Required daily health self-screening for all students, faculty and staff coming to campus
As part of the NEST Plan, all staff, faculty, and students who need to physically be on campus or in SVSU residential facilities will be required to complete a brief, online assessment of symptoms and exposure risk prior to entering campus.
Students living off-campus, employees, and approved guests who are coming to campus must complete the assessment each day prior to arriving on campus. Students who are living in SVSU residential facilities are required to complete the assessment each day before leaving their residence.
After answering the daily health assessment question, app users will receive instructions on whether or not they can proceed to campus, or if they should remain at home or in their room.
If you do not have a smartphone, please use the web-based version.
SVSU is hosting another live virtual town hall for faculty and staff this Thursday, Aug. 13 at 1 p.m. Faculty and staff should check their email for information on how to register. Following the event, a recording will be available on the NEST Plan website.
The town hall will provide updates on our preparations for the upcoming fall semester, but we also plan to devote most of the time to submitted questions. As with our earlier town halls, participants are welcomed to submit questions in advance. We also expect to be able to facilitate questions in real time during the town hall.
A multi-agency contact tracing program at SVSU continued to take shape this week as the first 11 students in SVSU’s Health and Safety Student Ambassador program participated in a 6-hour online training course provided by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. By next month, 36 students will work as contact tracers for the initiative led by two freshly-hired special assistants to the provost for health and safety.
Julie Newton, who is board-certified in infection prevention and control, an active member in the Michigan Society of Infection Prevention and Control, and an infection control practitioner with MidMichigan Health; and Moregan LaMarr, a case manager and social worker with Covenant HealthCare as well as a two-time SVSU alumna, will oversee the contact tracing program at SVSU. Judy Ruland, dean of SVSU’s College of Health & Human Services; Catherine Macomber, an associate professor of social work; and Andrea Frederick, an associate professor of nursing, have assisted in coordinating the initiative.
Frederick said the program will work on a number of levels. Workers will map the potential spread of COVID-19 by communicating with students, staff or faculty who either tested positive or had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. Contact tracers also will be both trained to assess the condition of individuals as well as empowered to offer access to resources and emotional support.
How the contact tracing will work
Frederick said organizers expect that, by the end of the month, the infrastructure for the contact tracing program will be in place. The mapping process begins with CampusClear, the online app that will allow SVSU students, staff and faculty to self-report their health status prior to entering campus. When the report indicates an individual experienced an unexplained symptom associated with COVID-19 or experienced close contact with a confirmed or probable case, the individual will be prompted to call a Covenant HealthCare-operated hotline. Based on an assessment made during the phone contact, suspected cases would be forwarded to SVSU’s contact tracing team. The campus community member then would be contacted – likely via phone or Microsoft Teams – by a member of the contract tracing group for support and direction. If the individual tested positive for COVID-19, contact tracers would initiate the identification of others who were potentially exposed to the virus.
“There’s a nuance to contact tracing,” Frederick said. “If you discover that you have the virus and you went to your history class yesterday, the contact tracer would want to determine if everyone was wearing a mask and maintaining 6 feet of social distance.”
'Changing the culture'
Newton and LaMarr initially will perform much of the contact tracing, although organizers anticipate involvement in tracing by members of the Health and Safety Student Ambassadors team as the program progresses and evolves, Frederick said.
Student Ambassadors in the beginning will be tasked with “changing the culture” of their peers by encouraging classmates to answer the CampusClear questions regularly and honestly, Frederick said.
“The American ethic is that, ‘If I’m sick, I’m strong enough and can push through it to go to school,’ but we need to change that when it comes to this virus,” Frederick said. “It has to be OK to stay home if you are sick and it has to be OK to admit if you made a mistake and may have exposed others. We have to be OK with being honest about that.”
Contact tracers will also be equipped with information about how their contacts can access needed community resources.
“For instance, we want to make sure that someone in quarantine or isolation has enough food in the refrigerator,” Frederick said. “If it’s a residential student, Student Affairs and Residential Life have a well-developed system to be certain that a student gets the support they need.”
