Message to GVSU Community from President Mantella, March 13, 2020

Dear Grand Valley Campus Community,
 
We find ourselves in an unprecedented time, and I am mindful of the pressure it creates for each one of us.  I want to assure you that we are working continuously and responsibly for the safety of our community and with the best interest of our students, employees and visitors as our resolute focus. We are receiving continual direction from state public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. Our website www.gvsu.edu/coronavirus remains the best source for you to find Grand Valley specific information as well as public health directives.
 
Students 
I walked through campus the last few days and know that while many students have relocated, some will remain. We have a system in place for students who need to stay in university housing. If you are in need of assistance for housing, please call (616) 331-2120 immediately.
 
I have every confidence in the quality of instruction that is being converted to remote teaching and learning beginning Monday. The faculty and staff have shown their dedication to students once again by embracing the immediate task at hand so students get a quality experience, no matter how they access the materials and instruction. We all share an unrelenting commitment to student success as we finish this semester.
 
We have worked hard to increase support on our phone lines so all questions get answered promptly. We recognize systems and infrastructures are under immense pressure nationwide so please understand, we will address problems that arise as quickly as we identify them. If you have technical challenges, call (616) 331-2101. 
 
We will increase student communication as we convert to remote learning, so please be on the lookout for GVSU correspondence and check the website frequently. 
 
University employees
As you know education continues at GVSU although in the near term our learning crosses distance. Thus, business operations continue. I know this will cause challenges for some of our student employees, as well as our staff. We are here to support you and your well-being. If you face a challenge, we will work with you to provide options and flexibility in work schedules and locations. 
 
If you are showing signs of an illness or need to take care of ill family members, we understand your need to stay at home. We understand the closure of K-12 schools will impact many in our campus community with younger children, and we are committed to flexibility in where, how and what work gets done. Please consult with your direct supervisor regarding your individual circumstances and needs. We will support you in navigating any challenges. 
 
Human Resources is updating its website continually to give direction to employees and answer questions: https://www.gvsu.edu/hro/covid-19-human-resources-faq-1036.htm.
 
Campus environment
I want all our employees to have confidence in the cleanliness of our campuses. We have increased our already high standards in our buildings. While washing your hands remains the most effective means to combat the spread of any virus, the custodial staff and contractors have increased their focus on cleaning and disinfecting our spaces. They are paying special attention to door handles, restroom fixtures, desks, tables and all high-touch surfaces. Germicidal and virucidal disinfectants are being utilized in daily routines in all common locations. We need to thank them for their important work.
 
Future decisions
We have said we will conduct remote instruction through March 29. Many want to know when and if we will reopen classrooms. The decision to resume in-person classes will be based on clear signals that the spread of the COVID-19 virus has slowed. As we have all witnessed, events are unfolding rapidly. 
 
We are communicating using a variety of platforms. Please read these emails carefully, check the websites shared in this email, check our homepage for news items, follow Grand Valley on social media, and please reach out to supervisors and appointing officers if you have unanswered questions or special circumstances. If you still have questions, email coronavirus@gvsu.edu, and we will answer as quickly as possible. We also have a phoneline for other questions: (616) 331-INFO (331-4636).
 
It's inspiring to see faculty and staff putting students first and rising to this challenge. It is heartening to see the warmth and adaptability of our students as they strive to get the most from their Grand Valley experience. Please be flexible and give each other grace during this period. No one wishes for these trials, but when they arise, they define institutions. I remain grateful to all of you and grateful to be a Laker. 
 
Sincerely,
Philomena V. Mantella, President



Page last modified March 13, 2020