Alert Level and Indicators

The Virus Action Team (VAT) will continuously monitor key local and regional health metrics ("indicators") to quickly detect changes in transmission of COVID-19, regionally and on our campuses.  A comprehensive view of the indicators will determine the University posture ("alert level"), which provides specific guidance for University operations.

The current alert level will be displayed here and on the GVSU COVID-19 Data Dashboard, which also gives a real-time view of the key indicators. The VAT will monitor the full suite of indicators and continuously consider whether a change in alert level is warranted based on the indicators.

For details see the information below:

and our Current Status of Indicators page

This guidance will be updated as needed.


Virus Action Team Pages

This page is maintained by GVSU's Virus Action Team (VAT). Navigate to the other VAT-administered pages using the buttons above. For questions, concerns, or to report a non-emergency health/safety issue, email us at virusactionteam@gvsu.edu.  For general questions contact the Lakers Together Call Center: (616) 331-INFO (4636). For personal health questions, call the 24/7 GVSU COVID Health Line (833) 734-0020.


Overview of monitoring and alert levels

The Virus Action Team will monitor key local and regional health metrics to quickly detect changes in transmission of COVID-19, regionally or on our campuses.  The team will monitor data daily so timely decisions regarding our response can be made..

GVSU realizes no single intervention will prevent the spread of COVID-19.  There is no one metric that would activate a change in GVSU’s operational response alert levels; rather, a full analytical view of both statewide and local indicators will signal that community wide transmission is increasing.  Our strategy is to implement multiple layers of best practices, each of which decreases risk.  When combined, these individual strategies are designed to effectively help protect our GVSU community and allow us to be in person and on campus as much as safely possible.  

GVSU recognizes there will be positive cases of COVID-19 within its community and has planned for subsequent needs of testing, contact tracing and the isolation and quarantining of students, faculty, and staff who have been exposed. A robust self-screening program coupled with our indicator monitoring infrastructure is critical. GVSU is prepared with the criteria and procedures to move quickly between alert levels if these COVID-19 indicators change within our local community.  These criteria and procedures will be monitored and updated as new information becomes available.  

Based on the charts below the Virus Action Team will regularly publish the current alert level and will constantly consider whether we need to change postures based on the indicators.

This guidance will be updated as needed.


Alert Levels: Descriptions and Operational Guidance

Alert Levels, Descriptions, and Key Operational Guidance

Level 1 - Low Level
Cases are rare and transmission controlled, but vigilance continues
Continue to check health and temperature daily, wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. High-risk individuals can request accommodations.
  • Prevalence of the virus is low, and GVSU can safely operate within current recommended guidelines and modified operations.
  • Classes are traditional, hybrid, or online, with no reduction of face-to-face instruction
  • Campus, dining and residential activities are available and adequate, with recommended modifications such as decreased density.
  • Gatherings are allowed per GVSU policies, CDC guidelines and state/local rules
  • Reduced density environment is adequate to lower risk of spread.
  • Rigorous cleaning following guidelines can be conducted adequately.
  • PPE protocols are implemented and are reasonable enough to be followed.
  • Small targeted responses/interventions utilizing current resources for individuals or groups are needed for support and mitigation.
Level 2 - Moderate Level
Moderate number of cases with most from a known source
Further limit exposing yourself and others to COVID-19 and continue all precautions
  • Prevalence of the virus is moderate, with impact on GVSU systems and resource, but support services, testing and contact tracing capacities are capable to allow continued operations
  • Implement remote instruction and work options in units/areas impacted as needed
  • Dining and residential activities are available and adequate; utilization of isolation and quarantine beds; limits on campus events
  • Continued cleaning and PPE efforts as described in Level 1
  • Utilize expanded randomized testing and contact tracing; Consult with county public health officials and infectious disease specialists on other mitigation measures needed
Level 3 - High Alert
Many cases, including community spread with some undetected cases
Limit everyday activities to increase safety.
  • Prevalence of the virus has increased to a high level, and operations must be further limited
  • Expanded remote learning and administrative functions in impacted areas; Consider university-wide remote learning for two weeks
  • Significantly reduce campus activities and events; limit dining services to grab-and-go
  • Suspend inter-campus visitors to residence halls and limit access to some campus facilities
  • Advise campus to begin twice-daily health checks; heightened cleaning and PPE efforts
  • Daily consultation with county public health officials and infectious disease specialists on other mitigation measures needed
  • Widespread randomized testing and contact tracing conducted
Level 4 - Very High Alert
Widespread uncontrolled outbreak with many undetected cases
Take strong measures to limit all contact.
  • Prevalence of the virus is very high, and GVSU resources to safely support its students, on campus and faculty and staff is not meeting demand.
  • Consider university-wide remote learning for rest of semester; special attention to clinicals/labs
  • Transition staff to work remotely with exception of essential staff in staggered shifts
  • Consider measures to reduce residence hall population; suspend campus activities rest of semester; limit dining operations
  • Building access restricted to only essential personnel and services
  • Implement university-wide testing
  • Activate Emergency Operations Center

