence for the next two weeks due to public health recommendations for social distancing.

    As noted yesterday, on campus, in person classes are suspended through March 31. This date is subject to change depending on new information and health updates.

    Public health experts are clear on this: staying apart from one another is one of the most significant actions one can take to avoid COVID-19.

    We understand that international students, students living out of state and others may not be able to return to their permanent place of residence. For that reason, limited residence hall and dining are available for those students.

    Students who stay on campus must register online by Saturday, March 14, so the University can appropriately prepare and staff residence halls and dining facilities.

    FOR EMPLOYEES

    As discussed in yesterday’s announcement, all EMU employees who have not been otherwise informed or designated by their supervisor will be expected to work remotely as of Monday, March 16. Accordingly, EMU employees need to prepare to work remotely. A step-by-step guide has been developed to assist employees in this effort: Preparing to work remotely.

    As of today, EMU employees are expected to return and work on campus on Monday, March 30, 2020. However, the COVID-19 situation is evolving daily so EMU continues to evaluate this timeline. University email is the official form of communication for all EMU employees – so all EMU employees are expected to monitor it for updates.

    All instructional personnel should continue to communicate with their department and monitor emails from the Office of the Provost for updates related to the delivery of online classes and instruction.

    CANCELLATIONS

    We continue to receive many questions about cancellations. As announced yesterday, all University events have been cancelled through March 31. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution. Governor Whitmer’s recommendation is that any gatherings of more than 100 people should be cancelled. We determined it was important for the health and well being of our community that we go above and beyond that recommendation.

    This decision has unfortunate consequences of which we are aware. For example, the 40th Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 27, one of Eastern’s signature events, has been canceled. We are assessing whether it can be rescheduled for a later date, but as you know the environment as it relates to COVID-19 remains fluid. We understand and share in the disappointment of participating students and faculty. We understand many students have questions – including honors and LBC6 credits for graduating. We are working to get answers as quickly as possible.

    A partial list of other campus cancellations include:

    Thursday, March 12

    • Celebration of Black Women

    Saturday, March 14

    • Colors in Harmony Performance
    • Fast Track Orientation

    Monday, March 16

    • Women’s Resource Center Student Parent Resource Fair

    Thursday, March 19

    • WEMU Spring Fundraiser (postponed, new dates TBD)
    • Third Annual Creative Faculty Showcase
    • The George Liepa Sigma XI Speaker Series 2020
    • Latinx Student Association’s Fifth Annual Quinceanera Celebration

    Friday, March 20

    • EMU Orchestra Festival
    • The Graduate Research Conference

    Tuesday, March 24

    • Student Gold Medallion Awards

    Wednesday, March 25

    • Distinguished Contributions Award Ceremony

    Thursday, March 26

    • Get Your Vitamin 5K! Run/Walk

    Friday, March 27

    • 40thAnnual Undergraduate Symposium

    Saturday, March 28

    • Performance of “Tartuffe” at Sponberg Theatre (also Sunday, March 29)

    Spring sports: Discussions are currently underway with the Mid-American Conference regarding the cancellation of spring sports and action is expected by tomorrow.

    SCHEDULES

    Halle Library: Closed, will reopen Monday, March 16.

    Dining: Open, visit dining website

    Rec/IM: Open, Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. See REC/IM calendar for next week.

    PREVENTION

    The most important thing any of us can do at this time is to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. I strongly encourage everyone – students, faculty, staff as well as all administrators -- to follow these guidelines to their fullest extent.

    Please review this comprehensive list of prevention measures compiled by the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, the IHA Health Center @ EMU, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    QUESTIONS

    We understand this is a fluid situation and many of you have questions. We are working hard to address these as quickly as we can.

    If you don’t hear back from us, it is not because we are ignoring you. We are working through these questions, some which may take longer than others.

    In the immediate term, please do not call the Department of Public Safety with any non-emergency related matters. Student questions should be directed to the Dean of Students at [email protected]. Faculty questions should be directed to the Provost’s Office at [email protected]. Staff should contact their supervisors.

    GOING FORWARD

    We continue to pay close attention to changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and are in regular contact with the Washtenaw County Health Department. We will advise when there are further updates. Our plans for events in April and May continue as scheduled for the time being, including Commencement on Saturday, April 25. However, as noted several times in this email and in previous messages, the situation remains fluid and subject to change.

    Please continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    I appreciate your patience and understanding as we, along with the rest of the world, adjust to this “new normal.”

