It has now been over three weeks since Eastern Michigan University cancelled in-person classes due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic on March 12, 2020. Initially classes were cancelled through March 31, however in an email announcement on March 18, 2020, university president James Smith requested that online courses be extended until the end of the semester.
As of Friday, April 3, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Michigan has climbed to 12,744, with Washtenaw County contributing 477 cases to that number. In the county 8 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19, which is caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, otherwise known as SARS-CoV-2.
Since the initial outbreak of the disease in the state university president James Smith has been routinely sent notifications to student, staff, and faculty emails regarding the university’s response to the pandemic.
In an email received March 30, it was announced that the university was in collaboration with X2ai.com via the university’s psychology department. Research through the department now allows student access to the artificial intelligence program “Tess” which has been reprogrammed to address Coronavirus related anxiety. If students choose to participate in the research they can utilize the, “artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that is trained to deliver evidence-based emotional wellness and coping strategies”. The research led by Dr. Karen Saules and Krithika Prakash, allows access to the program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Research is open to all EMU student’s who are 18 years or older and have access to a device which can send and receive text messages.
In a similar regard EMU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has transitioned their operations to solely virtual methods. Students with appointments can now meet with a counselor over Zoom video calls or via phone calls. Students who have questions or need to speak with a counselor can email CAPS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (734)-487-1118. CAPS will also continue to offer after-hours phone support through its main phone number, this includes calls made after 5 pm and on weekends.
Campus Medical Pharmacy:
The university’s Campus Medical Pharmacy, located at the IHA (Integrated Health Associates Inc.) Health Center @ EMU (1065 N. Huron River Dr., Suite 100) has changed its hours of operation, effective Monday, April 6. Pharmacy hours have now changed to weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on weekends. The Campus Medical Pharmacy encourages patients to set up curbside pick-up of medications to limit exposure to others in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The IHA Health Center @ EMU has temporarily closed and moved its operations to its Towsley Park Primary Care location in Superior Township (5361 McAuley Dr., Ypsilanti) as well as its Arbor Park Primary Care location in Pittsfield Charter Township (4940 W Clark Rd, Suite 100, Ypsilanti). According to a separate university email, the health center closure is due to a recent surge in urgent care patient volume.
IHA is asking any of its patients who are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms to visit its COVID-19 resource page and to complete the free online COVID-19 screening. COVID-19 symptoms consist of fever and/or upper-respiratory illness, marked with shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tiredness, and a consistent dry cough. According to the World Health Organization, those who are at a higher risk from becoming seriously ill from the virus are elderly people and those with existing underlying conditions (asthma, diabetes, or heart disease among other conditions).
In order to stay updated regarding the pandemic in Michigan visit the official state of Michigan’s web page for more information on the coronavirus situation in Michigan: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.