COVID-19 Update to Campus: March 12, 2020

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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