3D visualization of Coronavirus.

COVID-19 (new coronavirus)

Frequently Asked Questions

  •  Wed, April 1, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – April 1, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Strength. Character. Resilience. These terms capture the sentiments I observe each day in communications with others on campus about the adjustments made by Eastern Michigan University students, by our faculty and by our staff. Each of us is adjusting rapidly to the turmoil and health crisis that surrounds us, which is affecting every area of our lives. I applaud the Eastern Michigan community for your perseverance, patience and support of one another during this difficult time. This is truly a mark of distinction and something of which we all should be very proud.

    I have several updates to share today as the University continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Campus housing

    We currently have fewer than 500 students who have not checked out of campus housing at this time. The number is expected to further decline in the days ahead. This has been an extremely important process as the University follows government and public health directives for physical and social distancing. We know that the actual number of students currently living on campus is likely less than the number referenced above -- including students who returned to their permanent addresses but have not formally moved out.

    The students remaining on campus include international students – some who are not being allowed to enter their home countries due to the crisis, as well as students from long distances away, students who consider Eastern their permanent address, and those who are unable to return to their permanent address for other reasons, such as someone in their home being at high risk for COVID-19. As this transition continues, we remain 100 percent committed to supporting students who are still living on campus. Students with questions about their on-campus housing or the move-out process should email [email protected].

    Registering for summer and fall classes

    Processes for summer and fall registration remain underway. Students interested in fall registration should visit the fall registration appointment page for details. Students interested in summer classes, which are moving to an online format, should visit the summer registration appointment page to learn the schedule for registration.

    New Psychology Department chatbot provides additional support for students

    The EMU Psychology Department, in collaboration with X2ai.com, is conducting a research study that will provide all EMU students free access to a mental health chatbot during the COVID-19 crisis. "Tess" is an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that is trained to deliver evidence-based emotional wellness and coping strategies in this difficult time. To learn more about the study and how to access this resource, please click here. You can enter the study directly by clicking the link at the bottom of the flyer, but you may also receive an email from the investigators in the near future, asking you if you would like to join the project. We encourage you to take advantage of this free service by participating in our study. Please contact the primary investigator, Dr. Karen Saules ([email protected]) or co-investigator, Krithika Prakash ([email protected]), if you have any questions.

    This effort complements the important and ongoing efforts of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which has transitioned to fully phone and video sessions with Zoom. If students have questions or need to speak with a counselor, they should email CAPS at [email protected] and communicate their interest. Phone messages can be left at 734.487.1118 and will be returned as soon as possible. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends) phone support through its main CAPS phone line, 734.487.1118. 

    Cleaning and disinfecting

    The deep and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of campus areas remains a priority and is ongoing. This process will continue through the spring and summer and is being conducted by our facilities team and external specialists as necessary.

    Building access via card swipe for critical infrastructure employees only

    A reminder that only employees designated as critical infrastructure workers or those conducting minimum basic operations are permitted on campus at this time, under the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order. Employees designated to work on campus should have received a letter from their supervisor stating this, and are the only EMU employees who have swipe card access to their buildings. All others do not have such access. Any employee seeking one-time or temporary access must have consent from their supervisor and divisional vice president. The Department of Public Safety requests that anyone visiting campus buildings contact them so they are aware of the building entry and can ensure appropriate cleaning of those areas by our facilities team.

    Update for employees working remotely

    Employees working remotely will continue to do so until further notice. We will keep you advised as any new directives are issued. If employees have a specific date on their “away” phone or email auto-reply messages, such dates should be changed to “until further notice.” 

    Looking ahead

    We continue to identify positive efforts to inform and support our campus community. This week’s EMU Today includes three outstanding illustrations of the excellence and creativity of our faculty members and their important connection with students. Please check out the efforts of our School of Music and Dance; the inspired methods of Political Science Professor Jeffrey Bernstein, who has added a bedtime story to his virtual lessons; and the expertise provided by Economics Professor David Crary about the longer term implications of the health crisis.

    And, in true Broadway tradition, “The show must go on!” Virtually, of course. Examples include this year’s virtual delivery of the 24th annual Student Gold Medallion Awards and the 40th Undergraduate Symposium, which is posting one student presentation a day via its social media channels:

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emusymposium/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EMUsymposium 

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emuundergraduatesymposium/

    These are wonderful and creative representations of the use of technology to continue to support our students! My thanks to everyone involved. Please continue to relay details of any special efforts you are aware of to [email protected].

    Follow physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Monitor your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates.

    Stay well and stay safe,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •  Mon, March 30, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 30, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    We have several important updates for you today as the University’s continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a very important deadline for students living on campus.

    Deadline for residence hall/ on-campus apartments move-out

    Tomorrow is the deadline for students to move out of their residence halls or on-campus apartments. As stated in several previous messages, to be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and keys must be returned no later than tomorrow, March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time. 

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does allows travel for such purposes, as noted in Section 7(b) of the order:

    Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within the above exceptions.

    We understand that for some Eastern is a permanent address, or a destination for international students and students from far away in the U.S. Other students have other special circumstances that affect their ability to return to their permanent place of residence.

    Please contact the housing office if you have questions about this process. As indicated previously, students who remain in campus housing may be asked to change rooms or consolidate based on total occupancy.

    Update for employees working remotely

    Employees working remotely will continue to do so until communicated otherwise. This applies to all employees other than those designated as a critical infrastructure worker or necessary to conduct minimum basic operations under the terms of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. We will keep you advised as any new directives are issued.

    Working remotely presents distinct challenges for those who have not done so in the past. Our Learning and Organizational Development office has developed the following Tips For Maximizing Your Productivity While Working From Home.

    New Psychology Department chatbot provides additional support for students

    The EMU Psychology Department, in collaboration with X2ai.com, is conducting a research study that will provide all EMU students free access to a mental health chatbot during the COVID-19 crisis. "Tess" is an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that is trained to deliver evidence-based emotional wellness and coping strategies in this difficult time. To learn more about the study and how to access this resource, please click hereyou can enter the study directly by clicking the link at the bottom of the flyer, but you may also receive an email from the investigators in the near future, asking you if you would like to join the project. We encourage you to take advantage of this free service by participating in our study. Please contact the primary investigator, Dr. Karen Saules ([email protected]) or co-investigator, Krithika Prakash ([email protected]), if you have any questions.

    This effort complements the important and ongoing efforts of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which has transitioned to fully phone and video sessions with Zoom. If students have questions or need to speak with a counselor, they should email CAPS at [email protected] and communicate their interest. Phone messages can be left at 734.487.1118 and will be returned as soon as possible. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends) phone support through its main CAPS phone line, 734.487.1118. 

    Hospital and healthcare organizations requests for donations, supplies and volunteers

    Several offices and individuals across the University have been contacted by hospitals and other healthcare organizations with requests for donations, supplies and volunteers. In some cases, the outside organizations have contacted several different offices at the University seeking assistance. This has led to different offices and individuals working to fulfill the same requests as other colleagues on campus. We have designated the Engage @ EMU office as the central point for coordinating the University response to these varied, and in some cases duplicate, requests. If you receive a request from a hospital or healthcare agency, please direct it to Engage @ EMU at [email protected].

    State of Michigan launches COVID-19 volunteer website

    Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have launched a new volunteer website, www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19, where trained medical professionals can register to serve their fellow Michiganders by assisting hospitals in fighting COVID-19. Other state residents also can use the site to find out how they can help in their local communities, give blood, donate money or needed medical supplies, or assist public health officials in tracking infections.

    Returning books to Halle Library

    The library is not accepting returned books at this time. Fines are not being assessed. The library is working on a procedure for how to return books once the University resumes in-person operations.

    Donations to Student Emergency Fund and Swoops Food Pantry 

    The Eastern Michigan University community continues to step up to support our students. I am pleased to announce that over the last two weeks the EMU Student Emergency Fund has received 34 gifts totaling $2,647, while Swoop’s has received 106 gifts totaling $10,046. Thank you to everyone who is supporting these important initiatives! Donations can be directed to:

     
    Swoop’s Food Pantry hours this week, items in need

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open tomorrow, Tuesday (3/31) and Thursday (4/2) from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients 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 “hot list” of needed items includes:

    • Tofu and other meat alternatives
    • Non-dairy milk such as almond, soy, or coconut milk
    • Bread and flour tortillas
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Pasta and pasta sauce
    • Rice and rice sides 
    • BBQ sauce
    • Can openers
    • Toilet paper 
    • Board games and puzzles
    • Coloring books, crayons, colored pencils
    • Bubble bath, shower gel, bath bombs


    For those wishing to make donations, 
    drop-off days and times are Tuesday (3/31) and Thursday (4/2) from 10 a.m. – noon. Donations can be dropped off to The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room in 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items up from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

    Moving forward

    We have made it a priority to update our campus community regularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold. Given the growing number of cases both in the county and statewide, the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) no longer issues public announcements about individual cases. The majority of our student body and employees have not been on campus since Wednesday, March 11, more than two-and-a-half weeks ago. Given that time lapse, it is no longer likely that students or employees who test positive would have had close contact with others on campus. Additionally, this time frame is beyond the period of exposure. Anyone who has had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 during the period of high risk would be contacted and provided directions by the Health Department typically between 36 and 48 hours after receiving test results. Moving forward, the University will no longer issue announcements about individual cases, unless circumstances warrant. Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about individuals who test positive is permitted to be released. The health department has an established protocol to track close contacts of any individual who tests positive and will notify anyone who may be at risk..  

    We continue to identify positive efforts to support others in these challenging times, as exemplified in this story reported on WDIV-TV’s website. Please continue to forward positive stories and any corresponding photos to [email protected] so that we can share them with the rest of our community.

    Our faculty members continue to share their expertise regarding COVID-19. Epidemiologist and Associate Professor of Health Administration Dr. Beverly Mihalko offered practical advice for protecting ourselves during an interview segment this afternoon on WEMU. 

    As Dr. Mihalko noted, please continue to follow physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •  Sat, March 28, 2020

    EMU instructor tests positive for COVID-19  – March 28, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Late yesterday, we received the unfortunate news that an EMU instructor has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the health department, the instructor’s last day on campus was March 16 and they did not develop symptoms until March 19. Eastern last held in person classes on March 11 before moving to online class operations as a result of the health crisis.

    The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the instructor. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department to self-quarantine or take other actions, if necessary.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the instructor is being released. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State.

    Our thoughts and support are with the instructor and their family at this time.

  •  Fri, March 27, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 27, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community: 

    Today you may have heard Governor Whitmer confirm that it is unlikely Michigan K-12 students will return to the classroom this school year. While summer registration at Eastern Michigan formally begins Monday (3/30) for Honors students, the University is looking closely at the summer schedule in terms of maximizing the online class delivery model we are currently using. We will have more to share about that in the days ahead as we work out the details with our faculty leadership.

    With more than 3,600 COVID-19 cases and 92 deaths in Michigan as of this morning, it is becoming increasingly clear that the duration of our health crisis may extend for some time and we need to prepare, as uncertain as it may be at this time. 

