President Mantella's message to students (Fall 2020)

Tuesday, December 15

Dear Campus Community,

Our Laker community continues to mourn one of our own, while authorities continue to investigate the suspicious death. The family of Taylor DeRosa is aware of the outpouring of concern for their loss. Taylor became part of our on-campus community as a first-year student this Fall semester. Our thoughts and prayers surround the DeRosa family during this tragic time.

There is much we do not know about the cause of her death, and the investigation is ongoing. Grand Valley Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Brandon DeHaan assures us, at this time, it appears the general public and the campus community are not in danger. He is urging all of us to be patient while GVPD and other law enforcement agencies continue their investigation. We have a moral obligation not to spread misinformation that fuels unhelpful suppositions and may hamper the investigation. 

We must support and care for each member of our Laker community. GVSU Counseling Center staff are ready to provide service to anyone who needs it, (616) 331-3266. The Dean of Students Office also has additional services available and can be reached at (616) 331-3585 or dos@gvsu.edu.

Tragedies have a way of focusing our attention to what matters most – the people around us. Keep the student’s family in your thoughts and offer your help and support to those who need it.

Sincerely,
Philomena V. Mantella, President


Louie the Laker in a mask

Friday, December 11

Dear Lakers:
 
Fall semester is coming to a close and I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to adjust to the changes made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic. I congratulate those who graduate this weekend and extend to the Class of 2020 every good wish as they move to the next stage of their lives with a Grand Valley diploma in hand. Remember that our Laker Lifetime Learning Commitment stays with you throughout your career, ready to help whenever you need new skills or knowledge in our rapidly changing world.https://www.gvsu.edu/l3/ 
 
This is also a good time to speak to next semester, spring/summer terms, and the coming academic year. For now, it is difficult to speculate whether there will be any restrictions from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that may impact Winter semester 2021 which starts in mid-January, or spring/summer terms, which begin in May. However, we plan to continue our hybrid model, if safe and allowable to do so, and we are prepared to accommodate the needs of our students, their professors, and those who support them whatever happens. We will offer additional classes and programs in the spring/summer schedule to support the academic progress of students wishing to catch up or work ahead.

Our plans for the Fall 2021 semester, beginning in August, are well underway and you’ll be able to register as usual beginning in early March. We anticipate a more robust on-campus experience in Fall 2021. Our plan is to offer classes on campus with face to face delivery at more normal availability, along with hybrid and online formats. We are also planning for co-curricular activities to be offered in person. We will of course put the health and safety of our community first, follow CDC and state health guidance, and if the situation warrants we will shift to socially distanced educational opportunities. 
 
As this is written, the deployment of a Covid vaccine appears imminent. I am ready to receive an inoculation as soon as I am allowed and I urge each and every one of you to do the same when your turn comes. Widespread vaccination is the one sure pathway to resumption of a full campus life. We are working with health care providers and will do everything in our power to assist them in making vaccines available to the Laker community.
 
As the semester concludes and the holidays arrive, please follow CDC guidelines, stay safe, stay healthy, and follow the protocols that guide the resumption of study next month. I will communicate with you whenever I have new information. Have a safe and happy holiday season.
 
Sincerely,
 
Philomena V. Mantella, President


Monday, November 16

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a statewide public health order November 15, due to the acceleration of COVID-19 in Michigan. The order takes effect Wednesday, November 18, and it affects higher education and the operations of our university, as well as a variety of other activities.

On Monday and Tuesday, campus operations will continue as usual.

  • Beginning Wednesday, all face-to-face classes will convert to remote delivery. 
  • Students in the health care professions are in different circumstances. Students enrolled in nursing and health professions courses will receive additional information directly from faculty or advisors.
  • Students in education will get information about student teaching placements from professors or advisors.
  • Research activities, both undergraduate and graduate, will continue with proper safety protocols.
  • Student work remains possible. Students should work directly with supervisors.  
  • Anyone needing IT assistance can call the IT Help Desk. (616) 331-2101. 
  • The university will remain open. Efforts by appointing officers to further reduce workspace density and shift to remote work will continue where possible, consistent with current guidelines.