Alert Levels: Indicators

Incidence & Prevalence

table title and/or explanatory text
Indicators Low Level Moderate High Alert Very High
7-Day average of new COVID-19 cases within GVSU (per 100K)* < 1 1-10 10-25 > 25
7-Day average % positivity rate within GVSU* <3% 3-10% 10-20% > 20%
Percent of students in isolation or quarantine <2% 2-2.9% 3-3.9% 4% or higher
7-Day average of new COVID-19 cases within Ottawa County (per 100K)* < 1 1-10 10-25 > 25
7-Day average of new COVID-19 cases within Kent County (per 100K)* < 1 1-10 10-25 > 25
7-Day average of new COVID-19 cases Grand Rapids region (per 100K)* < 1 1-10 10-25 > 25
7-Day average of new cases of COVID-19 in Michigan (per 100K)* < 1 1-10 10-25 > 25
7-Day average Ottawa County % positivity rates* <3% 3-10% 10-20% >20%
7-Day average Kent County % positivity rates* <3% 3-10% 10-20% >20%
7-Day average Michigan % positivity rates* <3% 3-10% 10-20% >20%

GVSU Clinics and Testing Capacity and Functioning

table title and/or explanatory text
Indicators Low Level Moderate High Alert Very High
Campus Health Center capacity Sufficient capacity and limited use Sufficient capacity Limited Capacity Capacity not supporting need
Family Health Center capacity Sufficient capacity and limited use Sufficient capacity Limited Capacity Capacity not supporting need
GVSU Testing Programs Functioning as expected Functioning as expected Testing program protocols adjusted due to need Testing program is stressed

Reserved Campus Quarantine / Isolation Capacity

table title and/or explanatory text
Indicators Low Level Moderate High Alert Very High
Available capacity of quarantine / isolation rooms (172 rooms held currently as of 8.19.20) Sufficient capacity and limited use Sufficient capacity Limited Capacity Capacity not supporting need

Executive Orders

table title and/or explanatory text
Indicators Low Level Moderate High Alert Very High
Do any government regulations affect our operations? State Phase 5 State Phase 4 State Phase 4 State Phase 3 of lower

Community Pulse

table title and/or explanatory text
Indicators Low Level Moderate High Alert Very High
Surveys to ascertain the level of Fear / Perception of community Calm Uncertainty Increased Anxiety/Concern Fear

IHE trends

table title and/or explanatory text
Indicators Low Level Moderate High Alert Very High
Incidence of cases at comparable institutions (IHE) Low Incidence Moderate Incidence High Incidence Very High Incidence

*Thresholds based on CovidActNow.

Note: The structure of these charts is based on similar documents from Elon University.

The Virus Action Team will also be tracking the sub-indicators connected to GVSU COVID-19 cases/exposures. 

  • Number of positive, active cases (isolation) or exposed (quarantine) in on-campus housing
  • Number of positive, active cases (isolation) or exposed (quarantine) in sorority or fraternity housing.
  • Number of positive, active cases (isolation) or exposed (quarantine) among dining staff.
  • Number of positive, active cases (isolation) or exposed (quarantine) among faculty and staff.

Additional information to be monitored includes:

  • All available testing data from different sources
  • External predictive models
  • Region 6 and Kent/Ottawa hospital, ventilator, and ICU bed capability/availability.