    The pandemic is causing extreme stress on our state’s hospitals and health care system. The health care workers and first responders who continue to work extraordinarily long hours and under highly stressful circumstances deserve our support and praise. They are our heroes in this crisis.

    So too are the individuals who are supporting others in our community: students, faculty and staff who are volunteering to collect food, medical supplies, and those who are delivering these items to the places, and the people, in need.

    I continue to see great collaboration among the Eastern community throughout this challenging period. I am particularly grateful to the leadership of our faculty and labor partners across the University. They have expressed their unity, support and ideas every step of the way. We would not be able to get through this effectively without that level of collaboration and commitment to our students and institution. This unity and shared effort represents the very best we can be as a University, serving and supporting one another and our students.

    I know all of you join me in trying to stay positive as we confront this crisis. At times it may not be easy. But it is more important than ever to search for and embrace those things that give us solace, hope, peace and happiness. As we head into the weekend, it is a good time to think about how we can mentally get away. How we can recharge. The massive effort over the past two weeks to transition to online classes did not come without a lot of anxiety and stress – for our students, our faculty and our staff.

    Practice self-care. Search for moments of peace. Find creative outlets for positive energy. It may be reading, taking a walk or a hike and enjoying nature, meditating, or even putting on that energizing Zumba home workout video! Binge watch a program. Listen to music. And how about this? Don’t check your email or phone messages for an hour or two. Whatever you do, find a break from the turmoil, even if just briefly. Take care of yourself!

    As we wrap up the week, I have a couple of updates as well as some reminders for students about campus resources to support your online/virtual learning. 

    Extension of eligibility for Temporary EMU COVID-19 Leave

    The 80-hour Temporary EMU COVID-19 Leave for full-time, benefits eligible employees continues to be available through Monday, April 13, 2020.  Due to the Washtenaw County Health Department's Order dated March 25, 2020, which requires University employees to answer certain screening questions before working on campus, EMU employees may not be permitted to work because of their answers to the questions.  EMU employees who are sent home because of their answers to the screening questions are permitted to use the Temporary EMU COVID-19 Leave for this reason.

    Update to operations of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    Counseling support has been transitioned to fully phone and video sessions with Zoom. If students have questions or need to speak with a counselor, they should email CAPS at [email protected] and communicate their interest. Phone messages can be left at 734.487.1118 and will be returned as soon as possible. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends) phone support through its main CAPS phone line, 734.487.1118. 

    Important March 31 deadline reminder for students living in residence halls

    To be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and keys must be returned no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Online resources to assist students -- Holman Success Center and Halle Library

    Services at the Holman Success Center have been adjusted during this period of modified operations in order to continue to support students through online offerings. Please visit the website for details and contact information.

    Services at Halle Library also have been adjusted during this period of modified operations to support students’ online learning needs. Visit the website to explore how the library can assist and to find contact information.

    The Dean of Students Office

    The Dean of Students Office is a resource for students on any issues or concerns they are facing. Like other campus offices, the Dean of Students Office is operating remotely. It is prepared to assist with student questions or concerns of many types, including food insecurity, academics, technology, health and wellness, or any other challenges a student may face. Please contact the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    Supporting our Asian American community

    There have been ongoing reports nationally of COVID-19 related racism and discrimination targeting the Asian American community. As we stated in one of our initial messages about the crisis: It is not an illness associated with contact with Asian community members. The Washtenaw County Health Department states, “Let’s fight this public health concern with compassion and science, not fear and discrimination.” As we proudly say here at EMU, “You Are Welcome Here!”

    WEMU essential coverage of COVID-19 and community impact

    On March 12, WEMU made the painful but necessary decision to postpone its spring on-air fundraiser. While WEMU’s needs for funds are essential to its survival, it was more critical to concentrate on serving the community with real-time news and information: global and national coverage from NPR, local news from the WEMU news team, and coverage of the arts and cultural community through the music programs.

    Since that time, WEMU has been tirelessly on the job, with daily updates from elected officials, community leaders, the medical community, EMU faculty, public safety and public health officials, and the EMU administration. Morning and afternoon news hosts David Fair and Lisa Barry have spent hours gathering information, speaking to news leaders, doing key live interviews, and keeping up with breaking news. The music team has covered the local music scene and its loss of performance income and live concerts. The behind the scenes staff has provided support wherever it’s been needed including the endless updating of social media.

    Putting aside their own anxiety for themselves, family, and friends, the WEMU team has been on the job every day (at a social distance and in a carefully sanitized environment) to make sure the community has all the critical information they need.

    While this critical coverage has been ongoing, WEMU decided to do a soft fundraiser. This was done using a mix of recorded and live donation requests for online gifts to try and offset some of the loss from not producing a full-fledged on air fundraiser, with program breaks, special guests, and in-studio volunteers answering telephones.

    And the community responded in amazing fashion with $93,925 from 455 donors over 8 days, 24 of whom gave $1,000 or more as part of WEMU’s Community Champions giving circle.

    Samples from the many comments that accompanied these gifts are below.

    • “In these times, it is this independent reporting and news that is crucial to deliver to local residents, thank you for all of your work!”
    • “WEMU is doing a heroic job of keeping the community informed.”
    • “Keep the light of music coming in these dark days.”
    • “I really appreciate your coverage of our community and its efforts to help.”
    • “Thank you for keeping things ‘jazzy’ during a difficult time for us all.”
    • “To the wonderful WEMU crew in this time of crisis, thank you for supporting the community with your timely and accurate news coverage. We appreciate your dedication to serving all of us.”


    We send our sincere gratitude to our colleagues at WEMU!

    Inspiring stories of support

    This section continues to be dedicated to sharing positive efforts among those in our campus community to support others.

    Zuzana Tomaš, EMU associate professor of ESL/TESOL, is feeling extra proud of her children after they designed and created a flyer for Swoop's Food Pantry donations and organized a food drive in their neighborhood! Professor Tomaš and her children were able to deliver a trunk full of goods to the pantry. During the 10 minutes she and her children were at Swoop's, three other cars came by to drop off donations. Professor Tomaš stated in an email, "It is incredible to see our community stepping up and thinking of others during these difficult times.”

    Photos of Professor Tomaš and her children’s efforts are highlighted on a new photo gallery designed to showcase these fine efforts among our campus community. Visit Everyday Eagle Heroes and please continue to forward stories and photos to [email protected]. We will highlight more of these wonderful initiatives in future communications.  

    Again, as we head into the weekend, please take the time to recharge and get away. Continue to follow social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    With appreciation,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •   Thu, March 26, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 26, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Earlier today we received word of a second positive COVID-19 test result involving one of our students. The student lived in campus housing and was last on campus two weeks ago, on March 12 (the day the university stopped in person classes). The student lived in a single unit and did not have symptoms when they departed campus. The student is now under care at home. Our thoughts and support are with the student and their family.

    As in yesterday’s report, public health officials indicate there is no concern of exposure to others on campus due to the length of time between the student’s departure from campus and the onset of symptoms.

    The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the student. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department to self-quarantine or take other actions. 

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the student is being released. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State.

    Washtenaw County Health Department Emergency Order

    Late yesterday, the Washtenaw County Health Department issued an Emergency Order requiring essential service providers and businesses to use recommended screening and social distancing to protect everyone’s health to the greatest degree possible.

    As we’ve stated repeatedly, guidance and directives in this crisis continue to evolve and change rapidly with little notice. Eastern Michigan has been working through the day to develop a screening process to meet the County’s order, which provides for employees to do their own daily health check prior to working. Specific details about the process were included in an email to employees on behalf of University Human Resources a short time ago.

    Credit eligibility for residence hall/housing move-out

    An important reminder: To be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and keys must be returned no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room had more than 100 shoppers over the past three days. Clients 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.

    Also, Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Next week, Swoop’s will be open on Tuesday (3/31) and Thursday (4/2) from noon – 3:30 p.m.:

    Thanks to donations, Swoop’s has received many wonderful personal care items, games, puzzles, and coloring books, which clients have appreciated. 

    Currently needed items include bread, non-dairy milk, tofu, toilet paper, cheese and cream cheese, canned beans, and condiments such as barbecue sauce and hot sauce. 

    Please email Swoop’s to inquire about making a food or self-care product donation at [email protected].

    For those who wish to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client needs, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    More stories of inspiration

    In addition to the important and wonderful work by the staff of Swoop’s, we continue to receive many examples of campus community members who are going above and beyond to support our students and fellow citizens during these challenging times. It is truly heartwarming and inspiring! 

    • Chad Hutchinson, who became Eastern’s new orchestra director this past year, is one of many great examples of faculty who continue to support our students remotely and is also ensuring they are practicing self care. As you can imagine, the orchestra director normally spends all of his time working with EMU students in person. Director Hutchinson is now working with all of his students using Zoom and other technologies. He also made a self-care video for his students, and now they are sharing their own self-care ideas on discussion boards within Canvas. He has played piano pieces for his students (some classical, some jazz) both as a gift to them and also to demonstrate that performing their own art is still very important in these times. His is but one example of all of the large ensemble directors in the School of Music and Dance who have continued teaching content to their students, despite the challenges inherent in those classes.
       
    • Counselors Krystol Alpert and Olivia Kaiserian with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have volunteered to serve as crisis counselors for the Crisis Textline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Krystol is completing her master’s degree in counseling at EMU and Olivia is completing her master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. Both are finishing their respective placements at CAPS this year. The Crisis Textline is a national crisis support service that can be accessed by texting "Hello" to 741-741.

    • Last Thursday, the Eastern Michigan University Children's Institute hosted a drive-up opportunity for families to pick up an activity bag and pantry items needed from the Children's Institute Little Free Pantry. Nearly 70 families drove through, with eight Children's Institute staff helping to distribute the items. The activity bags included a book, playdough, craft items and paper. Mailers with additional activities for families to do at home were also mailed this week, and more are planned to be mailed next week. 

     

    I enjoy learning about these efforts as much as I like sharing them with you. As they say, and it is especially true here at Eastern Michigan University, adversity brings out the best in people. We should all be proud of these fine efforts, and the many others that are taking place. Please continue to forward them to us. Send to [email protected]. We look forward to highlighting more wonderful initiatives in future communications.   

    Last, but certainly not least, please continue to follow social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe.

    With warm regards,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •  Wed, March 25, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 25, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As indicated in my message earlier today, this morning we received the unfortunate news from the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) that an Eastern Michigan University student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the student and their family.

    According to the WCHD, the student has not attended classes since March 5. The student lived off campus and is from Wayne County.

    There is no indication that the student had the disease at any point while on campus. The WCHD indicates the student would not have been at risk of exposing others until March 19, and at this time there is no indication that the student visited campus since in person classes ended on March 11.

    The student is currently hospitalized and is not part of the study abroad group that visited Italy, which we communicated about previously. The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the student. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department if needed to self-quarantine or take other actions.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the student is being released. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State.