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thur, March 12, 2020

    EMU Athletics Suspends Activities, March 12, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    Statement from EMU Athletics: The single-most important priority of the Eastern Michigan University Athletic Department has been and continues to be the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, and personnel. After consultation with officials from the Mid-American Conference, public health and medical professionals, and university administration, and in compliance with the NCAA and MAC's decision to cancel its winter and spring championships for the 2020 season, the EMU Department of Athletics has suspended all athletic activity. This includes practice and voluntary workouts until the University resumes normally scheduled operations.

    Teams that are currently traveling for away competition have been instructed to forgo scheduled activities and return home immediately. This decision was not easy, but undoubtedly serves the best interest of the department and its student-athletes.

    Eastern Michigan University and EMU Athletics will convey additional information, when available, via its social media channels and EMUEagles.com.

    Statement from EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee: "Eastern Michigan Athletics fully supports all measures to protect the health and welfare of the EMU family and beyond during this unprecedented time. This decision was not easy, but undoubtedly serves the best interest of the department and its student-athletes."

  • Wed, March 11, 2020

    New Actions Regarding COVID-19 Response, March 11, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today we made several important decisions regarding University operations in light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 (new coronavirus) and Governor Whitmer’s declaration of a state of emergency in the State of Michigan. There remain no known cases at this time of COVID-19 on our campus or among the Eastern Michigan University community.

    Out of an abundance of caution, we are announcing the following actions:

    Classes and instruction

    • Effective tomorrow, March 12, we are suspending face-to-face instruction in lectures, seminars and other similar classroom settings. The suspension of on campus/in person classes will last through Tuesday, March 31 -- with on campus/in person classes tentatively set to resume on April 1. This decision and timing will be reevaluated on an ongoing basis and may be modified as more information becomes available.

    • Current classes that are presented in an online format will continue as scheduled.

    • The University is working to move on-campus classes to a virtual/online instruction format. On Monday, March 16, the University will transition classes to a virtual/online format. Instructors will contact their students with the online class plan.

    • We are working with faculty and staff who conduct performance and laboratory classes to determine the best approach for those classes, and will provide further guidance next week. This is an evolving process and I ask for your patience as we work through these items.

    • Halle Library will remain open with reduced hours beginning on Monday.

     

    Residence halls

    • While completing classes virtually, students are encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence due to public health recommendations for social distancing.

    • For students who choose to continue living on campus or are not able to return home, the University’s residence halls and dining facilities will remain open. Students who stay on campus must register online by Saturday, March 14, so the University can appropriately prepare and staff residence halls and dining facilities.

    • We urge all students to make the choice that is best for their own personal situations.

    • Everyone is encouraged to practice appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures, as we have previously shared in our campus communications.

     

    Employees

    • Certain designated personnel, as notified by their supervisors, may be required to work in the period between Thursday, March 12 and Sunday, March 15. All other employees should plan not to work and remain at home Thursday through Sunday to allow for greater attention to campus-wide cleaning initiatives and transition to online instruction.

    • As of Monday, March 16, all employees, other than certain designated personnel notified by their supervisors, will be expected to work remotely through Sunday, March 29 and return to work on Monday, March 30, 2020. Employees can return to campus to retrieve computers and necessary materials on Monday, March 16.

     

    Events

    • Governor Whitmer today announced recommendations to cancel large events or gatherings of people.

    • Following that recommendation, all University events are canceled through the end of March. This includes tomorrow's (March 12) ribbon cutting for the new Campus Wellness Center and weekend events.

    • We have suspended scheduling any new events for the immediate future. Of course, we will continue to reassess this decision as the situation unfolds.

     

    Travel

    • All University-related travel to international destinations is now suspended. This is a change to our previous announcement suspending only travel to countries with Level Three and Level Four travel advisories.

    • All non-essential University travel to domestic locations is also suspended. Any domestic travel requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Office of the Provost and the CFO.

     

    Prevention

    As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control recommends practicing these good prevention strategies:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

     

    Next steps

    I understand many of you will have questions about these actions and decisions. We are not going to have an answer right away for all questions, but you can be assured we are working through these issues as quickly as we can.

    Every step we take and decision we make is focused on this overarching priority: protecting the health and safety of our campus community and guests to our campus.

    The decision to move to online instruction was made with great consideration. The objective is to minimize gatherings of large groups and avoid extended time in close proximity with one another in classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of local, state and federal health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

    There is no question that moving to online delivery of a broad array of classes and programs is a challenging undertaking. Our teams have been preparing for this possibility and we have confidence we will be ready to expand our online offerings on Monday, March 16, as noted above. That doesn’t mean all will be smooth sailing. This is a complex process -- changes and modifications to these plans as likely as we proceed. Your understanding and cooperation as we work through these matters is greatly appreciated.