Testing information

Free testing: COVID-19 surveillance testing is available for those who come to campus at least one day per week. Testing will take place through November 19. The university will pay for one test per person. Testing for people who do NOT have symptoms or who have not had direct exposure to someone with COVID will take place on the Allendale and Pew Grand Rapids campuses. Those eligible received an email with a link to schedule an appointment.

GVSU also hosts a Spectrum Health testing site at the Commons on the Allendale Campus for people who have symptoms or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Appointments can be scheduled through MyChart or by calling the GVSU Spectrum Health COVID Resource Line at (833) 734-0020.

Questions and concerns
The GVSU COVID call center (616) 331-4636 remains in operation weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Personal health concerns should be directed to the GVSU/Spectrum Health 24-hour call center (833) 734-0020.

The word of the semester has been “flexible.” Thank you for all you are doing to make campus the best and safest it can be.

Sincerely,

Philomena V. Mantella, President

View of Allendale Campus; pond, clocktower and Kirkhof Center


Lakers Together signs in front of the clocktower

Thursday, November 12

A message to the campus community from President Philomena V. Mantella regarding COVID-19:

Dear Lakers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a new and serious turn across the nation and here in Michigan. Earlier today, the heads of our state’s largest health care organizations warned that hospitals are running out of beds, some as soon as next week. Despite the very best efforts of everyone in our community to limit exposures, we have seen an uptick in positive diagnoses. This can create long waits to see a health care provider. This cannot continue without serious consequences to all of us, including our families and loved ones.

I write today to ask that you take precautions, in addition to the ones we are practicing, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing. We know that exposure can come from even small gatherings, so I ask that you reduce your face-to-face engagements to only those critical to your learning and well-being, and while doing so, follow all public health recommendations. 

Consider leaving your residence only to get food or medicine, attend classes, go to work or exercise, and wear a mask while around others. Avoid any unnecessary activity that might bring you into contact with others, because even those who show no signs of illness can transmit COVID.

You’ve received earlier communications from the university to help you plan for a safe return to your permanent residence at Thanksgiving break. It is essential that you follow that guidance to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your family and friends. Please review and be fully familiar with the actions we need you to follow. We are ready to provide the testing necessary and to support you if you have questions or concerns. Please call (616) 331-4636 or email virusactionteam@gvsu.edu so we can assist in these challenging times. 

I know these are difficult things to ask, and I realize we would all like our lives to return to normal, but we are still fighting the virus. So I ask for your support and leadership as responsible Lakers for the well-being of our entire community. Please do your part. Lakers Standing Together can always succeed. That time is now.

Sincerely,

Philomena V. Mantella, President


Thursday, October 1

GVSU COVID Update

 

Dear Campus Community,
 
The number of positive test results of COVID-19 in our community has shown a steady decline for the last two weeks. 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. tonight, 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.
 
I remain grateful for the way our community has committed to a journey that might be difficult, but is definitely worth it. Thank you for showing how Lakers join together in challenging times.
 
Sincerely,
Philomena V. Mantella

Allendale Campus in the Fall


Virtual town hall

Friday, September 25

Update to racial Zoom incident

Dear Campus Community,
 
I want to share with you that thanks to the great work by the Grand Valley Police Department and our IT department, it has been determined the reprehensible racial incident reported during a Zoom meeting of our Black Male Scholars group last night did not come from people within our university community. That fact in no way diminishes our resolve to fight racism at every turn. The values of Grand Valley State University call us to be a model of an inclusive and affirming community.
 
The seriousness of this incident, which included racist language and images, prompted our IT department to immediately and successfully be able to turn over suspect leads to GVPD, and the investigators are pursuing this as a criminal case. We are following up with those who attended the meeting to offer any support we can as a community.

During the evening, it was reported that three other GVSU student groups also experienced “Zoom bombings.” These disturbing events are also being investigated. Vice President for IT Milos Topic is already working on additional protocols and training to improve security.  

We will not tolerate any behavior of this nature. We are committed to each member of our community and their well-being. If people need additional support, please contact inclusion@gvsu.edu

Sincerely,
Philomena V. Mantella, President  


Thursday, September 24

Racist Acts within our Community

Dear Campus Community,
 
I write you tonight with a heavy heart. We have an amazing group called the “Black Male Scholars.” At the group’s kick-off meeting on Zoom, our peace was shattered when someone interfered with the meeting with racist language and images. It was both shocking and deplorable, and this will not be allowed to stand in the Grand Valley community. I assure everyone involved that this behavior is condemned, and a full investigation by the Grand Valley Police Department and our IT department is already underway.
 