    As this disease spreads, it is increasingly likely that many of us will at some point know of a family member, friend or associate who has been affected. Our thoughts and support are with all of those who are fighting this disease, those family members who are worried about their loved ones, and also with our health, medical and first responder communities who are on the front lines every day.

    Credit eligibility for residence hall/housing move-out

    An important reminder: To be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed from on-campus housing and formal checkout and key must be returned no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. Students will not receive a credit if they have not removed their belongings and completed the formal checkout process/key return by that date and time.

    A few students and parents have asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The Governor’s executive order does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states: 

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Academic policy change for Winter 2020 only

    Yesterday, Michael Tew, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Programming & Services, provided information via an email to all students about extended deadlines for student grade and class withdrawal options. Details and email addresses for questions and additional information can be found here.

    Employee leave

    We understand there remain a number of questions about the recently announced Temporary EMU COVID-19 Related Leave as well as the emergency leave acts recently enacted by the federal government. Details regarding each of these leaves may be found on the University Human Resources Leaves of Absence webpage. Additional questions may be directed to the University Human Resources Benefits Office at [email protected].

    Inspiration in challenging times

    In recent campus messages, we have provided examples of exemplary work among members of the Eastern community in supporting others in these difficult and uncertain times. I have asked students, faculty and staff to send other such stories to me so that we might share them with you as we move through this crisis. It is important that we continue to embrace and acknowledge the positive and inspirational efforts of our colleagues and associates. I thank those of you who have taken the time to bring those to our attention. We look forward to highlighting them in future communications.  

    Please continue to follow social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures. Follow University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. My very best to all of you.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •   Wed, March 25, 2020

    EMU Student Tests Positive for COVID-19  – March 25, 2020

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    To students, faculty and staff:

    Late this morning, we received the unfortunate news from the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) that an Eastern Michigan University student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the student and their family.

    According to the WCHD, the student has not attended classes since March 5. The student lived off campus and is from Wayne County.

    There is no indication that the student had the disease at any point while on campus. The WCHD indicates the student would not have been at risk of exposing others until March 19, and at this time there is no indication of visits to campus since in person classes ended on March 11.

    The student is currently hospitalized and is not part of the study abroad group that visited Italy, which we communicated about previously. The health department is following its protocol of tracking close contacts of the student. Those individuals will be contacted separately and advised by the health department if needed to self-quarantine or take other actions.

    Due to federal privacy laws, no personal details or further information about the student is permitted. We have been, and continue to be, in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State. It is important to continue to follow hand-washing, social distancing and other prevention measures.

    As this disease spreads, it is increasingly likely that many of us will at some point know of a family member, friend or associate who has been affected. Our thoughts and support are with all of those who are fighting this disease, those family members who are worried about their loved ones, and also with our health, medical and first responder communities who are on the front lines every day.

    Please monitor your email, the Eastern Michigan University COVID-19 website and our FAQ for further information and updates. 

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •  Tue, March 24, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 24, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The light of dawn this morning brought with it the new day, but also a new way of conducting our personal and professional lives. Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order went into effect this morning, further restricting our day-to-day routines as we all adjust to this unprecedented crisis. The Governor’s actions, and those occurring in other states and at the federal level, are deeply needed and necessary as we fight the global pandemic of COVID-19.

    As announced yesterday, the University implemented several additional actions following the Governor’s Executive Order. Those actions are in alignment with and extend the steps the University already has in place to reduce the on campus work force.

    At this time, employees working on campus include only those designated by their supervisors in the following areas: 1) those engaged in the safety and well-being of our community; 2) those involved in the maintenance of facilities and business operations; 3) employees in housing who are supporting the remaining students who live on campus; 4) support services personnel who facilitate online/virtual/distance learning technologies; and, 5) those working at WEMU 89.1 for their role in providing critical information to the public.

    In each of these cases, it is expected that public health guidance for social distancing and hand washing/hygiene is followed. We also ask that any of the above designated employees or students who still live on campus who feel ill or symptomatic of COVID-19, stay home, self-monitor and contact their medical provider as necessary.   

    We have several updates to share with you today. 

    Extension of Temporary COVID-19 Related Leave Allowance for eligible employees

    The University is extending the time frame in which its Temporary COVID-19 Related Leave is available. Full-time, benefits-eligible employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of additional paid time off pursuant to this leave through Monday, April 13, 2020.

    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 13, sick leave and/or other leave may be used. This COVID-19 leave allowance is subject to prior approval by your supervisor.

    Employees with questions may contact the University Human Resources Benefits Office at [email protected]. Please continue to monitor EMU’s COVID-19 website for updates. 

    Residence halls/housing move-out questions

    We have received many questions from students who have left their resident hall room or apartment, but did not formally checkout and still have items remaining in their room or apartment. We also have been asked if coming to campus would violate the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. 

    First, yesterday’s Executive Order by the Governor does not prohibit travel for such purposes. Section 7 of the Governor's executive order states as follows:

    Section 7(b): Individuals may also travel:
    (1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
    (2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
    (3) To travel between two residences in this state.

    Students moving their belongings from campus to their permanent residence fall within these exceptions.

    Further, to be eligible for the housing and/or dining credit previously announced, all personal items must be removed and formal checkout and key return completed no later than March 31 at 5 p.m. The University cannot store personal belongs or furniture.

    In addition, the University must undertake a deep cleaning of all residence hall rooms and apartments, and cannot begin that process until a room has been officially vacated for 14 days, in the interest of the safety of our employees who clean the rooms, following public health guidance.  

    Update on student grade and withdrawal options

    We received several questions from students about the announcement from the Provost’s office yesterday about extended deadlines for student grade and class withdrawal options. As indicated yesterday, these include:

    • Extending the deadline until the end of the semester for students to request the Pass/No Pass grading option;
    • Extending the deadline until the end of the semester for students to request certain types of withdrawals from courses;
    • Waiving degree requirements related to the cancellation of one-credit-hour in person PEGN courses since the decision to suspend in person operations; and, 
    • Implementing alternative means of completing LBC requirements for graduation.

     

    Students will receive details on how to extend the deadlines and waivers noted above in a separate email from the Provost’s Office that will be sent within the hour.    

    Student government elections postponed until September 2020

    As a result of the unprecedented disruption to campus life that affects every student, the University has postponed until September 2020 the Student Government election that was scheduled to occur tomorrow, March 25, and Thursday, March 26. The exact date of the September election will be determined and announced in the near future.

    To ensure that students retain representation, the current Student Government – which was scheduled to remain in place until late-April – will continue in their roles until the transition to a new Student Government this fall. All candidates who submitted a valid petition to run in the March election will automatically appear on the September election ballot unless they request to have their name removed. As with all matters related to this rapidly evolving global crisis, we will continue to update students about the election process.

    Moving forward

    This morning I participated in an in-depth interview on WEMU 89.1 conducted via phone by Morning Edition host David Fair. The extensive discussion included recent actions taken by the University to ensure the health and safety of our campus community, and the transition to distance/online learning and remote operations for a majority of our employees. The interview addresses many of the ongoing questions that have been raised by our students, faculty and staff – you may find it helpful in answering questions you have.

    In addition, today we posted a new Frequently Asked Questions resource to the University’s COVID-19 website. It features a drop-down format with individual sections for questions pertaining to specific areas of our University community: University Operations; Students; Instructors; Staff; Parents and Family; Community Members; Prospective Students; Travel; and, COVID-19 Information. We hope you will find this to be helpful resource in addressing questions you may have.

    Despite these times of trial and challenge, the Eastern Michigan University community continues to do wonderful things to support our fellow citizens. We have continued to highlight the work of Swoop’s Food Pantry. Some other recent initiatives include:

    • Eastern’s nursing program developed a plan for nursing students, faculty, and/or alumni to assist IHA at their nearby drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. A total of 245 people have volunteered to participate in this effort.
    • EMU Police committed to assisting in the delivery of Meals on Wheels in the community, with more than 20 officers volunteering for deliveries next week.
    • And, as mentioned in previous messages, our community continues to donate medical supplies to be delivered to local hospitals.

    There are undoubtedly many more examples of these kinds of efforts happening throughout the University community. Please share them with us. It is important at these times of challenge that we continue to embrace and support the positive actions around us -- they reflect the very best of the human spirit.

    Please continue to heed social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures, and follow your University email and our COVID-19 website for additional updates, as well as resources to keep you safe.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon, March 23, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 23, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    In light of Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order issued this morning, the University implemented a number of actions today. They are designed to further reduce the workforce working daily on campus beyond our initial actions, which require non-designated employees to work remotely.

    This remains an extremely fluid and evolving situation, reflecting the emergency and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 global crisis. As we all know, guidance and directives are changing daily. The University is working diligently to adjust operations rapidly to meet the changing situation as we assess their impact on University operations and implement the new directives.

    Today, under the terms of the Governor’s Executive Order, we are instructing employees to refrain from coming to campus unless they are part of a smaller group of designated employees, which include those:

    • Needed to maintain essential business and facility operations.
    • Providing instructional support services for online/virtual/distance learning.
    • Involved in urgent health and wellness needs of students.
    • Assisting in the wind-down of on campus housing and student resident checkout, which is to be completed by 5 p.m. March 31. A majority of our on campus residents have moved out, including more than 1,200 students who left over this past weekend. As noted previously, not everyone can move out. For some students, Eastern is a permanent address, or a destination for international students and students from far away in the U.S. Other students have special circumstances that affect their ability to return to their permanent place of residence.
    • Involved in vital public communications during the crisis, such as WEMU 89.1, the University’s National Public Radio station.


    Employees who are included in this smaller group and designated to work on campus will be notified by their supervisors. Other employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so.

    Employees who have items in the workplace they need to retrieve before the order goes into effect at midnight should get them this evening. Swipe card access to all buildings is in place for today only. Buildings will be closed tomorrow. Employees designated to work on campus should call DPS (734.487.1222) to advise them of the building they are working in and the length of time they will be there.

    Due to the Governor’s Executive Order, the Student Center closed at 5 p.m. today and will remain closed at least through April 13 as noted in the Governor’s Executive Order. This includes:

    • EMU Credit Union, which had been open by appointment only. Drive thru operations continue at nearby branches; and,
    • EMU Bookstore, which offers several free online initiatives to support students, including eBooks, access to Lumen Learning OER Courseware, online shipping, and deadline extensions.


    Student grade and withdrawal options

    Under these unprecedented circumstances and consistent with our commitment to support the academic needs of students in every way possible, the Provost’s Office is adjusting student grade and withdrawal options. These include:

    • Extending the deadline for students to request the Pass/No Pass grading option;
    • Extending the deadline for students to request certain types of withdrawals from courses;
    • Waiving degree requirements related to the cancellation of one-credit hour in person PEGN courses since the decision to suspend in person operations; and,
    • Implementing alternative means of completing LBC requirements for graduation.


    Summer registration

    The Provost’s Office today announced the delay of the start of Summer Registration until Monday, March 30 in order to allow for a review of the Summer A course schedule. Fall Registration began today as previously announced.

    Student employees

    Student employees may, if they wish and if their supervisor approves, continue to work remotely (and only on campus within the bounds of the Governor’s Executive Order, with the approval of a vice president and following strict social distancing guidance). Timesheets are due tonight by 11:59 p.m. per the standard reporting process. Students should only report on their timesheets those hours that they have worked.

    Tips for working remotely

    The Division of Information Technology has prepared a set of tips for working remotely: Resources to Prepare for working remotely [PDF].

    Swoop’s Food Pantry reopens tomorrow

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room reopens tomorrow (Tuesday, March 24) from noon – 3:30 p.m. It will be open during those same hours from Tuesday - Thursday of this week. Swoop’s is seeking donations of these supplies:

    • Refrigerated items such as milk, eggs and cheese. Also, beans - both canned and dried - and pasta, rice and bread.
    • Self-care items such as body lotion, soap and bubble bath. Also creative outlets such as used (but with all the pieces!) puzzles, games, journals, and other creative things such as coloring books, markers, and crayons.


    Swoop’s can arrange pick-up of these items from your porch if you are in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area. Please email Swoop’s to inquire about making a food or self-care product donation, or to arrange a pickup, at [email protected].

    For those who wish to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client needs, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    Please join me in thanking the staff of Swoop’s for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students and the community.

    Additional community resources

    Engage @ EMU has compiled a list of community resources. It includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs.

    The Dean of Students Office

    The Dean of Students Office is a resource for students on any issues or concerns they are facing. Like other campus offices, the Dean of Students Office is operating remotely. It is prepared to assist with student questions or concerns of many types, including food insecurity, academics, technology, health and wellness, or any other challenges a student may face. Please contact the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    Urgent need for donations to local hospitals

    Many people responded to our campus wide initiative that we shared yesterday. As noted in the message, area health systems are being tested as a result of COVID-19, with several seeking supplies for patient care. The University is soliciting the following items, in any quantity, to help our colleagues on the frontline of caring for these patients:

    • Face masks, N95 masks, and face shields
    • Gowns
    • Surgical caps/protective caps
    • Eyeglass shields/goggles
    • Lysol or Clorox wipes
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Nasal testing swabs
    • M4 viral media
    • Acetate transparency sheets - blank ones (which will be used to make "face shields")

    Please drop off donations at EMU's Department of Public Safety located at 1200 Oakwood.

    Additionally, our local hospitals are down to a 1-day supply of blood. If you can donate, please contact the American Red Cross and schedule your appointment today.

    Questions about these needs can be directed to the School of Nursing at [email protected] or 734.487.2310.

    Student Gold Medallion Awards to be live streamed

    In an effort to celebrate this year’s nominees and award winners, Campus Life will live stream the announcement of the winners tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, at 4 p.m. That is the time the event was originally scheduled before it had to be canceled. Watch the announcement live on Campus Life’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

    Future steps

    The actions we are taking today, consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order, further reflect our ongoing commitment to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the Eastern Michigan University community. I ask you to continue to heed social distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention [PDF] measures.

    Please continue to follow your University email and our COVID-19 website for additional updates, as well as resources to keep you safe.

    Thank you for your continued attention to these urgent matters.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, March 20, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 20, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding in these difficult times. The actions and decisions we are implementing daily are in direct response to the national emergency surrounding COVID-19 and directives from the executive and state branches of government. They also are in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    In response to yesterday’s message about closing residence halls and on campus apartments effective Tuesday, March 31, more than 700 students are scheduled to move out this weekend. Housing staff is deliberate in the scheduling process to spread the move-outs apart in observance of social distancing guidance. I thank students and families for your cooperation through this process. My sincere appreciation to housing staff who are working tirelessly to ensure a safe and efficient process.

    As noted in yesterday’s communications, students living in residence halls or on campus apartments should visit the housing website for move-out details and to schedule a check-out time. This must be completed by 11:59 p.m. tonight, Friday, March 20. Our housing team will not be able to accommodate all those who want to check out at the same time, so please be flexible. At their scheduled time, students should check-out at their respective service desk. Parking will be free during the move-out process.

    We understand that not everyone can move out. In some cases, Eastern is a permanent address, or a destination for international students and students from far away in the U.S. Other students have other special circumstances that affect their ability to return to their permanent place of residence. Exceptions to the mandatory move-out exist for those students. Please email the housing office if you have questions at [email protected].

    Some students have asked how they will be notified about their housing and/or meal plan credit, as was announced yesterday. Eligible students will be notified by email from Student Business Services once the assessment process is completed. As noted yesterday, processing the entire population of students living in campus housing and on meal plans will take some time, and we ask for your patience. It is important to remember the unprecedented time we are in and the state of emergency that surrounds, and affects, all of our actions.

    The Dean of Students Office

    The Dean of Students Office is a resource for students on any issues or concerns they are facing. Like other campus offices, the Dean of Students Office is operating remotely. It is prepared to assist with student questions or concerns of many types, including food insecurity, academics, technology, health and wellness, or any other challenges a student may face. Please contact the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    Student employees

    Student employees received their regular pay yesterday, March 19. Student employees may, if they wish and if their supervisor approves, continue to work remotely (and only on campus with the approval of a vice president and following strict social distancing guidance). Students should only report on their timesheets those hours that they have worked.

    The University recognizes that with the temporary modification of campus operations, certain student employees may not be needed. We understand that many students rely on their student employment to make ends meet and that the impact of not working could lead to serious financial consequences. We are reviewing this matter, as well as guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies. We hope to provide additional information as soon as possible.

    Students should examine the Student Emergency Fund and seek assistance if eligible. Students are also encouraged to explore the Community Resource Page developed by Engage @ EMU.

    Halle Library

    Library services have been adjusted during this period of modified operations. Although in person services are suspended because of the Governor’s executive order, the library is committed to providing research support, which is available online in a variety of ways: 

    • 24/7 chat reference through the Ask a Librarian service (EMU Librarians are now staffing most hours normally covered in person via this chat service);
    • E-mail or phone by filling out this online form; and,
    • Virtual appointments via phone or Google Meet with subject specialists.


    Much of the library's collection is available electronically via Esearch and the library's other databases. This includes many ebooks assigned in courses. Faculty and students who need to access specific material that is not available electronically should contact their subject specialist to help identify alternatives. 

    The computer labs in Halle, which reopened temporarily yesterday and today with limited hours and social distancing, usage limits and cleaning and hygiene protocols in place, will close effective Monday, March 23. They will remain closed until further notice.

    The labs were reopened to assist students who do not have access to a computer during the wind down of on campus operations. The labs received very limited use over the past two days. Students with challenges for resources to finish classes online should contact the Dean of Students Office, as noted above, for assistance.

    The library has a number of resources available for faculty for online learning (via Canvas or another option.) In Canvas, there is a "Library Guides" link at the bottom of the LH navigation column that will take you directly to an appropriate research guide. Additionally, the library offers a number of tutorials and instructional videos that you can point students to.

    Please keep library materials until the library reopens, including EMU, MelCat, and Interlibrary Loan items. Due dates will be automatically extended and fines will be waived.

    Please see the Library Services for Online Learners and Library Services Updates pages for additional information. 

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    Over the past three days of being open 3½ hours a day, the John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry Room was visited by 159 shoppers. The need is great and demand is high. We are working to continue to support those in need. Swoop’s will be open next week from Tuesday – Thursday from noon to 3:30 p.m.

    Swoop’s is seeking these supplies through donation to keep up with demand:

    • Refrigerated items such as milk, eggs and cheese. Also, beans - both canned and dried - and pasta, rice and bread.
    • Self-care items such as body lotion, soap and bubble bath. Also creative outlets such as used (but with all the pieces!) puzzles, games, journals, and other creative things such as coloring books, markers, and crayons.


    Swoop’s can arrange pick-up of these items from your porch if you are in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area. Please email Swoop’s to inquire about making a food or self-care product donation, or to arrange a pickup, at [email protected].

    For those who wish to contribute financial support so that Swoop’s can purchase necessary items based on client needs, donations are accepted here:

    Swoop's Student Food Pantry donations

    In addition, donations to support students can be made here:

    EMU Student Emergency Fund

    Please join me in thanking the staff of Swoop’s for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students and the community.

    Additional community resources

    Engage @ EMU has compiled a list of community resources. It includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs.

    Further guidance and information

    As many of you, I am closely monitoring government and public health updates. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan today increased to more than 500. There were no cases reported in Michigan just 10 days ago, until Tuesday evening, March 10. The predicted escalation in the number of cases is clearly happening now and the health care system is under tremendous stress.

    The University is taking every precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. This guides every decision we make, every day. As I’ve said repeatedly, our students, faculty and staff have conducted themselves with the greatest of skill, expertise and understanding throughout this crisis. This is a time for everyone to work together, to protect one another, and ensure we follow hygiene and social distancing guidance.

    Please continue to follow that guidance and the Washtenaw County Health Department prevention recommendations that have been provided in my daily updates.

    If you know of someone who has contracted the disease, or an individual or family that is quarantined as a result, you might find this Health Department guidance helpful: Directions for Isolation, Quarantine, Monitoring and Social Distancing. It is one of the many helpful resources on the University’s COVID-19 website. Please continue to monitor it, and your campus email, for ongoing updates.

    Please be safe.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thur, March 19, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 19, 2020

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    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.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed, March 18, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 18, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 and based on declarations of emergency and guidance from federal, state, and local government and public health officials, the University has made the important decision to extend online/virtual class program delivery through the end of the winter semester, April 27. This decision was made after discussion and consultation with bargaining unit leadership and support, which I greatly appreciate. In person, on campus classes will not take place for the remainder of the semester.

    Employees, other than those designated by their supervisors, will continue to work remotely for the time being. A return date to regular on campus operations for employees will be communicated at a later date, as this evolving situation warrants.

    These are important actions. They would have been unheard of just months ago. But they reflect the severity of the health crisis facing our community, state, nation and world. It is not a time for business as usual. It is a time for reassurance. It is a time for action, and leadership. And, it is a time for addressing the University’s number one mission and priority – protecting the health and safety of our community. It also is a time for creativity and ingenuity as we deliver Eastern’s high quality education to students in new and different ways to ensure their continued success.

    I again want to offer my sincere appreciation to everyone who is adjusting to these changes. Our faculty and staff have responded with overwhelming support, with a “can do” attitude that reflects the very best qualities of everything Eastern Michigan University stands for. Your passion for what we do and your commitment to making a monumental operational transformation to an online/virtual environment is a source of deep pride for all of us.

    Several other operational items are important to address in today’s update, including helpful information for students about the computer lab, Holman Success Center, and CAPS:

    Computer lab to open

    The ground floor computer lab in Halle will open tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, and 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 it, 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 will be closed and gated. Lab hours for next week are being determined.

    Students living in residence halls

    Due to this public health crisis, and in light of the need to continue online course delivery through the end of the semester, we strongly encourage students living on campus to return to their permanent place of residence for the remainder of the semester (unless they are international students, are from far distances, or have other special circumstances requiring them to remain).

    Dining hours are continually being adjusted to meet our on-campus student population and directives from the State of Michigan. Please check hours at EMU’s dining website.

    The University is developing plans to provide financial adjustments for students who have moved out of residence halls and for those who have dining contracts. We will provide further details in the very near future as those plans are finalized.

    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]emich.edu

    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]emich.edu.
     
    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.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    More than 60 shoppers visited Swoop’s yesterday. The number reflects the importance of the Pantry. Using appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols, Swoop’s was open today and will be open again tomorrow, Thursday (3/19), from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will have an update on next week’s schedule later in the week.

    To minimize social contacts, the shopping process has been adjusted: Staff walks the aisles with clients and staff fills the bags, thereby reducing touching of handles, food and produce by clients. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    Many have asked how they can support Swoop’s during this time. Staff is on hand from 11-11:30 a.m. tomorrow to take food donations.

    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

    Community Resources

    Engage @ EMU has compiled a list of community resources. It includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs.

    Campus events cancelation extended

    Today, I am instructing that the cancelation of University events be extended beyond the initial March 31 date we announced last week to May 8. This reflects Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance announced earlier this week for an eight-week moratorium on large gatherings. Out of an abundance of caution, our actions will not only limit large events, but smaller ones as well. All University and non-University hosted events scheduled at Eastern Michigan are canceled through May 8. As we had announced previously, this includes the postponement of Commencement ceremonies on April 25 and the Multicultural Graduation on April 24.

    EMU Credit Union (EMUCU) open by appointment only

    The EMU Credit Union in the Student Center has moved to a “by appointment only” schedule during its regular business hours, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. Please email the branch at [email protected]emucu.org to schedule an appointment. Nearby EMUCU branch offices are open for drive-thru (Jackson Road, Carpenter Road, South State Street, Bristol Road). If you any questions, contact the EMUCU during regularly scheduled business hours at 800-968-8628.

    IBM SPSS

    During the COVID-19 situation, IBM SPSS is allowing free home-use licenses for SPSS Statistics Standard for instructors and students. To obtain the software please visit http://emich.onthehub.com and sign on with your EMU NetID and password. IBM limits the SPSS Statistics Standard software to one download per user.

    For graduating students – questions about diplomas and transcripts

    Information about diplomas and transcripts is available on the Office of Records and Registration website.

    Moving forward

    I am committed to keeping our community well informed of our updates and actions as we proceed through these uncertain times. I ask that you share with me any items that we need to know about, positive ways we are working together, or challenges we face, so that we can learn more, and share that knowledge and information.

    While this is indeed a challenging phase in all of our lives, it is one that we must continue to meet together by embracing the very best in one another, and the noblest qualities of our human spirit.

    Please continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these difficult times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue, March 17, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 17, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    These are unprecedented times. The ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the speed at which things are changing around us are affecting our lives in ways we could not have imagined. Our Eastern community continues to work constructively during these challenges, with the highest priority on the health and safety of everyone at our University. As you have observed, we are continually adapting our operations to meet this health crisis. We are working tirelessly, and taking every precaution. We also are committed to keeping you informed on an ongoing basis.

    To our faculty and staff, thank you for all you have been doing to lead our campus through a very difficult time. We appreciate your dedication and compassion for our students and your co-workers.


    University operations

    Based on questions we are receiving, it is important we are clear about University operations, and that any emails, out-of-office messages, websites and other communications, conversations or presentations reflect the following:

    • The University is not "closed." The University is "open with modified operations.” 

    • We continue to serve our students in a virtual/online environment with most employees working remotely.

    • Our operations reflect the emergency orders on the national, state and local levels, as well as ongoing guidance we receive from federal, state and local public health officials.


    Internet access/computer support

    Students and employees have contacted us about what to do if they do not have internet access or a computing device. With Halle Library operations suspended under the Governor’s executive order, it is a priority for us to provide students with access to the computer labs. We hope to finalize this plan shortly and expect to have information to share tomorrow.

    In the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis, many internet providers are offering plans to support individuals at this time with low cost or free services. Below is additional information about some of those plans:

    • FCC agreement states that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots;
    • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families; all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time;
    • Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months;
    • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families;
    • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but follows the FCC agreement above;
    • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge; and,
    • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.


    Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for student home use:
     Eastern’s I.T. team has applied for Adobe's temporary student home use license, allowing students to run the Creative Cloud suite on their personal computers through May 31. We are coordinating with departments to prioritize known course requirements and will provide additional request options shortly. Visit the I.T. software resource page for details.


    Students living in residence halls

    Due to this public health crisis, students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence temporarily (unless they are international students, are from far distances, or have other special circumstances requiring them to remain).

    Dining hours are continually being adjusted to meet our on-campus student population and directives from the State of Michigan. Please check hours at EMU’s dining website.


    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    Food insecurity remains a problem for many of our students and others in the community. This health crisis will increase the demand for food supplies, and we are working to support this growing need. Using appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols, Swoop’s Food Pantry reopened today from 11:30 a.m. – to 3 p.m. It will be open tomorrow, Wednesday (3/18) and Thursday (3/19), also from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will provide an update on next week’s Swoop’s schedule later in the week.

    To minimize social contacts, the shopping process has been adjusted: Staff walks the aisles with clients and staff fills the bags, thereby reducing touching of handles, food and produce by clients. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    Many have asked how they can support Swoop’s during this time. Staff is on hand from 11-11:30 a.m. tomorrow and Thursday to take food donations. 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


    Community Resources

    Engage @ EMU, which is part of the Provost's Office, has compiled a list of community resources that are available during this challenging time. The list includes services available for financial assistance, childcare, business support, food services, housing, internet, volunteer opportunities, and other community needs. The list will be updated regularly. Please refer to and share this resource. Special thanks to Decky Alexander, Kristen Klochko, Janice Lee, and Caroline Sanders from the Engage Team for this excellent work.


    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. 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.

    IHA indicates the Campus Medical Pharmacy located in the health center will remain open with regular hours.


    ParkEMU

    ParkEMU is planning to have limited staff on campus from Monday - Friday through March 31 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the following:

    • assist with transient parking;
    • vehicle assistance;
    • cleaning/disinfecting high touch points in surface lots and garages;
    • enforcement; and,
    • office assistance for parkers (office doors will be closed to the public, but we assist through phone/email).


    ParkEMU
     will not have employees on campus before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. during weekdays, and will not have employees on campus over the weekend.


    Other items

    The Campus Bookstore, EMU Credit Union, and Amazon are maintaining their regular hours in the Student Center.

    Eastern Michigan University’s public radio station, 89.1 WEMU, is presenting a special on COVID-19 tonight at 7 p.m. All Things Considered host Lisa Barry will present a live one-hour on air program (also on Facebook Live). Lisa Barry will be joined by EMU Professor of Health Administration Beverly Mihalko and Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton, with a special call from Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Email questions to [email protected]wemu.org, or call 888.299.8910 during the event or submit questions through WEMU’s Facebook page.

    The Washtenaw County Health Department has published a comprehensive list [PDF] of prevention measures.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, contact the IHA Health Center @ EMU as noted above, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    Please continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon, March 16, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 16, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan now up to 53 today, Governor Whitmer hours ago issued several important executive orders that directly affect our operations. These include the closure of restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and libraries. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revised its guidance regarding large crowds, recommending that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.

    Therefore, effective today, the University is announcing the following:

    • Campus Dining: Consistent with Governor Whitmer’s executive order, all campus dining operations will move to a “grab and go”/takeout format, effective this evening. Campus dining options are limited to the Eateries, Homestyle @ Cluck, and the Market in the Student Center for the immediate future. Operating hours are posted on the dining website. Students should not congregate and eat with one another due to public health social distancing recommendations.

    • Rec/IM: The Rec/IM will close at 3 p.m. today and will remain closed for the immediate future, under the executive order from Governor Whitmer. This includes the Jones Pool and locker facilities.

    • Halle Library: Halle Library will close at 3 p.m. today, again following the executive order issued by Governor Whitmer. It will remain closed for the immediate future. We are assessing whether the computer lab can remain open and will have a further update soon.

    • Spring Commencement: Spring Commencement, scheduled for April 25, is postponed to a later date to be determined. We understand that this is a disappointment for the students who worked hard to earn their degree as well as their families, but this action is necessary pursuant to the various government emergency directives and guidelines regarding large audiences as our entire nation seeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to re-scheduling  Commencement ceremonies to a later date, and all graduates and their families will be advised of those plans once decided. This also includes the Multicultural Graduation ceremony, which also is postponed until further notice.

    • Extending online class schedule: The University is continually evaluating its initially announced plans to resume in-person classes on April 1. We stated from the beginning that this timeline was fluid and would be adjusted if necessary. In light of the recent changes in guidance from the Governor’s office and the CDC, it now appears likely that we will need to further extend online/virtual class delivery and delay resumption of in-person classes on campus. We will have an announcement in this regard later this week. 

    • Students living in residence halls: Due to this public health crisis, students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence temporarily (unless they are international students, are from far distances, or have other special circumstances requiring them to remain).


    I will continue to emphasize: The most important thing any of us can do at this time is to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes avoiding close interaction and practicing social distancing. We understand that tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, an occasion in which many people want to gather and celebrate. I emphasize, and both Michigan’s Governor and our health experts agree, this is not the time for those activities. Please refrain from such gatherings this year. Such interaction puts you in danger of contracting the disease and spreading it to others.

    This is a time for all of us to practice self-care. Take care of yourselves. The Washtenaw County Health Department has published a comprehensive list [PDF] of prevention measures.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, the IHA Health Center @ EMU, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    As a result of this health emergency, we ask that you continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Sun, March 15, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update: March 15, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    These are challenging times filled with uncertainty and stress. This evening, Governor Whitmer announced 12 new cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, bringing the total number of people infected in the state to 45, with many more tests currently underway.

    The days and weeks ahead are going to be difficult as we all navigate this global pandemic and declarations of emergency in our nation, state, county and municipality, and the evolving changes in guidance and recommendations from public health and government officials.

    It is our commitment to you to continue to keep you informed and updated as the University responds to this health crisis.

    Public health experts are clear: social distancing is critical to preventing the spread COVID-19. Our actions reflect that priority.

    All EMU employees who have not been otherwise informed or designated by their supervisor are expected to begin working remotely tomorrow, Monday, March 16. Supervisors should be in touch with each employee via email or phone to confirm arrangements for their work and to resolve any areas of concern. A guide has been developed to assist employees in this effort: Preparing to work remotely [PDF]. Employees should contact their supervisor immediately if they are unclear about whether they have been designated to work on campus or have not confirmed work arrangements.

    Tomorrow, March 16, 2020, the University will launch an online/virtual schedule and support structure as noted in previous campus messages last week. Only a very few offices should be operating in person and protocols should be worked through for how this will occur in a manner than maintains social distancing and hygiene expectations to the highest degree possible. This is a significant undertaking and a process for which we have prepared. It requires many changes to the typical class delivery model and we ask everyone’s patience as we work through these new processes and adjust in the coming days. Please be patient and supportive with colleagues and community members who are less comfortable with this form of interaction. Our community’s support for each other during this time has made me so proud as a leader. Let’s stay strong as we dive into the deep water this week!

