The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH), in cooperation with Ottawa County and Grand Valley State University, has issued a "Staying in Place" order for GVSU students living and studying in Allendale Township to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The two-week order started September 17 and lasts through October 1. 

The order directs students in Allendale Township to remain in their on-campus or off-campus housing except to attend class, utilize food services, obtain groceries or medicine and medical care, for worship and religious practices, intercollegiate medically supervised athletic practices, or for employment. 

Staying in Place required actions:

  • All GVSU students attending classes at the Allendale Campus will be required to wear a mask at all times, indoors and outdoors, if in public both on and off-campus. 
  • In-person gatherings with non-household members are strictly prohibited for the duration of this order. Under no circumstances are visitors permitted in on- or off-campus housing for the duration of the order. 
  • Students will be allowed to leave their room/residence for purposes of physical activity in groups of no more than two with strict adherence to preventive measures. 
  • Students can attend in-person classes, including labs and physical education classes with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Students can leave their room or residence to pick up food and other basic needs, go to medical appointments, pick up medication, attend religious practice activities or obtain COVID-19 testing with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Students can attend work with the approval of the employer if the work is essential and cannot be done remotely with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Students can have clinical rotations, student teaching or other off-campus experiential learning assignments to continue only with approval from the college dean and disclosure to the organization of placement and renewed approval by that organization with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • The Order is limited to Allendale Township both in terms of GVSU students who reside within it or those GVSU students who are non-residents and travel to be on the Allendale campus for the duration they are in the township. Once a non-resident GVSU student exits Allendale Township, the Order does not apply.

Stay in Place Order FAQ

During the first two weeks of the semester, GVSU experienced a significant number of positive COVID cases, despite stringent COVID-19 distancing, mitigation and testing protocols in classrooms and throughout campus.  As of September 14, 2020, there were 2,934 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in all of Ottawa County since March, and over 600 of those cases have been GVSU students in Allendale since mid-August.  The majority of cases appear to be driven by congregate living and congregate gathering.  The Ottawa County Department of Public Health has determined that the impact of the increased numbers of Grand Valley State University related cases in Allendale may adversely impact other services in the County including the Ottawa County Court system and K-12 education.  These determinations demonstrate an imminent public health threat to the citizens of Ottawa County.  Therefore the Ottawa County Department of Public Health published its “stay in place” order on September 16.

As of September 16, GVSU has moved to Level 3: High Alert. Operational changes are being implemented, including those reflected in the order from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. We will look for improvement in our indicators in order to move back to Level 2.

On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, GVSU moved its COVID Alert Level from 2 (Moderate) to 3 (High Alert).  The definitions of our alert levels include “Key Operational Guidance”.  The following is a brief description of how the University is implementing this guidance.

Prevalence of the virus has increased to a high level, and operations must be further limited

The prevalence of the virus is mostly off campus, with nearly 400 GV students who live near campus in Allendale testing positive in the first two weeks of the semester, a high rate of infection, particularly compared to the rest of Ottawa county.  Limiting social gatherings of our students is the focus of the order from the health department.

Expanded remote learning and administrative functions in impacted areas; Consider university-wide remote learning for two weeks

The primary impacted area has been housing off-campus, so it is not necessary to reduce in-person learning or administrative functions on the Allendale campus.  Expanded remote learning for two weeks has been considered, but face-to-face learning is not the main spread vector.  The county health order reflects the target approach to controlling the spread – further limiting social gatherings off campus.  Considerable remote work is already in place.

Significantly reduce campus activities and events; limit dining services to grab-and-go

Campus activities and events were already limited and the county health order should further reduce those opportunities for gatherings.  Grab-and-go and prepared meals were already in place.  We are making adjustments to further limit sit down dining availability in dining areas and further consolidating dining services.

Suspend inter-campus visitors to residence halls and limit access to some campus facilities

The county order indicates that “In-person gathering with non-household members is strictly

prohibited for the duration of this order. Under no circumstance are visitors permitted in on- or off-campus housing for the duration of this order.”  Some public-facing campus facilities in Allendale have new restrictions (e.g. the library, the recreation center), although are still available.

Advise campus to begin twice-daily health checks; heightened cleaning and PPE efforts

At this point, efforts are increasing to have members of the GV community complete the daily self-assessment once a day.  Cleaning efforts on campus were already at a high level.  Face covering requirements for being outdoor have been strengthened through the county order.

Daily consultation with county public health officials and infectious disease specialists on other mitigation measures needed

While in Level 2, Ottawa County public health officials met with members of the Virus Action Team once or twice a week.  With the move to Level 3, the meetings are now scheduled weekdays at 8AM.  Both Ottawa County and the VAT are regularly consulting with infectious disease specialists.