Anyone with any information about this event, should call GVPD at (616) 331-3255 or contact Ottawa County Silent Observer, http://www.mosotips.com/.
 
I want to express my profound sorrow to the students and employees who witnessed these reprehensible acts. We must condemn hate and bigotry and end ignorant behaviors that impact our underrepresented communities in disproportionate ways. This is a time for us to come together and care for one another.
 
Sincerely,
Philomena V. Mantella, President

Mother and daughter hug during move-in


Cook Carillon Tower, Pew Campus

Wednesday, September 23

Update on Racial Equity Commitment

 

Dear Grand Valley Community,

I want to update you on our action plan and progress toward racial equity. You will recall that in June I announced a framework for action and a Network of Advisors to guide our commitment to racial equity and social justice, following the killing of George Floyd. I make this update today, acknowledging the weight that so many of us carry, in particular our Black students, faculty and staff as the decisions are released by a Kentucky grand jury on charges for the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

I am grateful to and excited by the progress of the Network of 36 faculty, staff, students, and alumni which has been building our 15-point plan for racial equity. They have been working continuously since June having defined five strategic pillars that serve as waypoints guiding us on efforts:

  • We must elevate the voices and experiences of our Black faculty, staff, and students.

  • We must listen carefully, valuing each member of our community.

  • We must fulfill our goals for inclusion and equity.

  • We must all deepen our understanding and knowledge through education.

  • We must then use this knowledge as the basis for understanding and addressing institutional and systemic racism and oppression to make meaningful change.

A list of network members, our 15-point plan, and updates on each of the charges are posted at www.gvsu.edu/inclusion/action. It’s important to also emphasize that this work joins the long history of efforts at Grand Valley to create an environment where barriers are eliminated, all members of our community can be their full authentic selves, and everyone is provided the support and care needed to thrive. Come back often to the website for regular updates as progress continues and as new efforts emerge that advance equity and inclusion for all members of our community.

Caring for our community is especially important during this time. I ask each of you to consider how to peacefully add your voice to the call for social justice and to model the care we seek for all. I ask each of you to look for opportunities to empower our plan of action and engage with our Network colleagues to fuel and enrich the plan. I ask each of you to care for yourselves. The  University Counseling Center offers students support virtually or face to face. The Encompass Employee Assistance Program provides a number of resources for employees. Any member of the Grand Valley family who needs support or information on resources can also contact the Division of Inclusion and Equity at inclusion@gvsu.edu.

We will continue to learn, lead, and, most importantly, act, as we know more than words are expected of us.

With gratitude and hope,

Philomena V. Mantella
President


Wednesday, September 16

COVID Update

o the Campus Community:
 
The nation continues to grapple with the complication of the COVID-19 pandemic. Positive diagnoses across the country, in Michigan, and at Grand Valley State University continue to increase. When GVSU made plans for the resumption of campus learning and residency, I said we would make adjustments to ensure the continued health and safety of our Laker community. That time has come, and I ask for your understanding and support.
 
Today, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH), in cooperation with the university, will issue a ‘Staying in Place’ order impacting GVSU students living and studying in Allendale Township. It is important to note, students are expected to attend in-person classes on their schedules, campus operations will continue, and offices will be open. 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. 
 
This order – which is issued under the law and is enforceable – begins tomorrow, September 17, and lasts until October 1. You can view the order here.
 
In addition, we must all understand and accept the highly contagious nature of the virus. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required, so take careful note of the new requirements for face coverings to be worn outdoors, distancing, and contract tracing. Fully disclosing contacts is strictly for the purpose of keeping our community healthy. Please comply to keep friends and colleagues out of harm’s way.
 
I know you will have questions about how the order affects you, your academic journey, and daily life. We have additional FAQs related to the order on the Lakers Together website, so please check it regularly for the latest information.  
 
