Eastern Michigan University has announced the “EMU Single Room Guarantee” for students living on campus in the fall semester to address concerns about physical distancing related to COVID-19.
The new plan under their #EMUSafe initiative for the fall semester reduces the annual cost of a single room by $1,700. Regularly, a single room would cost $7,770 annually ($7,230 in Hoyt and Pittman). However, under the new plan single rooms will cost $6,070 ($5,530 in Hoyt and Pittman).
“We have heard from many students and parents about this issue. They question how students can practice safe physical distancing when they have a roommate in close proximity to them in a residence hall room. We understand a single room may not be for everyone, but we also know and have heard from many who desire such accommodations at this time.” President Smith said in a statement.
Students who wish to have a roommate will continue to have that option at an annual cost of $5,270 ($4,730 in Hoyt and Pittman)
“We are fortunate to have the flexibility to offer single rooms to everyone who requests one,” said President Smith. “Due to our extensive and ongoing renovation of academic and residential facilities in recent years, we have residence halls that are used to accommodate the closing of a building -- utilizing the additional flex-space when needed for faculty and staff offices. In recent years, we have utilized the flex-space while we invested more than $90 million to renovate academic buildings across campus with state-of-the-art facilities. This space will now be utilized for additional rooms for students.” President Smith said in a statement.
For symptomatic or COVID-19 positive students, President Smith told the Echo that there will likely be a floor designated to those students. It is possible that a larger section will be designated but the plan is still under development. Students may also choose to return to their permanent residence if possible.
As for EMU’s Residence Life staff, President Smith said that Residential Advisors and housing staff will continue to have a “very strong presence.”
“I think you’ll see a little bit more focus on floor activities because lots of folks will be in singles. So there will be more floor activities, some more planning the programming by floor or by multiple floors, obviously keeping in mind social distancing and those kinds of things. And just so that people don’t become social isolates in a single room, we’ll-- and I know it’s already starting-- be very attentive to congregational-style activities,” President Smith said.
In the case of Wise Hall where bathrooms are communal, all residents will live in singles and an increased cleaning and disinfection process will be implemented. President Smith said the specific process is still under development.
“The folks that do that work are confident they will have a system that will be very clean and very compliant with all the requirements around the COVID-19 stipulations that they have to follow,” President Smith said.
On-campus operational procedures remain under development by EMU’s Public Health Work Group. This team is made up of EMU public health experts including an epidemiologist, nurses, an occupational therapist, as well as experts in facility cleaning and disinfection. The group will develop plans for on-campus activities in the interest of public health while following all state and federal guidelines.
Other considerations include adding more online classes, using larger spaces for classes to allow physical distancing, reducing the number of people on campus on any given day, providing safe dining options, extensive signage promoting physical distancing and safe hygiene practices, and providing face masks on-campus. Massive cleaning and disinfection of campus facilities that began in March will continue through this summer and fall.
“We want the very best thinking about how to bring people back and bring them back safely… we’re trying to look at every corner of campus and think about how best to bring people back; faculty, staff, and students,” President Smith said.
For more information on #EMUSafe and the “EMU Single Room Guarantee,” visit www.emich.edu/emu-safe.