President James Smith announced that effective tomorrow, Mar. 12, all in-person classes will be suspended until Mar. 31. On Monday, Mar. 16, EMU will transition to an online format. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on-campus, though a patient at the University of Michigan Health System has been confirmed to have the virus.
The decisions were made in response to the spread of COVID-19 and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s declaration of a state of emergency.
Halle Library will have reduced hours starting on Monday, Mar. 16. As for performance-based and laboratory classes, President Smith stated in his announcement, “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.”
EMU residence and dining halls will also remain open, although, EMU encourages students to return to their permanent place of residence due to public health recommendations for social distancing. Students who choose to remain living on campus must register online by Saturday, Mar. 14.
President Smith’s email added, “We urge all students to make the choice [regarding residence halls] that is best for their own personal situations,” Smith continued. “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.”
Specific employees may be required to work between Thursday, Mar. 11 and Sunday, Mar. 15 as notified by their supervisors. All other employees should plan to remain at home and will be expected to work remotely and can return to campus to retrieve computers and other necessary materials on Monday, Mar. 15.
In response to Gov. Whitmer’s recommendations to cancel large events or gatherings of people, all University events are canceled through the end of March and scheduling of any new events has been suspended.
Additionally, all University-related international travel, as well as non-essential University-related domestic travel, has been suspended.
The prevention measures as outlined in the email were as follows.
“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.”
“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…. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of local, state and federal health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19… We will reevaluate our actions on an ongoing basis and share updates or modifications as more information becomes available,” concluded President Smith.
The Eastern Echo will continue to publish updates as we receive them.