The contact tracing program involves a partnership with the Saginaw County Health Department and Covenant HealthCare.
“We have a really strong team from SVSU and our community partners,” she said.
Consistent with similar decisions by other college conferences, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Council of Presidents on Aug. 12 announced all intercollegiate sports competition has been suspended until at least January 2021.
"This news is obviously very disappointing for SVSU Athletics, especially for our student-athletes who have been working so hard to prepare for the upcoming year," said John Decker, SVSU's Athletics director and associate vice president for legal affairs. "While we are still allowed to practice during the suspended seasons, it's just not the same without having actual competition."
The SVSU teams that play exclusively during the fall sports season include men's and women's cross-country, football, men's and women's soccer, and volleyball.
Other SVSU teams' seasonal play was set to begin this year but included schedules extending deep into 2021. Those teams include men's and women's basketball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's swimming and diving, tennis, and men's and women's track and field. GLIAC officials say the winter and spring sports competition calendar will be announced at a later date.
"In the final analysis, the decision made by our conference had safety as the driving factor, and we simply don't have the resources to meet the NCAA requirements," Decker said. "It's unfortunate, but it was the right decision to make. That being said, we will do everything we can to give our student-athletes the best experience we can for this fall."
Richard Pappas, the chairperson of the GLIAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, explained the decision in a statement available on the GLIAC website.
“Our council of presidents and GLIAC athletic directors weighed this decision from every angle, hoping to find a feasible option for student-athletes to compete this fall, but in the end, the potential risks to student-athletes, coaches, support staff and fans made fall competition impossible,” Pappas said. “Plans to provide fall teams with competition opportunities during the spring semester are a priority for the league. We look forward to getting our student-athletes back on campus so they can resume training, and our members remain devoted to providing a quality student-athlete experience despite these challenging circumstances.”
Students who have been directed to get tested for COVID-19 must contact their course faculty for instructions regarding remote assignments. They must also report to SVSU's COVID Case Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SVSU Orientation leaders were among the first students to return to campus since March. With plans in place to promote safety at the university, their reunion with fellow classmates and SVSU's top-rated facilities reminded them why they are so excited for the fall semester.
Remember to check in daily using your #CampusClear app!
SVSU students recently received an e-mail from the NEST Plan Team asking for their cooperation in signing the NEST Pledge. The pledge underscores the campus community's role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by committing to “Practice 5.”
Over 3,000 students have already signed the pledge and will receive a free SVSU face mask in the mail or prior to Housing check-in.
Don't wait! Students who have not already signed the NEST Pledge can do so by following the links below.
Information on university face coverings for employees coming soon!
Monday, August 24 – Wednesday, August 26
Freshmen living in First Year Suites and Living Centers
9:00 am – 4:00 pm daily - see Move-in Schedule for full details
Thursday, August 27 – Saturday, August 29
Returners living in University Village, Pine Grove, or Living Center South
9:00 am – 4:00 pm daily - see Move-in Schedule for full details
REMINDER: Each student will be assigned a specific date and time per the Housing Office. It is important that students arrive at their assigned time to ensure proper health and safety protocols are followed.
Will we return to campus for the Winter 2021 semester, or will courses continue to be online only?
We expect to return to in-person instruction for the Winter 2021 semester, health conditions permitting.
Will students be allowed to have guests in their residence halls?
A maximum of two visitors are permitted on Move-In Day only. Visitors are defined as non-SVSU students. Guests are permitted within the designated hours: Sunday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to midnight; Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Roommate Agreement may limit guests further. Guests are defined as SVSU students who do not live in the unit/facility. Overnight visitors/guests are prohibited until further notice.
View Return to Campus FAQs
Campus community members soon will enjoy a WiFi service that extends into four parking lots, SVSU leaders say.
Planners expect WiFi service will be available in parking lots A, E, G and J in the coming weeks. Hardware for the upgrade recently was purchased, and leaders estimate the expanded coverage could be available early in the fall semester.
SVSU's Orientation leader Rhys Morris talks about the university's "Practice 5" program, aimed at promoting safety in the campus community.
NEST Info Line