With daily life in the United States shifting dramatically due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are resources available to help struggling students and families navigate these uncertain times.
On Wednesday, Eastern Michigan University announced that it was suspending all in-person classes and events until April 1, while transitioning to online classes in the meantime. All universities and colleges in Michigan have done the same, and on Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that all K-12 schools in the state will be closing until April 6.
EMU students that have been hit financially due to the outbreak and its consequences are encouraged to apply for funding from the Student Emergency Fund if they are struggling with food, rent, medical bills, or other expenses. Eligible students can get up to $750 in one-time assistance. To see more information on how to apply, visit the student government website.
According to an email sent to all EMU students by the Office of the President, a plan is being developed for Swoop’s Pantry to reopen next week to resume “some level of operations”. The university will announce when the plan is in place.
Ozone House will continue to serve meals from 4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. every weekday to those in need. They are located at 102 N Hamilton St in Ypsilanti. For more information visit their website.
Additionally, some private companies across the country are stepping in to offer assistance to those struggling with the consequences of the outbreak.
U-Haul is offering one free month of storage at any of its facilities around the country to any college student that shows their school ID. The goal is to help students that have been affected by the sudden recommendation to leave college campuses and return to permanent residences.
“We don’t know how every student is affected. But we know they are affected,” the company said in a statement. “More and more universities are giving instructions to leave campus and go home. Students and their parents are in need of moving and storage solutions. We have the expertise and network to help, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Go to uhaul.com/storage to find the nearest facility near you. There are 2 in Ypsilanti, one on Washtenaw Avenue, and one near Willow Run Airport, with another 2 facilities in Ann Arbor as well.
The company is also offering a Collegeboxes kit for free, which includes 5 standard-sized boxes which will be shipped to students for free. To sign up to receive a kit, go to collegeboxes.com.
The Federal Communications Commission has announced that phone and broadband providers have agreed to a pledge to postpone the termination of internet and phone services for 60 days. The move comes to help students and families adjusting to an online-only education and to help struggling families hit financially by the outbreak.
AT&T, Comcast, and Charter are among the companies that have agreed to the commitment.
Some companies are going further. AT&T, for example, said it would waive any fees for data overages for any customers that don’t currently have unlimited internet access. Comcast agreed to do the same, saying it is eliminating all data caps for 60 days. Charter is offering households with K-12 or college students free WiFi access for 60 days. Contact your internet provider for specific information on any discounts or changes in services.
If you know of any other resources available to EMU students or community members, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This article will be updated with additional information as it comes in.