COVID-19 Update to Campus: March 19, 2020

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].
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.


James Smith, Ph.D.

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