The university’s Virus Action Team has recommended to the university’s senior leadership that a step to Alert Level 3 is warranted, and I concur. This means extra vigilance is required of us all. Face coverings, social distancing, good hygiene, avoidance of crowds, and until October 1, remaining in your residence except under the circumstances identified in the order. Your adherence to the order will help us reduce the positive diagnoses, especially in off-campus housing areas, and make sure the order is lifted in 14 days.
 
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 24-hour call center at (833) 734-0020. You can also direct questions to virusactionteam@gvsu.edu.
 
I want to thank everyone who has been following the guidelines and doing their best to stay healthy and prevent others from becoming exposed. This is a journey of a thousand steps. Walking together – but separately – will serve the common good.  Please keep doing your part. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Philomena V. Mantella, President

Student walks on campus on the first day of classes, Fall 2020


Cook Carillon Tower through the Kirkhof Center windows

Friday, August 28

Statement from President Mantella: The Road to Justice is Ahead

Dear Grand Valley Community,

As many work to safely return to campus, we must also be mindful of the social unrest that continues to impact our nation as it grapples with a painful history of systemic racism and oppression. The shooting of Jacob Blake and continued demonstrations in Wisconsin and across the country in reaction are reminders of how much work we have ahead of us. It reminds us to stay true to the commitments we made in June to learn, understand, act, and lead as partners in action against racism. The progress we have made is encouraging, but our work must continue vigorously as much of the road to justice is ahead.

While we must press forward with urgency, we know the anxiety and emotions of many are heightened. In particular, we acknowledge the continued hurt and fear felt by many of our Black community members.The well-being of each of you and all in our community is our top priority. The University Counseling Center offers support for students experiencing overwhelming emotions following a tragic event, and the Encompass Employee Assistance Program provides a number of resources for employees. Any member of the Grand Valley family who needs support or information on resources can also contact the Division of Inclusion and Equity at inclusion@gvsu.edu.

We must continue to work peacefully and vigilantly against bigotry and oppression in all of its forms. As Lakers, we must exercise great care of each other against both the virus of COVID and racism.  

Sincerely,

Philomena V. Mantella
President


Friday, August 21

Lakers Together Weekly Update

 

Dear Grand Valley Community,

Move-in for our students living on campus begins Sunday. All our preparations for the Fall semester have brought us to this moment – a moment that is full of excitement for students and their families. This week’s Lakers Together update is a reminder about critical information for the campus move-in process, which is different this year. President Mantella and Director of Housing and Residence Life Kyle Boone focus on key points for students to think about as they come back onto campus.


Student Sam Myers wears face mask

Thursday, August 20

Important Information - Welcome Message from President Mantella

 

This message contains important information about changes to the Student Code of Conduct and expectations for health and safety.

Dear Lakers and Supporters:

The start of the Fall semester is nearly here, and I am delighted to welcome new and returning students to Grand Valley State University. We are ready for you, but the environment will be different from prior years as we adjust our already robust health and safety protocols to deal with the COVID-19 virus. As many of us return to campus and students move into university housing or local apartments, we continue to make decisions based on science and the attributes of the communities that host our campuses. I want to thank the Ottawa and Kent county health departments and other federal, state, and local organizations that have guided us through our reopening plans.

For current information on the plan, please consult the Lakers Together website and the Lakers Together Protecting Each Other handbook.

The most important part of the plan relies on all of us to follow safe behaviors. You have no doubt seen the news stories with parties and gatherings near college campuses at which too many students gather without social distancing and few, if any, face coverings. We are counting on our students to avoid such behavior and instead to be models for the rest of our community and for college students around the country. Lakers are leaders and never before have the stakes been higher. 

Importantly, we ask all students to pledge to follow the university’s health and safety rules. The pledge will be accessible upon logging into Blackboard. The Student Code of Conduct has been updated to include language specific to the safety of our community. We will enforce compliance with health and safety expectations, including at events and activities that take place off-campus.

Being on campus, for those who want or need in-person experiences, is a privilege we must preserve. We understand the best ways to mitigate the spread of the virus, and you will be reminded constantly on our website, our social media platforms and in our physical spaces. We know to wash our hands, physically distance and wear masks when indoors or within six feet. We must commit to each other that we will follow these simple guidelines to keep each other as safe as possible. This applies even if you live off-campus. We are working with neighboring apartment complexes and landlords to encourage a unified approach to enforcing public health guidance and state and federal regulations. 