    We continue to be in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State, and are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control guidance on the evolving situation. We will reevaluate our actions on an ongoing basis and share updates or modifications as more information becomes available.

    Finally, I want to thank our deans and faculty leadership for their guidance and involvement, as well as all of our faculty, staff and students. These campus leaders are often at the forefront, hearing the concerns of our colleagues and fellow students, and we appreciate that they continue to bring these concerns forward so that any issues can be appropriately addressed.

    The COVID-19 situation is evolving daily. This is a difficult time for us all and for many around the world, but we will work together and get through it. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts, as well as those students, faculty and staff who may have loved ones in states or nations where the outbreak is more severe.

    University email is the official form of communication with students, faculty and staff – and you are expected to monitor it for updates. Please continue to check the Eastern Michigan University Coronavirus website for further information.

    Respectfully,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue, March 10, 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 10, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    11:15 p.m.

    We learned late tonight that State officials have identified the first cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Michigan. Our understanding is that there are two cases, neither case is in Washtenaw County, the patients are under medical care, and that the State is completing the re-tracing process to assess how these individuals were infected. There is no indication that either of these cases have any connection to EMU's campus.

    As we have shared in communications on this topic, the University has been constantly monitoring this situation, closely following guidance from the CDC, and is in regular contact with our public health and medical partners. This situation has been, and will continue to be, fluid. We understand, however, that it creates significant concern for many members of our community.

    We have developed a variety of plans based on different scenarios. Please understand that some decisions about next steps may need to be made quickly. If that occurs, we will notify all campus partners as quickly as possible. We appreciate your cooperation as we navigate this rapidly-evolving situation.

    We expect to announce some changes tomorrow regarding the ability of instructors to voluntarily teach their classes remotely. Also, as a reminder, we have undertaken a variety of enhanced cleaning procedures across campus in an effort to ensure the health and safety of the campus community. These measures include: enhanced cleaning of touch points (e.g., light switches, door handles) in common areas; enhanced power-washing and/or electrostatic disinfectant spray in public restrooms; increased frequency of cleaning of shared restrooms in residence halls with shared restrooms; and enhanced access to hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. We have additional steps we intend to take that we will announce and implement as soon as possible.

    Again, we will keep you informed as much and as quickly as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and patience.

    Jim Smith, President

  • Mon, March 9, 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 9, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    There remain no known cases of Coronavirus among Eastern Michigan University students, faculty or staff.

    All University operations continue as normal and all classes and events are taking place as scheduled.

    There are no reported cases in Michigan.

    The University continues to monitor all updated CDC guidance and is working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and state health officials.

    The University continues work to inform the campus community about precautionary measures that everyone can take. Several hundred posters and flyers have been distributed across campus:

    March 5 - Share facts about COVID-19 (CDC) [PDF]

    March 9 - Do you know how to wash your hands? (Washtenaw County Health Department) [PDF]

  • Fri, March 6, 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 6, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    There are no known cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) among Eastern Michigan University students, instructors or staff.

    All University operations continue as normal and all classes and events are taking place as scheduled.

    Out of an abundance of caution, and following County, State and Federal guidance, a group of students and instructors who attended a study abroad trip to Italy over Winter Break have been instructed to self-quarantine.

    This means they remove themselves from contact with others while they monitor for any signs of the illness.

    These students have returned to their homes and are not on campus during the self-quarantine period.

    As long as they continue to show no symptoms of the illness, they will be allowed to return to campus and resume normal campus activities on Sunday, March 15.

    As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control recommends practicing these good prevention strategies:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

     

    As we have noted previously, information and guidance regarding the spread of Coronavirus is changing daily. Eastern Michigan will continue to provide ongoing updates as necessary. The University has prepared a website dedicated to our Coronavirus communications and resources, which will continue to be updated. It provides helpful resources about the virus, government travel advisories, and information from the Washtenaw County Health Department.

  • Wed, March 4, 2020

    Coronavirus Update - March 4, 2020

    Expand dropdown

    Students, faculty and staff:

    Today the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance for people who visited countries designated as Level Three due to Coronavirus. Under the new guidance, individuals returning from Level Three countries, even if showing no symptoms of the illness, are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from that country. For Eastern Michigan University, this change is relevant to our students and instructors who recently returned from Italy. The earlier guidance was to self-monitor and resume normal activities as long as an individual was without symptoms. Today the guidance for those same individuals is to self-quarantine. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, instructors and students returning from Italy must now self-quarantine for 14 days after their return from the country. Eastern will follow this directive with regard to any other trip -- all members of our University community returning from a country designated as Level Three or higher due to the Coronavirus must self-quarantine for 14 days after their return.

