Planning for summer/fall semesters, update on COVID-19 mitigation and vaccination rates, Black History Month remaining events, celebrating Eastern excellence - Feb. 24, 2022

To the Eastern Michigan University community,

I know many of you are looking forward to the upcoming spring break. If you are anything like me, entertaining thoughts of spring amid our challenging winter generates a considerable boost of spirit.

I am pleased to share several items in today’s campus update:

  • Planning for Summer/Fall Semesters
  • COVID-19 Cases, Dashboard
  • Black History Month Events
  • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

Planning for Summer/Fall Semesters

The University’s EMU Safe policies – including masking, daily health screening, etc. – remain in place. As always, any changes to those policies will be announced through your Emich email.

We are, however, actively considering the University’s practices for the upcoming summer and fall semesters concerning COVID-19 protocols. Many of our university counterparts, throughout the state, have indicated they plan a return to more regular operations; with more in-person classes and lessened COVID-19 restrictions.

Should the number of cases continue on the downward trajectory, it may be time to begin to roll back some of the protocols we have in place. It is too early to make any such decisions now, and we do not plan any significant changes for the remainder of the current semester. However, it is time to begin to review what the summer and fall will look like in terms of the mix of in-person/remote classes, masking and other #EMUSafe practices. A robust discussion of these matters took place at today’s Safe Return Steering Committee meeting and will be further assessed at future meetings of this group. Safety remains our overarching priority and any future changes are predicated on case counts continuing to decline.

COVID-19 Cases, Dashboard

The number of COVID-19 cases involving students and employees has declined for the sixth consecutive week. In the seven days ending Feb. 22, the University administered 823 COVID-19 tests that resulted in six positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.73%. A total of 14 positive cases were confirmed during this period. The vaccination rate for students who have a significant ongoing presence on campus (those living in campus housing, student-athletes and athletics and those enrolled in select academic programs) is well above 90%. The vaccination rate for regular employees is currently at 91.8%, which continues to increase. Please visit the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard to learn more.

As a reminder, free COVID-19 testing will remain available over spring break at the campus Testing Center.

Black History Month Events

EMU’s active celebration of Black History Month continues this week as February comes to a close. It is important to restate my support for the University’s ongoing commitment to Black history as exemplified in our theme “Celebrating Black History 365 Days a Year.” We have an exceptional series of events remaining as we close out the month. Three events are scheduled for this afternoon/evening:

Music and Movement: The Sounds of Liberation in Detroit

A Litany for Survival: Black Lives Matter and the remaking of the Dream

Screening and Roundtable Discussion of "Drawing the Line: Inside the Fight to End Prison Gerrymandering"

I hope you will join us Friday at noon for “Remembering Judy Sturgis Hill,” a live panel discussion on EMU’s Facebook and YouTube pages. This event was rescheduled from last week due to the winter storm. 

Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

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

As always, I thank our students, faculty, staff for your collective work on behalf of our great University. I hope you enjoy spring break next week – and let’s hope for a taste of spring-like weather.

James Smith, Ph.D.