Campus Update: May 6, 2021

To the Eastern Michigan University community:

We, along with state and national public health officials, continue to look for ways to encourage more people within our campus community to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine supply is plentiful and the process is extremely streamlined and accessible.

Mass vaccination sites across the state are easy to find and vaccines are also available through your primary health care provider or at many pharmacies across the state. Pop-up clinics are being scheduled in many communities to bring vaccinations closer to where people live.

While scheduling an appointment is preferred, many locations offer a limited number of walk-up vaccinations. If you are planning to walk-up, check with the clinic first.

Below are links to vaccine providers to help you find one convenient for you:

  • For those who live or work in Washtenaw County, visit the Washtenaw County Health Department site. Clinics are operating at EMU’s Convocation Center and at Pierce Elementary School in Chelsea, as well as at pop-up locations you can find on the website.
  • Kroger
  • Meijer
  • Rite Aid
  • Walgreens
  • VaccineFinder – provides an easy search function for clinic locations in the state or nation so users can find one that’s most convenient.

Please get vaccinated, if you are able. It is the most important step you can take to protect yourself and others from critical illness, and stop the spread of COVID-19. More vaccinations will allow all of us -- families, communities, businesses, and cultural institutions -- to return to a semblance of regular interaction and practices, so that we all can truly enjoy a Pure Michigan summer. 

I am encouraged that the number of individuals receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of May 4, Washtenaw County reported 85.6% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80.3% had completed their vaccine protocol. For residents 16 and over, 60.6% had received at least one dose – up from 57.7% the week before. A total of 47% of County residents 16 and over have completed their vaccine protocol. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates

In Michigan, again as of May 4, 50.6% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 39.3% having completing the vaccine protocol. Details, as well as a county-by-county breakout, can be found on the Michigan vaccine dashboard.

I have several additional updates to share this week:

  • COVID-19 Dashboard
  • Summer Schedule for Free On-CampusCOVID-19 Testing
  • 60th Annual Alumni Awards on May 15
  • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
  • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
  • Health and Safety Reminder

COVID-19 Dashboard

In the seven days ending May 4, the University administered 410 COVID-19 tests that resulted in four positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.98%. We confirmed a total of eight positive cases during this period. Of those, six were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. There were two cases reported among University employees.

Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 35,686 tests with 404 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.13% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

Summer Schedule for Free On-CampusCovid-19 Testing

The University’s COVID-19 Testing Center will continue to offer free COVID-19 tests to members of the campus community throughout the summer. Testing is an important factor in the University’s successful efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among our campus community -- we encourage you to be tested regularly! 

Any member of the Eastern community may receive a free COVID-19 test at the Testing Center. We encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of this opportunity on a regular basis, not just when required. 

During Summer A and Summer B semesters, residents living on campus will be required to continue testing twice per month through the Testing Center. A specific message will be sent to summer on-campus housing residents outlining more details. 

COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19 should you contract it, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to friends and family. The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause a positive test result because the vaccine does not contain the live virus.  

Any member of the campus community may sign up for free COVID-19 testing through You must register for a test before you arrive for an appointment.

The Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). In May, it will be open as follows:

  • Tuesday, May 11: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, May 12: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, May 19: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 25: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 26: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule because hours are subject to change. 

60th Annual Alumni Awards on May 15

The University’s 60th Annual Alumni Awards will premiere on Saturday, May 15, 2021. The 2021 awards ceremony, which will air at 6 p.m. on the alumni awards website, carries on a tradition of recognizing outstanding EMU alumni who have elevated themselves professionally and within their communities.

The Office for Alumni Relations, guided by the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Recognition, Awards and Scholarship Committee, will highlight 11 award recipients from both 2020 and 2021. The virtual event is open to all alumni, donors, and friends of the EMU community.

This year’s master of ceremonies is FOX2 news anchor, reporter and alumnus, Josh Landon, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern. Josh started his broadcasting career in Lansing and then worked for a number of stations in Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin prior to returning to Michigan.

Please visit the alumni awards website to meet the honorees and to learn more about the event.

Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room reopened on Monday, May 3. The summer hours are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. Shoppers 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 most needed items are herbal tea, dry dog food, notebooks, planners and highlighters.

Monetary contributions can be made online.

Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

  • Student Hannah Palmer has launched a nonprofit organization to help others like her who are experiencing mental health challenges. Her nonprofit is called The Sunflower Project. It is designed to support individuals with mental health issues through scholarships and grants to help pay for treatment. She also hopes to help eliminate barriers and challenges so people feel more comfortable seeking treatment. You can read more about The Sunflower Project and Hannah’s personal journey in this story posted on MLive.
  • Three business students had a unique opportunity to participate in the 2021 Royal Roads University Design Thinking Case Competition this past semester. It is an international competition bringing students together from around the world. The challenge for Eastern’s students: Develop a plan to spur local tourism in British Columbia during the pandemic.

Students Stephani Hicks, a senior arts and entertainment major from Dearborn; Paul Katokwe, an MBA student and graduate assistant from the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Taylor Williams, a senior management major from Detroit, competed against students from around the world. Lecturer Kimberly Barker and Professor Diana Wong, along with their department head, Joy Beatty, helped facilitate the opportunity for these students. Details about the team’s efforts along with videos of their research presentations can be found in the EMU Today feature.

  • Dr. Annemarie Kelly, assistant professor of health sciences, was interviewed by WXYZ-TV on COVID-19 health insurance fees, in a segment that aired during this morning’s newscast. The discussion focused on the actions of some insurance companies that have started charging fees for COVID-19 treatment, after initially waiving those fees at the start of the pandemic. You can watch the full segment on the WXYZ-TV website.
  • Dr. Tony Moreno, professor of health promotion and human performance, has been appointed to a two-year term on the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. The Council was established in 1992 to improve the health of, and increase physical activity among, Michigan residents. In addition to his work at Eastern, Dr. Moreno is an instructor and consultant with the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the owner of AtletikaUSA, which provides consulting services to various sport governing bodies, associations, communities, and organizations, regarding best practice, evidence-based design and implementation of sport science, athlete development, and physical activity.

Congratulations to these individuals who represent Eastern so well!

Health and Safety Reminder

An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

  • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
  • Wear face coverings;
  • Observe physical distancing; and,
  • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

James Smith, Ph.D.