While we cannot guarantee a virus-free campus, we can assure a comprehensive, efficient and expedited response to the virus. We expect everyone to take the self-assessment each day. This will flag symptoms or exposure. Our partnership with Spectrum Health will help us with our health care response. We have adequate isolation and quarantine spaces for students within our housing units. Details were sent to you on August 17.

If you decide that you would like to take all online courses, advisors will work with you to adjust your schedule. If that decision leads you to cancel your university housing contract, you will be able to do so without financial penalty. The university also reserves the right to adjust the academic calendar as it sees fit or move totally remote if situations with the virus dictate that action would be most prudent. The Provost, in consultation with the Deans and the Chair of the Faculty Senate, has determined that we will cancel fall break. Classes will instead continue during fall break (October 26 and 27). In addition, we will ask that after Thanksgiving break, any class that can be delivered remotely do so. The reason for this is to minimize travel. We realize that some classes will need to continue with face-to-face delivery after Thanksgiving break because of experiential learning activities. Final examinations will be conducted remotely.

The arrangements we have made are aimed at supporting your success. We are honored that you have chosen Grand Valley on your journey to a college degree and all that it will make possible in your future.

Go Lakers!

Sincerely,
Philomena V. Mantella, President

 


Friday, August 14

Lakers Together Weekly Update

 

Dear Grand Valley Community,

Here's your Lakers Together weekly update with critical information regarding our preparation for the Fall semester. We know we have shared so much information with you regarding recommendations and requirements for this unprecedented year. In this edition, President Mantella and Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Loren Rullman focus on the key points for students to remember as we get closer to the opening of the academic year.


Louie the Laker wearing a face mask

Monday, August 10

Dear Grand Valley community,

We are fast-approaching the start of the new academic year, with all the positive energy that ignites. We have safely brought back many of our faculty, staff and student employees over the last month, and we are excited to bring many more of you safely back to campus this month. The global pandemic has required all of us to exercise more care and compassion for one another. This national crisis has required enormous effort, vigilance and more detailed campus planning than ever before. I am grateful for the hundreds in our university community who have joined me in this journey. I can assure you that health and safety are paramount in our minds, and that through all the challenges, we remain true to our mission to educate students and provide them with rich experiences.

The world has moved from reacting to a sudden incident to living with the presence of the virus, and so we are making changes in our response. These changes will enable us to continue to effectively manage campus life, while doing our best to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and care for our community members.

 

Virus Action Team

A newly named Virus Action Team (VAT) will be replacing the daily work done to date by the Incident Management Team (IMT). The IMT began its work with COVID-19 management in late January and since the first of March has met almost daily planning the ramp-down and ramp-up of campus operations. I want to extend my sincere thanks to this team and announce members of the VAT who will lead us through the health and safety monitoring phase we have entered.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Sanial will direct the team that includes project manager Lisa Haynes; faculty liaisons: professor of biomedical sciences Doug Graham, associate professor of physics Ben Holder, and program director and associate professor of occupational safety and health Dave Huizen; tracking and tracing leads: Jean Nagelkerk and Tina Barnikow; academic affairs lead, Ed Aboufadel; student affairs and experience leads: Lynn (Chick) Blue, Nykia Gaines and Kate Harmon. Three members will devote all their energies to this team, while the remaining members will dedicate significant time working daily with the team. The VAT will be monitoring the health and safety in the Grand Valley community as well as the surrounding region, and will report to the Senior Leadership Team.

Any health monitoring questions or concerns should be sent to: virusactionteam@gvsu.edu

 

Partnership with Spectrum Health

I am pleased to announce our partnership with Spectrum Health to assist us in monitoring and managing the virus. This development is significant as we repopulate our campuses.

  • Infectiousdisease specialist Habiba Hassouna, M.D. will serve as our consultant.

  • BeginningAugust 17, Spectrum Health will operate a 24/7 COVID call center for GVSU.The phone number will be available on that date.

  • SpectrumHealth staff will follow-up on self-assessment flags, including testingfor individuals with symptoms or exposure.