    FOR STUDENTS

    Online class plans

    Instructors either have or will soon be in contact with their students about next steps in their courses. We realize that some issues remain to be determined including full lab, practicum, and studio solutions but contact should be underway. If there are questions about this, students should (as always) first contact their instructor via email and then the department head or school director who leads the area that sponsors the course.

    We continue to work with faculty and staff who conduct performance classes such as dance and art, as well as laboratory classes, to determine the best approach for those classes. I ask for your patience as we work through these items. These courses are difficult to recreate virtually but solutions continue to emerge out of the creativity and commitment of our outstanding instructional staff. Please be patient as we problem solve -- we all remain committed to a full educational experience in the face of an unprecedented disruption in the national educational system. 

    ServiceEMU

    ServiceEMU is open via email or telephone as outlined below.

    Inquiries regarding Financial Aid should be directed to [email protected] or 734.487.0455.

    Inquiries regarding Student Business Services should be directed to [email protected] or 734.487.3335.

    Inquiries to the Office of the Registrar should be directed to [email protected].

    Students in residence halls

    Due to public health recommendations for social distancing during this emergency, students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence temporarily (unless they are international students, from out of state or have other special circumstances).

    Hours for Halle Library, EMU Dining and Rec/IM

    Updated hours for these operations are posted on their respective webpages:


    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    During the on-campus suspension of activities, CAPS is working to provide support to students, while maintaining the physical health of our campus community. All in-person appointments have been canceled to minimize social contacts. Instead, current clients have been contacted by email and will also be called early this week 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 us at 734.487.1118 or by email at [email protected].

    Other mental health resources include:

    1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255
    2. Crisis Text Line: Text "hello" to 741741


    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    Swoop’s Food Pantry will reopen on Tuesday (3/17), Wednesday (3/18) and Thursday (3/19) from 11:30 – 3 p.m. Staff will be busy on Monday restocking the shelves and preparing the pantry for visitors.

    To minimize social contacts, the shopping process will be adjusted: Staff will walk the aisles with clients and staff will fill the bags, thereby reducing touching of handles, produce, etc., by clients. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator.

    We will provide an update on next week’s Swoop’s schedule later in the week.

    Overall student issues and concerns

    The Dean of Students office is a central point for students who have a concern or need assistance that has not been addressed elsewhere in our updates. They will likely direct you to other offices on campus as needed so please carefully review their responses. We ask that you please hold questions that are not time sensitive issues until midweek to allow for adjustment to this new mode of operation. The Dean of Students office is best contacted via email at [email protected]. Please recall that course related issues should be addressed first with your instructor and then the relevant Department Head or School Director.

    FOR EMPLOYEES

    Buildings open tomorrow for retrieval of laptops, materials

    As indicated previously, all buildings will be open tomorrow, Monday, March 16, so that employees can retrieve office items needed to work remotely.

    ID/swipe cards

    After tomorrow, employees should expect that buildings will be locked and will require swipe card access if returning to campus. If you have misplaced your swipe card you will need to replace it in order to swipe in.

    Employees who need replacement ID/swipe cards to access buildings the remainder of the week should visit Student Business Services (SBS) in 203 Pierce Hall. SBS will be open from 9:30 a.m. to noon tomorrow (Monday, March 16) for replacement cards.

    Desktop computers

    Employees who wish to take desktop computers and peripheral equipment out of their office to work remotely should complete an equipment checkout request form.

    Campus Shipping, Receiving, and Mail Services

    In order to minimize interaction and embrace social distancing, mail pickup will be centralized at Shipping, Receiving & Mail Services (SRMS) from Monday, March 16 through the planned return to campus operations on Monday, March 30. Departmental mail and packages will be available for pick up between 2 – 3 p.m. each day.  Please drop off any mail to be sent out, which will be delivered the Post Office the following morning. If your department is expecting a specific delivery, please contact SRMS at 734.487.4386 or at [email protected].

    LOOKING AHEAD

    The most important thing any of us can do at this time is to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. Please review this comprehensive list [PDF] of prevention measures compiled by the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, the IHA Health Center @ EMU, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    As a result of this health emergency, we ask that you continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri, March 13, 2020

    COVID-19 Campus Update, March 13, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Preparations for the start of online classes on Monday, March 16 are moving forward. We appreciate student, faculty and staff understanding and patience as we begin this journey, along with our university colleagues across the country, into what are largely uncharted waters.

    We are committed throughout this process to operate with the utmost concern for the health and well being of students, faculty and staff. Our decisions are based on fully supporting social distancing recommendations as guided by the Centers for Disease Control as well as local and state public health officials.

    We have several important operational items for today’s update:

    FOR STUDENTS

    Student employees

    Student employees can continue to work at the discretion of their supervisors, either on campus or remotely as directed by supervisors.

    The University recognizes that with the temporary reduction in on campus operations, certain student employees will not be needed, such as in dining and other areas. We understand that many students rely heavily on their student employment to make ends meet and that the impact of not working could lead to serious financial consequences. The U.S. Department of Education is reviewing this matter and is expected to provide guidance to universities within the next week. The University will evaluate the federal guidance and assess how best to support our students. We hope to be able to provide a plan for those students within the next week. In the meantime, all students who worked over the past two weeks will receive their pay as scheduled on March 19.

    Registration for Fall 2020 classes delayed one week

    Given the disruption in the regular class schedule, the University is delaying the opening of Fall 2020 class registration by one week, to Monday, March 23. 

    Hours for Halle Library, EMU Dining and Rec/IM

    Updated hours for these operations are posted on their respective webpages:

    Rec/IM

    Halle Library

    EMU Dining  

    Student Center

    FOR EMPLOYEES

    Webinars for faculty

    We understand today’s webinars did not go as planned for faculty. We are working through these issues and appreciate your patience and understanding. We will continue to provide updates as soon as possible. As I indicated on Wednesday, with such a massive undertaking and transition to online/virtual classes, there are bound to be some challenges along the way. Working together, we will overcome them. 

    Building access

    Swipe card access should work for your building in order to access workspaces and offices over the weekend and over the next two weeks when online/virtual classes are held.

    As indicated previously, all buildings will be open Monday, March 16 so that employees can retrieve laptops and materials needed to work remotely. If you are unable to swipe into your building, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 734.487.1222.

    Desktop computers

    Employees who wish to take desktop computers and peripheral equipment out of their office to work remotely should complete an equipment checkout request form.

    Payroll and timesheets

    Payroll operations continue as standard. Employee pay will be processed in accordance with the typical schedule.

    For timesheets, employees should classify yesterday and today (March 12, 13) as they would for a snow day. Beginning Monday, March 16, all employees should resume routine timesheet entry – those who work remotely and designated employees who work on campus.

    Campus mail pickup

    In order to minimize interaction and embrace social distancing, mail pickup will be centralized beginning Monday, March 16 through the planned return to campus operations on Monday, March 30. All offices will be required to pick up their mail from the mail office.

    OVERALL CAMPUS

    Campus cleaning

    The University’s facilities team continues its enhanced cleaning efforts across campus. They are concentrating on touch points (door handles, light switches, desk tops, etc.) and will cover all of campus before the currently scheduled employee return to campus on Monday, March 30, with on campus classes currently scheduled to resume on Wednesday April 1. 

    By Monday, March 16, bathrooms in the following buildings will have been power-washed and fogged with an electrostatic disinfectant: Porter, Marshall, Halle, Quirk, Pray-Harrold, Mark Jefferson, Strong, Sherzer, Hover, Briggs, Student Center, Rec/IM, Bowen and Alexander.

    Public spaces that are used daily, such as Halle Library, the Rec/IM and the Student Center, will continue to receive daily cleaning and disinfecting.

    The University has expanded its purchase of disinfectant wipes to distribute across campus. The demand for wipes locally and nationally is great and we are working to purchase and distribute as many as we can obtain.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry

    The University recognizes the importance and need for Swoop’s Food Pantry. Given the challenging circumstances with employment both on campus and off, the need for a resource such as Swoop’s is likely more important today than it was a week ago. We are currently reviewing plans to resume some level of operations next week. We will advise you when the plan is in place.

    MOVING FORWARD

    My most important request of everyone as we enter the weekend is to continue to practice prevention. Practice social distancing. Employees should work remotely if and when you can (and if you are not a designated employee). Wash hands thoroughly and frequently. Sanitize and disinfect. Avoid contact with people who are sick.

    The Washtenaw County Health Department has published a full set of prevention measures.

    Monday’s launch of fully online classes will be challenging, but I know we are capable of meeting that challenge. As I said earlier, these are uncharted waters – not only for us but for our university colleagues across the country.

    We communicated previously our intention to resume on campus classes on Wednesday, April 1, with employees returning on Monday, March 30. We are closely following the changing situation, including guidance from the Governor’s office and public health officials in this regard. These dates may be modified as we indicated from the outset. We will update you further next week.

    I appreciate your patience, support and understanding as we move forward through these unprecedented days that test our creativity and resilience. Please continue to monitor Eastern's COVID-19 website and your campus email for further updates

    Sincerely,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thur, March 12, 2020

    COVID-19 Update, March 12, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community: 

    Our teams are working swiftly and with great precision to prepare our campus community for the launch of a nearly fully virtual/online course schedule beginning on Monday, March 16, as was noted in yesterday’s announcement. 

    FOR STUDENTS 

    Canvas 

    Earlier this morning, students were sent an email about newly created course shells in Canvas for those courses that were not using Canvas previously.

    Your instructor will communicate with you soon, if they haven't already, about how they intend to modify their course plan. Plan on checking your email and Canvas (if appropriate) at least daily for messages from your instructor or the University about staying connected with your courses.

    If you're new to Canvas, review our EMU Student Canvas Guide. If you're having technical problems with Canvas, call the 24/7 Canvas Help Desk at (844) 326-6322. Click on the Help icon in the lower left-hand menu for other Canvas resources, including Help Desk Chat.

    Residence halls

    Most students living in residence halls have chosen to return to their permanent place of residence for the next two weeks due to public health recommendations for social distancing.

    As noted yesterday, on campus, in person classes are suspended through March 31. This date is subject to change depending on new information and health updates.

    Public health experts are clear on this: staying apart from one another is one of the most significant actions one can take to avoid COVID-19. 

    We understand that international students, students living out of state and others may not be able to return to their permanent place of residence. For that reason, limited residence hall and dining are available for those students.

    Students who stay on campus must register online by Saturday, March 14, so the University can appropriately prepare and staff residence halls and dining facilities.

    FOR EMPLOYEES

    As discussed in yesterday’s announcement, all EMU employees who have not been otherwise informed or designated by their supervisor will be expected to work remotely as of Monday, March 16. Accordingly, EMU employees need to prepare to work remotely. A step-by-step guide has been developed to assist employees in this effort: Preparing to work remotely.