    According to the CDC: "Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease." The students and instructors returning from Italy are being notified of this change today and can return to campus on Sunday, March 15 as long as they show no symptoms of the illness.

    As we have indicated from the outset, information and guidance surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus is fluid and is changing rapidly. In some cases, such as this, CDC guidance changes overnight. Our team continues to be in close contact with the Washtenaw County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and we are closely monitoring all available federal, state and local information and updates regarding Coronavirus.

    As a reminder, there are no reported cases at Eastern or in Michigan at this time. We are taking these precautions to ensure the continued health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. Normal University operations continue, and there are no current plans to cancel main campus classes.

    The University remains committed to sharing information with our campus community in a timely way to ensure the safety and well being of everyone on our campus and community. Further information and resources can be found at Eastern's Coronavirus information website.

    The CDC's Travel Health Notices are posted on its website.

    The Eastern Michigan team monitoring this ongoing and evolving situation includes the Office of the President, the Provost's office, the Dean of Students, and Academic Programs Abroad, among others. The University will continue to closely follow all advisories and guidance and advise the campus community as necessary.

  • Mon, March 2, 2020

    Coronavirus Update - March 2, 2020 - from President Smith

    Expand dropdown

    Students, faculty and staff:

    Since my initial message to campus regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Jan. 31, University leadership has been closely monitoring the spread of the virus and the additional travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department. Primary teams involved in this process include the Office of the President, the Provost’s office, the Dean of Students, and Academic Programs Abroad, among others.

    We continue to proactively monitor the situation and are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Department of State, and the Washtenaw County Health Department. The University community will be notified if there is any immediate health threat.

    There are no reported cases at Eastern or in Michigan at this time. We are taking multiple precautions to ensure the continued health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. Normal University operations continue, and there are no current plans to cancel main campus classes. The University is committed to sharing important updates to keep students, faculty and staff safe and informed. Information and resources can be found at our Coronavirus information website.

    Travel restrictions

    Pursuant to existing practice, the University is suspending all University sanctioned travel to countries that have level three or level four travel advisories as reported by the U.S. State Department. The list is updated regularly on the State Department Travel Advisory website.

    Following careful review of guidance from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), and out of an abundance of caution, the University is implementing the following updates to travel restrictions:

        • All future University-affiliated travel to China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran is suspended, effective immediately.
        • The University strongly recommends that all students, faculty and staff avoid all personal travel to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea.
        • Any member of the University community who travels to or from China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea is required to self-identify prior to returning to campus and must self-monitor for 14 days. Students, faculty and staff returning from these countries must contact the Dean of Students office at [email protected]. The University needs a single point of contact with county, state and federal agencies to coordinate and track information on behalf of the Provost’s office.
        • Public health advisories and health precautions can change with little notice. Current guidance is country-specific. Students, faculty and staff returning from Italy who are symptom free must self-monitor but can attend class. Students, faculty and staff who exhibit any of the symptoms described below should not attend class and observe government guidance regarding self-quarantine, along with notifying the Dean of Students.
        • Students, faculty and staff returning from South Korea must self-quarantine for 14 days per CDC guidance.
        • If after reviewing health-related guidelines, any instructor who needs to consult about accommodations should email the Provost’s office for further guidance at [email protected].

    In addition to these travel restrictions and previously announced actions, the University is implementing the following measures:

    • Study abroad programs in China, Italy and South Korea, scheduled to begin later this semester through the end of summer, have been suspended, effective immediately.
    • The University is communicating directly with students who are currently out of the country on study abroad programs to ensure their safe return to the U.S. and to minimize disruption to their academic studies.
    • The Study Abroad office continues to work directly with students enrolled in global academic programs. Study abroad students who have questions should email [email protected] edu.


    Coronavirus symptoms

    As a reminder, relevant signs of the virus include a cough, fever greater than 100.4 degrees and shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should stay away from campus and contact their medical provider or the IHA Health Center @ EMU at 734.896.4110 to speak to medical personnel who can assess and guide next steps. In addition, they should notify the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    General advisories for student, faculty and staff travelers

    • Anyone planning international travel should check the status of COVID-19 alerts and precautions at all destinations, including layovers, and continue to do so until their return to the U.S.
    • Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings; countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return to campus.
    • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region.
    • Additional quarantine measures may be applied by the U.S. and other countries.
    • Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted – some areas are posting a 14-day self-isolation requirement.