  • Thepartnership will increase our testing capacity with results in 24-48hours.

  • SpectrumHealth will provide daily check-ins following positive tests.

 

Campus Repopulation Plan – pre-arrival requirements

Critical to the success of our 2020 plans is our behavior. As we return to campus, it is the responsibility of every member of our community to always follow the best practices outlined by public health professionals and part of our “Lakers Together Protecting Each Other” campaign.

We need to do our part in safeguarding others and ourselves. 

 

Self-assessment
Beginning August 17, 2020, all students, faculty and staff are required to complete the daily COVID-19 risk self-assessment. This is required seven days a week whether you are coming to campus or not to more completely track the virus, and your compliance will be monitored. The self-assessment should be completed each day before noon. Just as with face coverings, we will start with care and reminders, move to educate, then look for a remedy, which could include a failure to comply report to Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution or Human Resources. Not completing the self-assessment would be considered a violation of university policy and would be actionable.

 

Test prior to coming to campus
The university is encouraging everyone to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus. While these test results will be a snapshot in time, any positive results will be caught before arriving on campus. Testing can be arranged through your health care provider or you can consult the State of Michigan testing site finder with a “no cost” filter.

Details on a new protocol for expanded on-campus testing will be announced prior to move-in August 23. Currently, students who have symptoms or who have been exposed to someone who tests positive can be tested at two university sites:

Allendale:  GVSU Campus Health Center, 42nd & Pierce  
Grand Rapids:  GVSU Family Health Center 

 

Lakers Together on campus

Ongoing testing 
We have the agreement with Spectrum Health in place, and we are finalizing an agreement with another lab for additional testing capabilities. We will be able to facilitate thousands of tests with quick turnarounds to help track the virus. Expect that announcement soon.

We will be conducting regular testing on high-risk groups such as athletes, resident assistants and critical personnel.

 

Randomized testing
Randomized testing of 1,500 people on campus will begin two weeks after the start of classes and continue throughout the semester. Students, faculty and staff will be selected at random to be tested. This will give us a sense of the presence of the virus within our community and the data will be used to identify any “hot spots” and to make decisions regarding campus operations.

Cost for testing facilitated through Spectrum Health as part of the university’s self-assessment process will be billed first to insurance with any balance billed to the university. Cost for the randomized testing will be covered by the university.

 

Tracking and Tracing
All positive tests are reported to county health departments. Grand Valley has a close working relationship with Ottawa and Kent county health departments and will work with them to support their tracking and tracing efforts within our community. Spectrum Health will assist in providing follow-up with all students who are in quarantine (been exposed to someone positive) or in isolation following a positive test. Nearly 20 of our students will be hired to work as contact tracers with the county health departments through the GVSU Student Employment + program.

We are also investigating the possibility of using technology to assist with tracking and tracing, and hope to enter a pilot with two companies offering this service in the coming weeks.

We do have plans to care for students who are quarantined or in isolation, and they will receive more detailed information from Housing and Residence Life and the Dean of Students Office by August 17.                                                                        

Faculty and staff who need to be quarantined or isolated should work with their appointing officer to determine the best course of action, as each case will need individual attention.

The best source for up-to-date information on the Fall Semester is Lakers Together Fall 2020.

 

Ability to switch to all remote education

This virus has underscored the need for flexibility. Just as we are planning to welcome everyone back safely to campus, the truth is, the virus is unpredictable, and we must be able to react to any significant spread within our community. We are planning under the current Phase 4 designation by the State of Michigan, meaning we can be on-campus with heavy restrictions. We will continue to follow state and federal regulations.

Our faculty have been making plans for resilient teaching to be able to shift courses quickly to remote if the need arises. Our health experts are devising a dashboard to monitor data and to identify triggers that would indicate we should move to remote education. The dashboard will be vital in our decision making and will be made public when it is operational. It will track testing of faculty, staff and students at Grand Valley and the rate of positive results. It will also monitor Kent and Ottawa counties as well as students’ home counties.

 

Fall 2020

We all understand this year will be different, but what makes the Laker community special will never change. We are committed to caring for each other, and we are committed to intellectual growth and endless opportunities.

 

Sincerely,

Philomena V. Mantella, President