    As of today, EMU employees are expected to return and work on campus on Monday, March 30, 2020. However, the COVID-19 situation is evolving daily so EMU continues to evaluate this timeline. University email is the official form of communication for all EMU employees – so all EMU employees are expected to monitor it for updates.

    All instructional personnel should continue to communicate with their department and monitor emails from the Office of the Provost for updates related to the delivery of online classes and instruction.

    CANCELLATIONS 

    We continue to receive many questions about cancellations. As announced yesterday, all University events have been cancelled through March 31. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution. Governor Whitmer’s recommendation is that any gatherings of more than 100 people should be cancelled. We determined it was important for the health and well being of our community that we go above and beyond that recommendation.

    This decision has unfortunate consequences of which we are aware. For example, the 40th Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 27, one of Eastern’s signature events, has been canceled. We are assessing whether it can be rescheduled for a later date, but as you know the environment as it relates to COVID-19 remains fluid. We understand and share in the disappointment of participating students and faculty. We understand many students have questions – including honors and LBC6 credits for graduating. We are working to get answers as quickly as possible.

    A partial list of other campus cancellations include:

    Thursday, March 12

    • Celebration of Black Women

    Saturday, March 14

    • Colors in Harmony Performance
    • Fast Track Orientation

    Monday, March 16

    • Women’s Resource Center Student Parent Resource Fair

    Thursday, March 19

    • WEMU Spring Fundraiser (postponed, new dates TBD)
    • Third Annual Creative Faculty Showcase
    • The George Liepa Sigma XI Speaker Series 2020
    • Latinx Student Association’s Fifth Annual Quinceanera Celebration

    Friday, March 20

    • EMU Orchestra Festival
    • The Graduate Research Conference

    Tuesday, March 24

    • Student Gold Medallion Awards

    Wednesday, March 25

    • Distinguished Contributions Award Ceremony

    Thursday, March 26

    • Get Your Vitamin 5K! Run/Walk 

    Friday, March 27

    • 40thAnnual Undergraduate Symposium

    Saturday, March 28

    • Performance of “Tartuffe” at Sponberg Theatre (also Sunday, March 29) 

    Spring sports: Discussions are currently underway with the Mid-American Conference regarding the cancellation of spring sports and action is expected by tomorrow.

    SCHEDULES

    Halle Library: Closed, will reopen Monday, March 16.

    Dining: Open, visit dining website

    Rec/IM: Open, Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. See REC/IM calendar for next week.

    PREVENTION

    The most important thing any of us can do at this time is to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. I strongly encourage everyone – students, faculty, staff as well as all administrators -- to follow these guidelines to their fullest extent.

    Please review this comprehensive list of prevention measures compiled by the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to call their health provider, the IHA Health Center @ EMU, or the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Health officials request that anyone experiencing symptoms call in advance to advise them of the reason for the visit.

    QUESTIONS

    We understand this is a fluid situation and many of you have questions. We are working hard to address these as quickly as we can.

    If you don’t hear back from us, it is not because we are ignoring you. We are working through these questions, some which may take longer than others.

    In the immediate term, please do not call the Department of Public Safety with any non-emergency related matters. Student questions should be directed to the Dean of Students at [email protected]. Faculty questions should be directed to the Provost’s Office at [email protected]. Staff should contact their supervisors.

    GOING FORWARD

    We continue to pay close attention to changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and are in regular contact with the Washtenaw County Health Department. We will advise when there are further updates. Our plans for events in April and May continue as scheduled for the time being, including Commencement on Saturday, April 25. However, as noted several times in this email and in previous messages, the situation remains fluid and subject to change.

    Please continue to monitor your University email and visit our COVID-19 website for ongoing updates, as well as resources that are helpful during these challenging times.

    I appreciate your patience and understanding as we, along with the rest of the world, adjust to this “new normal.”

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thur, March 12, 2020

    EMU Athletics Suspends Activities, March 12, 2020

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    Statement from EMU Athletics: The single-most important priority of the Eastern Michigan University Athletic Department has been and continues to be the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, and personnel.

    After consultation with officials from the Mid-American Conference, public health and medical professionals, and university administration, and in compliance with the NCAA and MAC's decision to cancel its winter and spring championships for the 2020 season, the EMU Department of Athletics has suspended all athletic activity. This includes practice and voluntary workouts until the University resumes normally scheduled operations.

    Teams that are currently traveling for away competition have been instructed to forgo scheduled activities and return home immediately. This decision was not easy, but undoubtedly serves the best interest of the department and its student-athletes.

    Eastern Michigan University and EMU Athletics will convey additional information, when available, via its social media channels and EMUEagles.com.

    Statement from EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee:
    "Eastern Michigan Athletics fully supports all measures to protect the health and welfare of the EMU family and beyond during this unprecedented time. This decision was not easy, but undoubtedly serves the best interest of the department and its student-athletes."

  • Wed, March 11, 2020

    New Actions Regarding COVID-19 Response, March 11, 2020

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today we made several important decisions regarding University operations in light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 (new coronavirus) and Governor Whitmer’s declaration of a state of emergency in the State of Michigan. There remain no known cases at this time of COVID-19 on our campus or among the Eastern Michigan University community.

    Out of an abundance of caution, we are announcing the following actions:

    Classes and instruction

    • Effective tomorrow, March 12, we are suspending face-to-face instruction in lectures, seminars and other similar classroom settings. The suspension of on campus/in person classes will last through Tuesday, March 31 -- with on campus/in person classes tentatively set to resume on April 1. This decision and timing will be reevaluated on an ongoing basis and may be modified as more information becomes available.

    • Current classes that are presented in an online format will continue as scheduled.

    • The University is working to move on-campus classes to a virtual/online instruction format. On Monday, March 16, the University will transition classes to a virtual/online format. Instructors will contact their students with the online class plan.

    • We are working with faculty and staff who conduct performance and laboratory classes to determine the best approach for those classes, and will provide further guidance next week. This is an evolving process and I ask for your patience as we work through these items. 

    • Halle Library will remain open with reduced hours beginning on Monday.

     

    Residence halls

    • While completing classes virtually, students are encouraged to return to their permanent place of residence due to public health recommendations for social distancing. 

    • For students who choose to continue living on campus or are not able to return home, the University’s residence halls and dining facilities will remain open. Students who stay on campus must register online by Saturday, March 14, so the University can appropriately prepare and staff residence halls and dining facilities.

    • We urge all students to make the choice that is best for their own personal situations.

    • Everyone is encouraged to practice appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures, as we have previously shared in our campus communications.  

     

    Employees

    • Certain designated personnel, as notified by their supervisors, may be required to work in the period between Thursday, March 12 and Sunday, March 15. All other employees should plan not to work and remain at home Thursday through Sunday to allow for greater attention to campus-wide cleaning initiatives and transition to online instruction. 

    • As of Monday, March 16, all employees, other than certain designated personnel notified by their supervisors, will be expected to work remotely through Sunday, March 29 and return to work on Monday, March 30, 2020. Employees can return to campus to retrieve computers and necessary materials on Monday, March 16.

     

    Events

    • Governor Whitmer today announced recommendations to cancel large events or gatherings of people.

    • Following that recommendation, all University events are canceled through the end of March. This includes tomorrow's (March 12) ribbon cutting for the new Campus Wellness Center and weekend events.

    • We have suspended scheduling any new events for the immediate future. Of course, we will continue to reassess this decision as the situation unfolds.

     

    Travel

    • All University-related travel to international destinations is now suspended. This is a change to our previous announcement suspending only travel to countries with Level Three and Level Four travel advisories.

    • All non-essential University travel to domestic locations is also suspended. Any domestic travel requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Office of the Provost and the CFO.

     

    Prevention

    As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control recommends practicing these good prevention strategies:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

     

    Next steps

    I understand many of you will have questions about these actions and decisions. We are not going to have an answer right away for all questions, but you can be assured we are working through these issues as quickly as we can.

    Every step we take and decision we make is focused on this overarching priority: protecting the health and safety of our campus community and guests to our campus.  

    The decision to move to online instruction was made with great consideration. The objective is to minimize gatherings of large groups and avoid extended time in close proximity with one another in classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of local, state and federal health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

    There is no question that moving to online delivery of a broad array of classes and programs is a challenging undertaking. Our teams have been preparing for this possibility and we have confidence we will be ready to expand our online offerings on Monday, March 16, as noted above. That doesn’t mean all will be smooth sailing. This is a complex process -- changes and modifications to these plans as likely as we proceed. Your understanding and cooperation as we work through these matters is greatly appreciated.  

    We continue to be in very close and regular contact with public health officials at the County and State, and are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control guidance on the evolving situation. We will reevaluate our actions on an ongoing basis and share updates or modifications as more information becomes available. 

    Finally, I want to thank our deans and faculty leadership for their guidance and involvement, as well as all of our faculty, staff and students. These campus leaders are often at the forefront, hearing the concerns of our colleagues and fellow students, and we appreciate that they continue to bring these concerns forward so that any issues can be appropriately addressed. 

    The COVID-19 situation is evolving daily. This is a difficult time for us all and for many around the world, but we will work together and get through it. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts, as well as those students, faculty and staff who may have loved ones in states or nations where the outbreak is more severe. 

    University email is the official form of communication with students, faculty and staff – and you are expected to monitor it for updates. Please continue to check the Eastern Michigan University Coronavirus website for further information.  

    Respectfully,

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue, March 10, 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 10, 2020

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    11:15 p.m.

    We learned late tonight that State officials have identified the first cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Michigan. Our understanding is that there are two cases, neither case is in Washtenaw County, the patients are under medical care, and that the State is completing the re-tracing process to assess how these individuals were infected. There is no indication that either of these cases have any connection to EMU's campus.

    As we have shared in communications on this topic, the University has been constantly monitoring this situation, closely following guidance from the CDC, and is in regular contact with our public health and medical partners. This situation has been, and will continue to be, fluid. We understand, however, that it creates significant concern for many members of our community.

    We have developed a variety of plans based on different scenarios. Please understand that some decisions about next steps may need to be made quickly. If that occurs, we will notify all campus partners as quickly as possible. We appreciate your cooperation as we navigate this rapidly-evolving situation.  

    We expect to announce some changes tomorrow regarding the ability of instructors to voluntarily teach their classes remotely. Also, as a reminder, we have undertaken a variety of enhanced cleaning procedures across campus in an effort to ensure the health and safety of the campus community. These measures include: enhanced cleaning of touch points (e.g., light switches, door handles) in common areas; enhanced power-washing and/or electrostatic disinfectant spray in public restrooms; increased frequency of cleaning of shared restrooms in residence halls with shared restrooms; and enhanced access to hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. We have additional steps we intend to take that we will announce and implement as soon as possible.

    Again, we will keep you informed as much and as quickly as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and patience.

    Jim Smith, President

  • Mon, March 9, 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 9, 2020

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    There remain no known cases of Coronavirus among Eastern Michigan University students, faculty or staff.

    All University operations continue as normal and all classes and events are taking place as scheduled.

    There are no reported cases in Michigan.

    The University continues to monitor all updated CDC guidance and is working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and state health officials.

