Campus Update: Jan. 27, 2022

To the Eastern Michigan University community,

Fortunately, we are beginning to see a slight decline in the number of COVID-19 cases across the state and nation over the record numbers from early January. Researchers are hopeful the latest wave has reached its apex. We are by no means out of the danger zone or at a point where we can rest on any successes, as case counts and hospitalizations remain very high.

As they have throughout the pandemic, the case numbers at Eastern Michigan University continue to average far below the region, state and nation. We believe this is directly attributable to our robust plans and policies to mitigate the spread of the disease in our community.

I have some important highlights in that regard, as well as several other items to highlight in today’s campus update:

  • COVID-19 Cases, Dashboard, and Mitigation Efforts
  • Overall Student and Employee Wellness
  • Next Vaccination Clinic Scheduled Feb. 19
  • Winter Preparedness: Guidelines for Closing and Class Cancellation
  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day
  • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
  • Health and Safety Reminder


COVID-19 Cases, Dashboard, and Mitigation Efforts

 For the second consecutive week, the number of COVID-19 cases involving students and employees has declined. Please visit the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard to learn more.

Testing Center Extended Hours

 The University’s on-campus Testing Center has expanded its hours to include additional early-morning and evening appointments for employees and students to receive a free COVID-19 test on campus. Visit the Testing Center website for details.

Employee Vaccination/Testing Policy Underway

The University’s mandatory vaccination/testing policy for employees is underway. We’re pleased to report that since the policy was implemented, the number of regular employees who have reported that they are vaccinated has increased to 90.2% (up from 88.2% two weeks ago). This data is also reflected on the bottom of the dashboard. The remaining 9.8% of employees who are either unvaccinated or who have not reported their status, will undergo weekly testing until such time that they document they are vaccinated.

Student Vaccination Policies

Students who live in on-campus housingstudent-athletes, and students who participate in certain academic programs are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. All other students with any in-person courses or who participate in on-campus activities must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Face Masks Required Indoors

Reminder: All individuals (regardless of vaccination status) must wear face masks indoors with limited exceptionsLearn more about the University’s face mask policy and best practices for wearing face masks.

The University is providing free KN95 masks (up to two per person) and/or free EMU-branded three-layer green or white surgical masks to employees and students who want one. Masks are available at the following locations:

  • Student Center Information Desk (900 Oakwood)
  • Department of Public Safety Headquarters front desk (1200 Oakwood), and

Health experts also strongly recommend utilizing the “Knot & Tuck” method for wearing a face mask. It is shown to increase filtration by 21%. Watch this 50-second video demonstration of the “Knot & Tuck” method to learn more.

Student and Employee Wellness

The University’s Safe Return Steering Committee had a robust discussion this morning about the level of trauma, despair and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on students and employees. The deep level of concern expressed among Committee members reflects observations in classes and in workspaces, both on campus and remote. The emotional challenges that many are experiencing are exacerbated by the length of the pandemic and the ongoing changes in guidelines and protocols that are necessary as a result of the variant strains of the virus.

With awareness of this extremely challenging environment, I implore you to be kind to one another, respect one another, and support one another. Be sensitive and empathetic to the difficulties that your friends and colleagues may be facing at school, at work and at home. If you are a student, I encourage you to utilize the resources of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). If you are an employee, please consider contacting the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Next Vaccine Clinic scheduled Feb. 19

The next community COVID-19 vaccine opportunity will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Student Center Ballroom. The clinic is open to all persons 12 years of age and up, and no appointment is needed. Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson will be available. Booster shots, as well as first or second round doses, will be provided. For booster shots, individuals must bring their vaccine card or an image of their vaccine card on their cell phone.

Vaccinations are also offered at the Campus Medical Pharmacy located inside the IHA Health Center @EMU. For additional details, please contact the pharmacy at 734.547.5995.

Winter Preparedness: Guidelines for Closing and Class Cancellation

Earlier this week, we shared the University’s winter closing class cancellation guidelines. It is, after all, a Michigan winter and we know how quickly severe weather and substantial snowfall or ice can develop.

Remember: pleaseregister for Rave text alerts. Rave is the platform the University uses to communicate emergency or closing information by text message to personal devices. Once registered, you will be among the first to know if a weather closing or other emergency situation develops. In addition to Rave text messages, we also will communicate such actions via University email and on our social media channels.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

With the alarming rise in antisemitism around the world, it is more important than ever that we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 2005, the United Nations designated Jan. 27 to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, and commemorate the six million Jewish victims who perished in the Holocaust. We must never forget this shameful and horrifying time in history. To view, participate or reflect on discussions about this day, I encourage you to search social media #HolocaustRemembranceDay and #WeRemember.

Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

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

  • Alumnus Steve Klotz, President and CEO of the Huizenga Group in Grand Rapids, has made a $1 million gift to EMU's College of Business to establish the Stephen J. Klotz Financial Learning Center. Learn more about this exciting gift and Mr. Klotz’s passion for supporting EMU students.

    The gift is part of the University’s current comprehensive fundraising campaign, Give Rise: The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University. With a goal of $100 million, Give Rise is Eastern Michigan’s largest campaign goal to date. The campaign is nearing the $90 million mark. To learn more about the Campaign for Eastern Michigan University, visit com.

  • Associate Professor of Criminology Rita Shah was recently featured in The Washington Post Magazine for her research on the country’s correctional system. Dr. Shah, described as a “cultural criminologist,” examines crime as a social construct and what it means to be “rehabilitated.”

  • The Eastern Michigan University Archives got an unexpected gift this year, when a volunteer for the Veterans History Project donated roughly 150 video interviews with American war veterans from the Ypsilanti area. Read more about the Veterans History Project.

Health and Safety Reminder

Given the still high numbers of positive cases of COVID-19, it’s important to reiterate some of the key safety protocols we should follow:

  • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
  • Wear face coverings, particularly when indoors in public areas;
  • Observe physical distancing; and,
  • Get vaccinated (or boosted) if you are eligible.

These actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. And, vaccination minimizes the severity of cases in most situations, for those who do contract the virus. 

As always, I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to monitor your University email for future updates.

James Smith, Ph.D.