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March 13, 2020

SVSU coronavirus update, message from Provost to campus

Dear students,

We know you have many questions. Our entire university is working diligently to respond to the changing expectations resulting from the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

With classes moving to online or remote instruction through April 17, we ask that you:

  • Please know that we care about the health and well-being of you and our entire campus community.
  • Please check your SVSU e-mail regularly.
  • Please visit our svsu.edu/coronavirus web page for the latest information
  • Please remember that classes are continuing, albeit in different formats. We are doing everything we can to help you complete your academic requirements.
  • Please look after one another. We have an incredibly supportive community. This is a difficult time, and many people will understandably be feeling stress or anxiety. If you have friends or classmates who you know may be struggling, do your best to help them. Sometimes a simple phone call or text of support is enough. If you think someone needs professional help for their mental health, please encourage them to seek it.

In the interests of everyone's health and welfare, please know that students cannot be required by faculty to come to campus or to otherwise meet in person, even off campus, through Friday, April 17. Students and faculty may elect to meet face to face in small groups, but this should be discouraged whenever possible to minimize social contact.

We would also like to remind students that race and ethnicity do not influence the likelihood of illness and that it is important to be supportive of all members of the SVSU community regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin.

We understand that the necessary transition to online or remote instruction may prove challenging for some students. We have extended the date to withdraw with a "W" grade through the final day of classes, Friday, April 24.

We know many students are inquiring about refunds. We will have more information about our plans in the future and communicate those when we are prepared to do so.

Students planning to register for upcoming terms should know that Academic Advising has made arrangements to be able to hold advising appointments via Microsoft Teams or by phone, as well as in person for the time being. Please contact them at 989-964-4286 or aacsvsu@svsu.edu to schedule an appointment.

SVSU and our fellow GLIAC institutions have suspended all athletic-related activities through May 31. This includes all practices, and all strength and conditioning sessions. The Ryder Center remains open for members of the campus community. Adjusted hours can be viewed here: https://svsu.edu/rydercenter/buildinghourscalendar/.

At this time, our on-campus computer labs remain open. We are posting signs on computers to encourage social distancing.

Zahnow Library remains open and we will continue to offer academic support services. We are working to expand the virtual academic support we can offer; we expect to share more information about this soon.

Many faculty will be using Canvas as an online resource as we transition to remote and online instruction. You can find answers to many questions at https://svsu.edu/canvashelp/. Within Canvas, ITS is working to make the “Student Orientation to online/hybrid learning” content available to all students (this previously has been accessible only for students in online courses). We will be making other helpful resources available too. You should know that many faculty have attended online teaching workshops over the past two days. They want to provide the best possible learning environment for you.

Adobe has announced that SVSU students can download Adobe software products to their personal computers. If you need such software for your courses, please download it. Many other software companies are adopting similar policies. Please check online regarding your personal needs. You can contact ITS for assistance if you encounter difficulty.

We are moving quickly to implement a process to allow students to check out a university computer. Priority will be given to students who do not otherwise have access to online course material. If you do not have consistent online access, please notify your instructors.

In the interest of continuity, some faculty hope to continue synchronous learning, such as conducting a video lecture at the normally scheduled class time. Please avoid scheduling work or other conflicts with your normally scheduled class times. You may be expected to be available online during your regularly scheduled class period. Please check with your instructor. When students encounter unavoidable conflicts, they should contact their instructor to discuss alternate arrangements.

We will continue to share updated information via e-mail and online, but we know sometimes a phone call may be preferred. Starting tomorrow, we will have a campus hotline at 989-964-2110. It will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

At this time, we are expecting students to return to campus for regular classes and normal operations on Monday, April 20. Please plan accordingly. Please also understand that this is subject to change, given the rapidly evolving nature of this virus outbreak.

Finally, please be kind and understanding to yourself and others during the unprecedented challenges we are all facing. A little care and compassion goes a long way. Above all: Thank you. We know this has been hard on each and every one of you, and we appreciate your patience and understanding, and the support you have shown one another. As difficult as this week has been, it has deepened my pride in our Cardinal family.

Sincerely,

Deborah Huntley
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs