The number of positive test results of COVID-19 in the Grand Valley community has shown a steady decline through October 1. This encouraging trend comes as the “Staying in Place” order issued by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m., October 1. To continue this trend, we have worked with OCDPH to seamlessly move from this order to a new “Staying Safe” order, which lightens county regulations on our students living and studying in Allendale Township.
 
Our students’ adherence to the public health advice and regulations is to be commended and recognized as we move into this new phase of keeping our campus safe. The new “Staying Safe” order acknowledges our progress and allows for some flexibility on campus.

Staying Safe Order
 
Beginning October 2, 2020 and continuing through October 16, 2020:

  • Up to four guests may visit student living units and residences, while observing strict preventive measures, including social distancing and wearing face coverings. Students living in on-campus housing also must abide by the Housing and Residence Life Guest Policy and Community Living Standards.
  • For all indoor common areas on the Allendale Campus, students may not gather in groups greater than four people. This does not include classes or university-organized academic activities.
  • All outdoor gatherings should not exceed 10 people. All should have face coverings except when eating or drinking. This 10-person-limit does not include gatherings organized by the university.
  • Face coverings continue to be required indoors and outdoors. Students who are alone outside may choose not to wear a face covering, but should be prepared to immediately use it when encountering another person.

The full order can be found here. Your cooperation on testing and contact tracing, along with following the requirements of the order, is critical in our goal to mitigate the spread of this very contagious virus. 
 
The university has support systems in place to help students with a variety of circumstances, including technology, food, and mental health issues. Resources for employees are available through Human Resources on the Benefits and Wellness site. The university’s Call Center is available at (616) 331-INFO (4636). Personal health-related questions can be directed to the GVSU/Spectrum Health 24-hour call center at (833) 734-0020. You can also direct questions to virusactionteam@gvsu.edu.

Stay Safe Order FAQ

The new order at the beginning of October replaces the previous September order.  For example, the travel restrictions in the September order are not in the October order.  See the new order for current details.

As of September 16, GVSU has moved to Level 3: High Alert. Operational changes are being implemented, including those reflected in the orders 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 latest order, “Face coverings continue to be required indoors and outdoors. Students who are alone outside may choose not to wear a face covering, but should be prepared to immediately use it when encountering another person."  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, except when a student is alone outside.

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 700 cases of COVID-19 confirmed cases among students at the GVSU Allendale campus site alone. It is this spike associated with GVSU students that made these orders affect Allendale 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 orders from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health do 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 or other activities, they must follow the requirements in the orders.

The orders are 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 orders 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.

As indicated in the October 2 order from Ottawa County, “Up to four guests may visit student living units and residences, while observing strict preventive measures, including social distancing and wearing face coverings. Students living in on-campus housing also must abide by the Housing and Residence Life Guest Policy and Community Living Standards."

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

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 with Ottawa County and according to the GVSU Administration, will be subject to sanctions as outlined by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution in the Student Code of Conduct.”

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.