    The University continues work to inform the campus community about precautionary measures that everyone can take. Several hundred posters and flyers have been distributed across campus:

    March 5 - Share facts about COVID-19 (CDC) [PDF]

    March 9 - Do you know how to wash your hands? (Washtenaw County Health Department) [PDF]

  • Fri, March 6, 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 6, 2020

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    There are no known cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) among Eastern Michigan University students, instructors or staff.

    All University operations continue as normal and all classes and events are taking place as scheduled.

    Out of an abundance of caution, and following County, State and Federal guidance, a group of students and instructors who attended a study abroad trip to Italy over Winter Break have been instructed to self-quarantine.

    This means they remove themselves from contact with others while they monitor for any signs of the illness.

    These students have returned to their homes and are not on campus during the self-quarantine period.

    As long as they continue to show no symptoms of the illness, they will be allowed to return to campus and resume normal campus activities on Sunday, March 15.

    As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control recommends practicing these good prevention strategies:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

     

    As we have noted previously, information and guidance regarding the spread of Coronavirus is changing daily. Eastern Michigan will continue to provide ongoing updates as necessary. The University has prepared a website dedicated to our Coronavirus communications and resources, which will continue to be updated. It provides helpful resources about the virus, government travel advisories, and information from the Washtenaw County Health Department.

  • Wed, March 4, 2020

    Coronavirus Update - March 4, 2020

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    Students, faculty and staff:

    Today the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance for people who visited countries designated as Level Three due to Coronavirus. Under the new guidance, individuals returning from Level Three countries, even if showing no symptoms of the illness, are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from that country. For Eastern Michigan University, this change is relevant to our students and instructors who recently returned from Italy. The earlier guidance was to self-monitor and resume normal activities as long as an individual was without symptoms. Today the guidance for those same individuals is to self-quarantine. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, instructors and students returning from Italy must now self-quarantine for 14 days after their return from the country. Eastern will follow this directive with regard to any other trip -- all members of our University community returning from a country designated as Level Three or higher due to the Coronavirus must self-quarantine for 14 days after their return.

    According to the CDC: "Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease." The students and instructors returning from Italy are being notified of this change today and can return to campus on Sunday, March 15 as long as they show no symptoms of the illness.

    As we have indicated from the outset, information and guidance surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus is fluid and is changing rapidly. In some cases, such as this, CDC guidance changes overnight. Our team continues to be in close contact with the Washtenaw County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and we are closely monitoring all available federal, state and local information and updates regarding Coronavirus.

    As a reminder, there are no reported cases at Eastern or in Michigan at this time. We are taking these precautions to ensure the continued health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. Normal University operations continue, and there are no current plans to cancel main campus classes.

    The University remains committed to sharing information with our campus community in a timely way to ensure the safety and well being of everyone on our campus and community. Further information and resources can be found at Eastern's Coronavirus information website.

    The CDC's Travel Health Notices are posted on its website.

    The Eastern Michigan team monitoring this ongoing and evolving situation includes the Office of the President, the Provost's office, the Dean of Students, and Academic Programs Abroad, among others. The University will continue to closely follow all advisories and guidance and advise the campus community as necessary.

  • Mon, March 2, 2020

    Coronavirus Update - March 2, 2020 - from President Smith

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    Students, faculty and staff:

    Since my initial message to campus regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Jan. 31, University leadership has been closely monitoring the spread of the virus and the additional travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department. Primary teams involved in this process include the Office of the President, the Provost’s office, the Dean of Students, and Academic Programs Abroad, among others.

    We continue to proactively monitor the situation and are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Department of State, and the Washtenaw County Health Department. The University community will be notified if there is any immediate health threat.

    There are no reported cases at Eastern or in Michigan at this time. We are taking multiple precautions to ensure the continued health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. Normal University operations continue, and there are no current plans to cancel main campus classes. The University is committed to sharing important updates to keep students, faculty and staff safe and informed. Information and resources can be found at our Coronavirus information website.

    Travel restrictions

    Pursuant to existing practice, the University is suspending all University sanctioned travel to countries that have level three or level four travel advisories as reported by the U.S. State Department. The list is updated regularly on the State Department Travel Advisory website.

    Following careful review of guidance from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), and out of an abundance of caution, the University is implementing the following updates to travel restrictions:

        • All future University-affiliated travel to China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran is suspended, effective immediately.
        • The University strongly recommends that all students, faculty and staff avoid all personal travel to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea.
        • Any member of the University community who travels to or from China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea is required to self-identify prior to returning to campus and must self-monitor for 14 days. Students, faculty and staff returning from these countries must contact the Dean of Students office at [email protected]. The University needs a single point of contact with county, state and federal agencies to coordinate and track information on behalf of the Provost’s office.
        • Public health advisories and health precautions can change with little notice. Current guidance is country-specific. Students, faculty and staff returning from Italy who are symptom free must self-monitor but can attend class. Students, faculty and staff who exhibit any of the symptoms described below should not attend class and observe government guidance regarding self-quarantine, along with notifying the Dean of Students.
        • Students, faculty and staff returning from South Korea must self-quarantine for 14 days per CDC guidance.
        • If after reviewing health-related guidelines, any instructor who needs to consult about accommodations should email the Provost’s office for further guidance at [email protected].

     


    In addition to these travel restrictions and previously announced actions, the University is implementing the following measures:

    • Study abroad programs in China, Italy and South Korea, scheduled to begin later this semester through the end of summer, have been suspended, effective immediately.
    • The University is communicating directly with students who are currently out of the country on study abroad programs to ensure their safe return to the U.S. and to minimize disruption to their academic studies.
    • The Study Abroad office continues to work directly with students enrolled in global academic programs. Study abroad students who have questions should email [email protected] edu.


    Coronavirus symptoms

    As a reminder, relevant signs of the virus include a cough, fever greater than 100.4 degrees and shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should stay away from campus and contact their medical provider or the IHA Health Center @ EMU at 734.896.4110 to speak to medical personnel who can assess and guide next steps. In addition, they should notify the Dean of Students at [email protected].

    General advisories for student, faculty and staff travelers

    • Anyone planning international travel should check the status of COVID-19 alerts and precautions at all destinations, including layovers, and continue to do so until their return to the U.S.
    • Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings; countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return to campus.
    • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region.
    • Additional quarantine measures may be applied by the U.S. and other countries.
    • Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted – some areas are posting a 14-day self-isolation requirement.


    Safeguards regarding the spread of Coronavirus

    Person-to-person spread of the Coronavirus in the United States has been detected. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Practice these good prevention strategies: 

    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have soap and water.
    • Cover coughs with your elbow and sleeve.
    • Stay away from others if you or they are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.


    The Washtenaw County Health Department has prepared background information and frequently asked questions [PDF] to better inform the public about Coronavirus. In addition, the health information office at UC Davis produced a helpful video about Coronavirus.

    A reminder: anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their health provider or the IHA Health Center @ EMU at 734.896.4110 to speak to medical personnel who can assess and guide your next steps.

    University encourages use of sanitizers, disinfectant wipes

    Effective immediately, the University has approved the use of p-cards for the purchase of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes to use in classrooms, offices and other public spaces, and encourages all employees to use them daily to wipe down frequently touched surfaces such as door and drawer handles.

    We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and provide further updates as warranted.

    Jim Smith

  • Tue, Feb 4, 2020

    A message for you from EMU Dean of Students and OISS about the coronavirus outbreak

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    Dear International Students from China,

    Last Friday, you received an email from EMU President Smith about the recent Novel Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. We want to reinforce to you that the University is closely monitoring this outbreak and is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Health officials and administrators throughout the University will continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department to prepare for, screen and prevent the spread of illness. As this situation continues to develop, we will provide updates and information to help you stay healthy.

    We wanted to reassure you that Eastern Michigan University has systems in place to monitor, identify and respond swiftly to any potential case of coronavirus. For now, it is important to know when and how to access care:

    • If you have traveled from China or a surrounding Asian country — or have been in contact with someone who has — within the past 14 days and you subsequently develop a cough, fever greater than 100.4 degrees and shortness of breath, you will need to seek medical attention.
    • Call the IHA Health Center @ EMU at 734.896.4110 to speak to medical personnel who can assess and guide your next steps.

    Because we are also at the height of the influenza season, here are some tips to decrease your risk of contracting influenza of which we are seeing many active cases:

    • Get vaccinated against influenza! It is not too late. As in other years, the coverage is not 100 percent effective, but it can reduce symptoms for those who do become infected and decrease the risk of severe complications. Your flu shot is covered by the EMU Student Insurance policy.
    • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or more with soapy water and don’t touch your face.
    • If you are sick, do not go to classes, cover your cough and seek help, especially with severe symptoms or if you are at high risk for complications due to such conditions as asthma or diabetes.
    • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
    • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
    • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

    We recognize that many of our students and employees are natives of China and/or have family and friends in the country and may be concerned about their well-being. Please know that the University community supports and cares about you, and we send our best wishes for the health of your loved ones.

    Two offices on campus, in particular, can serve as helpful resources should you find yourself in need of support. You may call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 734.487.1118 if you would like to speak to a counselor. For other assistance, consider talking with a staff member at the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) at 734.487.3116 or by stopping in the Office at 240 Student Center.

    Sincerely,

    Ellen Gold
    Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

    Esther Gunel
    Director of the Office for International Students and Scholars   

  • Fri, Jan 31, 2020

    Coronavirus update

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    To students, faculty and staff:

    The University’s leadership team continues to closely monitor escalating global developments regarding the Coronavirus.

    Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it has classified Coronavirus as a global health emergency and the U.S. State Department elevated its China travel advisory to its highest-level warning, Level 4, which recommends a “Do Not Travel” to China due to the illness.

    The Eastern Michigan University health and wellness team, under the direction of Dean of Students Ellen Gold, is involved in ongoing dialogue with state and local public health officials, primarily the Washtenaw County Health Department.

    It is important to note that no suspected cases of Coronavirus have been reported on our campus or among any of our students, faculty or staff. No cases have been confirmed in Washtenaw County or in the state of Michigan.

    Given the heightened warnings from the WHO and the State Department, we have taken important steps to ensure the safety and well being of our community:

    • Student programs with planned travel to China through the end of summer are being assessed, with the possibility of being redirected.
    • All university-related and university-sponsored travel to China is being suspended for the next two months and will be evaluated on a rolling basis to account for changing developments in the course of the emergency.

    Our utmost priority is the health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff, as well as our neighbors in the greater Ypsilanti and Washtenaw communities. This priority will guide our actions in response to this health emergency in the days and weeks ahead.

    The Washtenaw County Health Department also reminds us that Coronavirus is a travel-related illness, and not an illness associated with contact with Chinese or Asian community members. The Health Department states, “Let’s fight this public health concern with compassion and science, not fear and discrimination.”

    The Washtenaw County Health Department has prepared background information and Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] to better inform the public about Coronavirus.

    We will provide further updates as necessary.

    Sincerely,

    James M. Smith, Ph.D.
    President