Widespread randomized testing and contact tracing conducted

GVSU is continuing its high-volume testing program, with a twin emphasis on randomized testing (2000 invites per week) and selected testing of various populations.  For the latter, we have initiated new testing of students in off-campus apartment complexes.  A key point to improve contract tracing procedures was communicated by the Ottawa County order: “Students are required to respond to inquiries (texts, emails or calls) from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health and are required to fully disclose information relevant to case investigation and contact tracing. For a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, this required information includes the anonymous disclosure of the contact information for their close contacts.”

No.  As stated in the description of Level 3:  "Consider university-wide remote learning for two weeks."  To move to remote learning was considered by the administration and was discussed at the Executive Committee of the Senate on September 4.  It was decided that, because of the nature of the order from Ottawa County, that our current modes of teaching and learning would continue.

Our classrooms remain safe, as our risk mitigation efforts to date -- face coverings, social distancing, cleaning -- have been effective. Continuing with our current course offering modalities (face-to-face, hybrid, online) will minimize disruption to students and their learning.

Based on the order, “all GVSU students attending classes at the Allendale Campus will be required to wear a mask at all times if in public both on and off-campus”. GVSU’s Face Covering Policy provides that a face covering is not required when “outdoors when social distancing is possible”. Ottawa County’s order has precedence; therefore, face coverings are required at all times if in public both on and off-campus.

No, permission is not required to leave your place of residence for the following reasons: 1.) Students will be allowed to leave their room/residence for the purpose of picking up food and other basic needs, medical appointments, to pick up medication, to attend religious practice activities, to obtain COVID-19 testing; and 2.) Students will be allowed to attend work with the approval of the employer if the work is essential and cannot be done remotely. Strict adherence to preventative measures is required. For a full list of exceptions, please see the order.

The library will be available to use the resources there and for individual study. No gatherings or group activities are allowed. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required, including the wearing of face coverings in the library at all times. For up-to-date hours, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/library/

Yes, the computer labs, set up with social distancing, are still available. Wifi is available in the library. No gatherings or group activities are allowed. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required, including the wearing of face coverings at all times.

Yes. Gathering restrictions will be in place and hours may be shortened. For hours of operation, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/kirkhofcenter/  

Yes, with restrictions. For up-to-date hours, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/sportsfacilities/

According to the stay in place order, students are allowed to leave their room/residence for purposes of physical activity in groups of no more than two. Whether indoors or outdoors, face coverings must be worn and social distancing guidelines must be followed.

If you continue to work, but now in a “remote” mode, you will be paid. For additional student employment-related questions, visit the student employment page.

According to the stay in place order, students are allowed to leave their room/residence for the purpose of picking up food. On-campus, everything will be grab-and-go or takeout only. Seating areas will be closed. For up-to-date hours and locations, visit the campus dining site.

Students may ride the Laker Line for travel for attending classes, picking up food and other basic needs, medical appointments, picking up medication, attending religious practice activities, and obtaining COVID-19 testing.

The State of Michigan and Ottawa County determined that since opening, despite the extra efforts of the GVSU administration and faculty, there have been over 600 cases of COVID-19 confirmed cases among students at the GVSU Allendale campus testing site alone, with additional cases suspected in GVSU students and staff confirmed through other testing sites. It is this spike associated with GVSU students that made this order affect students only. It is important to remember and practice social distancing, wear a face covering over your nose and mouth, and wash your hands frequently.

The public health order from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health does not apply to GVSU students who do not live or take courses in Allendale. If students from outside Allendale are coming to the Allendale campus for classes, they must follow the requirements in the order.

The order is not directed at GVSU faculty and staff. However, it is expected that all will maintain GVSU’s strict risk mitigation protocols, and faculty and staff will support students to follow the directives in the order from Ottawa County.

It may not be possible to keep all the classes a student currently has and go fully online. Certain experiential (lab and other) classes are only face-to-face. If a class is an upper-level lab, so the student needs it to graduate, it may be that the faculty have determined that the student really needs the face-to-face component to meet expectations for someone with a degree in that field. If a student is in a 100-level lab class, they can still drop the class, and take it in another semester. For other types of classes, it is too late to switch to another section, with rare exceptions (for example, it might be possible if the same instructor is teaching online as well as your face-to-face section.) Students can drop a class until Sept 25 for a 75% refund. They can drop a class (no refund) until Nov 20. A student who wants to drop a class should consider whether they will still be considered a full-time student after dropping the class. If not, that may have implications for their financial aid.

Late adds are rare, but details about our late add process are also available.

