COVID-19 Campus Update: March 15, 2020

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. 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 e-mail or telephone as outlined below.

Inquiries regarding Financial Aid should be directed to Financial_Aid@emich.eduor 734-487-0455. 

Inquiries regarding Student Business Services should be directed to EBill@emich.eduor 734-487-3335.

Inquiries to the Office of the Registrar should be directed to Registrar@emich.edu

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:

Rec/IM

Halle Library

EMU Dining  

Student Center

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 counseling.services@emich.edu
 
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 EMU_DeanofStudents@emich.edu. 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 busfin_purchasing@emich.edu.

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 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.

March 15, 2020

Written by:
James Smith

Contact:
Geoff Larcom
glarcom@emich.edu
734-417-9658