Message to GVSU Community from President Mantella, March 17, 2020
To the Grand Valley campus community:
Over the past several weeks, the spread of the Covid-19 has required us to take numerous actions that I summarized in yesterday's message. Events of the past 24 hours now require additional steps to protect our community. Our highest priority remains everyone's health and safety. This will be challenging, but I know that our diligent faculty and staff will lead our students and the university we love to a successful outcome.
President Trump and Governor Whitmer have issued recommendations and executive orders that, together with our own operational decisions, necessitate adjustments in our previously announced plans. Please take careful note:
• Remote academic instruction for this semester will continue through April 25.
• Spring and Summer classes will start as scheduled May 4 and will begin with remote delivery. Registration for these classes began yesterday and I encourage those planning to enroll to do so soon while selections are widely available.
• April commencement ceremonies will be postponed. We will honor our Class of 2020 and will be in touch later with graduates about other options.
• Residence halls and living centers will close except for highly exceptional student needs. Move-out instructions can be found on the housing website. Food Services will adjust to this development.
• Faculty will continue to conduct remote learning and online delivery, supported by Grand Valley's talented professional staff who will assist in keeping the university operational.
• As of tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, staff members who can fulfill their responsibilities by working remotely are expected to do so. Please be in touch with your appointing officer for approval and to discuss an efficient move to this new deployment. We are particularly sensitive to the needs of our colleagues with school-age children who, because of widespread K-12 closures, are at home.
• Individuals already identified as essential employees should expect to continue to perform their work on campus, practicing social distancing and healthy practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Please consult with your appointing officer to determine if work schedules or shifts will be adjusted.
• Employees in other critical functions may be asked to support a limited physical presence on campus in order to continue to provide essential student support functions. Affected departments may change as circumstances evolve. Please consult with your appointing officer.
• Employees with unique circumstances, health risks, or other issues not addressed above are invited to discuss this with their appointing officer. We will do everything we can to accommodate.
The university's senior leadership, in consultation with the Incident Management Team, has reached these decisions because we believe them to be best for all concerned. We will need to work together to ensure that essential operations continue smoothly. We must also be ready to welcome our new freshman class in August, which undoubtedly means some adjustment to normal recruiting and orientation functions. Please assist us in this welcoming work whenever and wherever you can.
We have never before encountered such uncertainty and anxiety. Worry for our families and friends is entirely understandable; indeed, I share it. Know that I have your back. Do not hesitate to reach out directly to me. Take advantage of the counseling and other support services available through Human Resources. We will get through this together.
Philomena V. Mantella, President