COVID-19 Campus Update: March 16, 2020
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.
James Smith, Ph.D.