Yes, it is important to continue the self-assessments as these provide information on the health of the campus community. You should use the self-assessment to inform the university if you develop symptoms, have an exposure or have a positive test. This will allow us to coordinate the services you may need.

Quarantine is an action directed by the health department following exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantine requires the person to remain in their place of residence, and avoid contact with others. The stay in place order allows students, who are not currently in quarantine, to attend classes, participate in experiential learning such as an internship, fieldwork or clinical placement if approved by the placement location, and work if approved by the employer.

Students who have tested positive (case) or who are identified as a close contact to a case are required to adhere to all public health isolation and quarantine restrictions as set forth by the OCDPH. The exceptions listed in this order do not apply to students or faculty that are under a public health order to quarantine or isolate.

 

No. As indicated in the order from Ottawa County, “All GVSU students living in on-campus housing, or living in off-campus housing in Allendale, Michigan will be required to ‘stay in place’ and remain in their current designated residence”

Due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the student population living on or near the GVSU campus in Allendale, the public health order from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health applies only to GVSU students who live on- and off-campus in Allendale.

If you live on campus, talk to your Residential Advisor (RA) or your Living Center Director (LCD). If you are not sure who they are, visit this housing site. If you live off-campus, you will want to speak with your complex manager or landlord. If you need additional support or resources, consider submitting a CARE referral.

The Public Health Officer of the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) made the stay in place order pursuant to the Michigan Public Health Code, including MCL §333.2235 and §333.2251. Control of the COVID-19 epidemic is necessary to protect the public health of the citizens of Ottawa County. View order here.

Yes, at any time you can apply for on-campus housing with GVSU. Applications available online here.  However, we have no temporary housing for those in isolation or quarantine currently living off-campus. For additional housing FAQs visit the housing page

Housing and Residence Life advises you to comply with the stay in place order to protect fellow Lakers, your loved ones, and our community. For additional housing-related questions, visit the Housing FAQ. 

You may return to campus or Allendale if you are currently traveling outside of Ottawa County. Once in Ottawa County, as indicated in the order, “all GVSU students living in on-campus housing, or living in off-campus housing in Allendale, Michigan will be required to “stay in place” and remain in their current designated residence.” 

As indicated in the order from Ottawa County, “All GVSU students living in on-campus housing, or living in off-campus housing in Allendale, Michigan will be required to ‘stay in place’ and remain in their current designated residence”. See the text of the order for more details.

No. GVSU students who live on campus or off-campus in Allendale are required to “stay in place” and remain in their current designated residence. Students may not return to their home address unless there is an emergency.

You may return to campus or Allendale if you are currently traveling outside of Ottawa County. Once in Ottawa County, as indicated by the order, “all GVSU students living in on-campus housing, or living in off-campus housing in Allendale, Michigan will be required to “stay in place” and remain in their current designated residence.” Students may not return to their home address unless for an emergency.

No. Students who cooperate with contact tracers and who have been identified as a result of the contact tracing process will not be subject to GVSU’s student conduct process. All GVSU students must fully cooperate with contact tracers working on behalf of local health departments. This includes responding to inquiries (texts, emails or calls) from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health and fully disclosing information relevant to case and contact investigation. For a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, this information includes the disclosure of the contact information for their close contacts. The GVSU Student Code requires adherence to state or local public health laws, regulations or governor’s executive orders, including but not limited to the requirements of maintaining appropriate social distancing (6 feet based on current public health guidance) and wearing appropriate face coverings. This applies to events that are organized and/or held on or off-campus. More information is available at https://www.gvsu.edu/osccr/

Failure to cooperate with Ottawa County Department of Public Health, may result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

As indicated in the order from Ottawa County, “Failure to adhere to this Order may lead to misdemeanor charges, fines or judicial follow up and according to the GVSU Administration, will be subject to GVSU student sanctions up to and including expulsion.”

When contacted by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, it is important to provide the names and phone numbers of those who you have had contact with. If you aren’t sure if the person meets the definition of a close contact, provide the contact information and describe the type of contact. The health department will determine if the person needs to quarantine. If you aren’t sure of names, it is helpful to provide the information you do know i.e. if it was a class, where you were sitting, or if you were at an event, the name and location of the event and the organizer. This information allows the health department to conduct contact tracing which is an important tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing identifies those who have been exposed to the virus, and who need to quarantine. Quarantine is critical because people are contagious two (2) days before they develop symptoms, or before they have a positive test if they do not have symptoms. When exposed individuals do not quarantine, they expose others and the virus continues to spread.

No. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health order prohibits in-person, non-academic activities — including volunteering — except as expressly allowed by the Order.