COVID-19 Campus Update: March 17, 2020

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 studio@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.

March 17, 2020

Written by:
James Smith

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