    Safeguards regarding the spread of Coronavirus

    Person-to-person spread of the Coronavirus in the United States has been detected. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Practice these good prevention strategies:

    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have soap and water.
    • Cover coughs with your elbow and sleeve.
    • Stay away from others if you or they are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.


    The Washtenaw County Health Department has prepared background information and frequently asked questions [PDF] to better inform the public about Coronavirus. In addition, the health information office at UC Davis produced a helpful video about Coronavirus.

    A reminder: anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their health provider or the IHA Health Center @ EMU at 734.896.4110 to speak to medical personnel who can assess and guide your next steps.

    University encourages use of sanitizers, disinfectant wipes

    Effective immediately, the University has approved the use of p-cards for the purchase of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes to use in classrooms, offices and other public spaces, and encourages all employees to use them daily to wipe down frequently touched surfaces such as door and drawer handles.

    We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and provide further updates as warranted.

    Jim Smith

  • Tue, Feb 4, 2020

    A message for you from EMU Dean of Students and OISS about the coronavirus outbreak

    Expand dropdown

    Dear International Students from China,

    Last Friday, you received an email from EMU President Smith about the recent Novel Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. We want to reinforce to you that the University is closely monitoring this outbreak and is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Health officials and administrators throughout the University will continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department to prepare for, screen and prevent the spread of illness. As this situation continues to develop, we will provide updates and information to help you stay healthy.

    We wanted to reassure you that Eastern Michigan University has systems in place to monitor, identify and respond swiftly to any potential case of coronavirus. For now, it is important to know when and how to access care:

    • If you have traveled from China or a surrounding Asian country — or have been in contact with someone who has — within the past 14 days and you subsequently develop a cough, fever greater than 100.4 degrees and shortness of breath, you will need to seek medical attention.
    • Call the IHA Health Center @ EMU at 734.896.4110 to speak to medical personnel who can assess and guide your next steps.

    Because we are also at the height of the influenza season, here are some tips to decrease your risk of contracting influenza of which we are seeing many active cases:

    • Get vaccinated against influenza! It is not too late. As in other years, the coverage is not 100 percent effective, but it can reduce symptoms for those who do become infected and decrease the risk of severe complications. Your flu shot is covered by the EMU Student Insurance policy.
    • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or more with soapy water and don’t touch your face.
    • If you are sick, do not go to classes, cover your cough and seek help, especially with severe symptoms or if you are at high risk for complications due to such conditions as asthma or diabetes.
    • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
    • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
    • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

    We recognize that many of our students and employees are natives of China and/or have family and friends in the country and may be concerned about their well-being. Please know that the University community supports and cares about you, and we send our best wishes for the health of your loved ones.

    Two offices on campus, in particular, can serve as helpful resources should you find yourself in need of support. You may call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 734.487.1118 if you would like to speak to a counselor. For other assistance, consider talking with a staff member at the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) at 734.487.3116 or by stopping in the Office at 240 Student Center.

    Sincerely,

    Ellen Gold
    Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

    Esther Gunel
    Director of the Office for International Students and Scholars

  • Fri, Jan 31, 2020

    Coronavirus update

    Expand dropdown

    To students, faculty and staff:

    The University’s leadership team continues to closely monitor escalating global developments regarding the Coronavirus.

    Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it has classified Coronavirus as a global health emergency and the U.S. State Department elevated its China travel advisory to its highest-level warning, Level 4, which recommends a “Do Not Travel” to China due to the illness.

    The Eastern Michigan University health and wellness team, under the direction of Dean of Students Ellen Gold, is involved in ongoing dialogue with state and local public health officials, primarily the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    It is important to note that no suspected cases of Coronavirus have been reported on our campus or among any of our students, faculty or staff. No cases have been confirmed in Washtenaw County or in the state of Michigan.

    Given the heightened warnings from the WHO and the State Department, we have taken important steps to ensure the safety and well being of our community:

    • Student programs with planned travel to China through the end of summer are being assessed, with the possibility of being redirected.
    • All university-related and university-sponsored travel to China is being suspended for the next two months and will be evaluated on a rolling basis to account for changing developments in the course of the emergency.

    Our utmost priority is the health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff, as well as our neighbors in the greater Ypsilanti and Washtenaw communities. This priority will guide our actions in response to this health emergency in the days and weeks ahead.

    The Washtenaw County Health Department also reminds us that Coronavirus is a travel-related illness, and not an illness associated with contact with Chinese or Asian community members. The Health Department states, “Let’s fight this public health concern with compassion and science, not fear and discrimination.”

    The Washtenaw County Health Department has prepared background information and Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] to better inform the public about Coronavirus.

    We will provide further updates as necessary.

    Sincerely,

    James M. Smith, Ph.D.
    President