Campus Update: Dec. 2, 2021

To the Eastern Michigan University community,

We have all watched with horror and sadness this week at the events surrounding the mass shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County. Four young lives lost, a 17-year old student remains in critical condition, two others remain hospitalized in stable condition, and four others have been treated for their wounds and released, including a teacher at the school. It is the nation’s deadliest school shooting since 2018.

The profiles of the four young students who were killed and the dreams that were shattered exemplify the extent of the tragedy.

Our thoughts are with the family members of the four deceased students, their friends, as well as the families and friends of those injured in this horrific event. And, to the citizens of the community of Oxford, which is a little over an hour north of our campus, we share our condolences and support.

The sad reality is school shootings are not rare, isolated matters any longer. It is clear that no matter the size of the community, and whether urban or rural, gun violence in our schools occurs too often.

The Oxford tragedy is a reminder about the importance of being prepared for the unthinkable. I encourage you to review the tips and suggestions provided on the University’s active shooter response website. Students and employees can call the University’s Department of Public Safety to schedule ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) training. This training encourages community members to take an active role in their own safety. To schedule training or to get additional information on the program, contact Public Safety at 734.487.0892 and ask to speak with an ALICE instructor.

I have several additional items to share in this week’s update:

  • Winter Semester Planning
  • Upcoming Vaccination Clinic
  • #GIVINGTRUEDAY Surpasses $2 Million in Donations, Sets Record
  • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
  • Important Notes

Winter Semester Planning

While the focus for many of us is on the end of the current semester, final exams and commencement, extensive planning is underway for the winter semester. Our priority is on the continued mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, while providing excellent learning outcomes.

Our multi-layered approach has been extremely effective in keeping campus positivity rates among the lowest of any university in Michigan, and we plan to continue those strategies into the winter semester. These include:

  • Mandatory vaccinations for all students living on campus as well as those in what are considered higher risk groups (athletics, marching band, etc.);
  • Mandatory vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing for all students taking classes with an in-person component;
  • Wearing of masks inside all campus buildings and facilities;
  • Mandatory completion of the COVID PASS Daily Health Screening whenever on campus;
  • Physical distancing of three feet when in classrooms or in buildings;
  • Ongoing and regular free COVID-19 testing at the University’s Testing Center in the Student Center, with hours through the week and expanded hours on Monday evenings and select Saturdays and,
  • As we did last fall, all housing residents will be required to submit proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test before they return in January.

Visit the #EMUSafe website to learn the full range of practices in place.

Another key element of our #EMUSafe planning is offering a large number of fully remote classes as well as hybrid classes, which allow for a small in person component with the remainder of the class taking place remotely.

Upcoming Vaccination Clinic

As we have all semester, we continue to look for opportunities to bring pop-up vaccination clinics to campus. The next one will be on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., in the Intersection room near the north entrance to the Student Center. Booster shots as well as first or second round doses will be available.

Additionally, vaccinations are offered at the Campus Medical Pharmacy located inside the IHA Health Center @EMU. For additional details, please contact the pharmacy at734.547.5995.

#GIVINGTRUEDAY Surpasses $2 Million in Donations, Sets Record

The University’s #GIVINGTRUEDAY was a great success. Eastern Michigan University alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students came together and thanks to the support of 800 donors, Eastern Michigan raised more than $2.2 million for a variety of scholarships, programs and services in a matter of 24 hours, making Tuesday, EMU’s greatest day of giving in its history. Learn more by visiting the #GIVINGTRUEDAY story on EMU Today.

Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

As we head into December, the most needed items at the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are school supplies, rice, condiments and pasta sauce.

Thanks to generous donors, at least 50 holiday baskets will be given out to students. There’s still time to donate. Please visit Swoop’s Holiday Baskets website to learn more. Hours of operation and other information can be found on the Swoop’s Food Pantry website.

Important Notes 

  • In an effort to add
  • ress health inequities affecting Asian Americans, the EMU nursing program received a $72,000 grant provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop clinical simulation tools including 360-degree videos and virtual reality simulation for nursing students to help improve patient care outcomes. Led by EMU School of Nursing Professor and Director of the Center for Health Disparities Innovation and Studies, Dr. Tsu-Yin Wu, the School of Nursing virtual reality program features simulations that provide hands-on experiences to observe obstacles in the physical environment and cultural beliefs and practices of individuals and families from Asian American communities. Learn more in the news release on EMU Today.

  • We are extremely saddened by the passing of WEMU All Things Considered host Lisa Barry. She was an extremely talented and gifted radio news reporter and host who came to WEMU six years ago after an earlier career that spanned several Detroit radio stations. Tributes for Lisa have been pouring in from colleagues and community members alike, including Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Rep. Felicia Brabec, and many, many others. Our thoughts are with Lisa’s family and her colleagues at WEMU. Please visit the WEMU Facebook page to learn more. This reflection was posted by WDIV-TV. Though the reporter said she never met Lisa, she said the massive outpouring of messages made her feel that she had to write something.

Final Comments

We continue to closely monitor information about the Omicron variant as the worldwide scientific community works to learn more about it and the danger it presents. As we have throughout the pandemic, the University remains prepared to make adjustments in our #EMUSafe protocols based on future guidance from health experts and any impact on the University. Please continue to monitor your email for any future updates, and I remind you that hand washing, mask wearing, and vaccinations are the best way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Please stay well.

James Smith, Ph.D.