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March 19, 2020

SVSU coronavirus campus update concerning pass / no credit option for students

Dear students,

We know that the sudden move to online and remote instruction comes with uncertainty. You are concerned about your academic progress and rightfully so. We have decided to provide all undergraduate students with a pass/no-credit option for their classes this semester. We hope this will bring some peace of mind for many of you.

You will be able to select the “Pass” or “No-credit” option for any of your courses beginning in mid-April until after final grades are submitted, when you will know your letter grade for the course. Students who choose to accept their letter grade may do so. Students who pass their course and select the “pass” option will receive a grade of “P” and will receive credit for the course. Students who do not pass the course may select the “no-credit” option; they will not receive credit for the course, but it will not affect a student’s GPA.

Students will submit an online “Pass/No Credit” request form to the Office of the Registrar. We will notify you when the form is available.

We are still working through some of the finer details, and we will have more to say about this, but we wanted to share this information with you now, as we know many of you have been asking about this.

Please know that your instructors are working very hard to adapt to a teaching and learning environment that is new to many of them. We know it is new to many of you too. Please continue to work hard in your courses, and please be understanding and patient with yourself and your instructors.

Sincerely,

Deborah Huntley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 17, 2020

SVSU coronavirus campus update and transition to remote operations

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

It seems unimaginable, but it was only one week ago (Tuesday, March 10) that the first two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus were reported in Michigan. In just one week, life as we know it has been radically changed. I am proud of the way in which our campus community has responded.

We made the transition to remote and online instruction on Monday, and starting tomorrow, most campus operations will be conducted online, by phone, or using other technology. We continue to operate the university, but we are doing it differently. Everyone will continue to perform their duties to the best of their ability. We expect to continue remote and online operations through Friday, May 1, but this is subject to change, given the rapidly evolving nature of this situation.

I would like to thank the leadership of all of our bargaining units for their responsiveness and collaboration during these unprecedented circumstances. This level of cooperation in achieving shared goals is needed and most appreciated. Supervisors and members of the Support Staff Association will be receiving specific guidance on expectations relevant to working from home.

We have made the difficult decision to postpone Commencement. We do not want to diminish this incredibly important milestone in graduates’ lives, and with the latest guidance from the CDC to avoid gatherings of 50 or more for the next 8 weeks, we cannot hold a ceremony that we and our graduates would be proud of. We will communicate with you when a new date is identified.

While Commencement is postponed, this does not affect the ability of students to complete graduation requirements and receive their degrees. Students who complete their degree requirements in May will graduate in May.

For students, your university is here for you. Beyond instruction, dining and other necessities, we remind you that the Student Counseling Center has services available. Please make use of this service if you need to. We all should look after ourselves – and each other – during this incredibly stressful time.

Please continue to visit the www.svsu.edu/coronavirus web page for the latest information. We will be updating this page regularly. We also will continue to be here for you by e-mail, by phone, and using other technology.

The dedication, flexibility and creative problem-solving of our Cardinal community never ceases to amaze me. I appreciate it. We all do. Together, we will get through this.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Bachand, President

March 16, 2020

SVSU coronavirus update, message from Provost to students

Dear students,

We continue to take steps to ensure campus safety and instructional continuity in the midst of larger societal disruptions. We will continue to provide regular updates to all members of the campus community.

Effective today (March 16), we are extending our online/remote instruction through the remainder of the winter semester, including final exams.

This morning, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order closing many public venues through Monday, March 30. Most relevant to us are the closing of libraries, museums, fitness centers and dining facilities. SVSU will be in full compliance with this executive order.

  • Zahnow Library and the Gerstacker Learning Commons are closed but will continue to provide library and tutoring services remotely and online.
  • The Fitness Center is closed.
  • Dining Services are closed except for take-out service. Starbucks, Panda Express, and Subway will only be available through online ordering for pick-up through the Grub Hub app. The Marketplace at Doan has moved to a paper form ordering system for take-out options.

Over the weekend, the CDC recommended that gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled for the next 8 weeks. Earlier today, the federal government recommended avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people. In response, SVSU is limiting the gatherings of RSOs and other student groups to no more than 10 people, and reminding them to practice social distancing.

We care about each and every one of you. We have extended the withdrawal period to the end of the semester and we are exploring options to support students during this immensely challenging period.

I am deeply appreciative of the support, flexibility and understanding of our students during these extraordinary circumstances. We are dealing with daunting challenges, but with all of us working together to stay healthy, ensure instructional continuity, and support each other, I am confident that we will be successful.

With deep gratitude,

Deborah Huntley, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 16, 2020

SVSU coronavirus update, message from Provost to faculty

Dear members of the faculty,

We continue to take steps to ensure campus safety and instructional continuity in the midst of larger societal disruptions. We will continue to provide regular updates to all members of the campus community. 

This morning, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order closing many public venues as of 3:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020 through March 30, 2020. Most relevant to us are the closing of libraries, museums, fitness centers and dining facilities. SVSU will be in full compliance with this executive order.

  • Zahnow Library and the Gerstacker Learning Commons are closed but will continue to provide library and tutoring services remotely and online.
  • The Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum is now closed.
  • The Fitness Center is closed.
  • Dining Services are closed except for take-out service.
    • Starbucks, Panda Express, and Subway will only be available through online ordering for pick-up through the Grub Hub app.
    • The Marketplace at Doan will move to a paper form ordering system for take-out options.

Over the weekend, the CDC recommended that gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled for the next 8 weeks. We will, therefore, extend our online/remote instruction through the end of the semester. I know that some of you are concerned about secure testing, and we are obtaining a license to Respondus, a commercial product that integrates with Canvas and will help to ensure academic integrity. This tool will be available very soon and tutorials will be provided.

As you continue to develop your online/remote courses, the Center for Academic Innovation and IT will remain available to assist you. Look for further communications regarding resources, training and consultation.

As always, we are very concerned about student success and retention. Given the challenges of this semester, we all need to be very intentional about facilitating student success. We have extended the withdrawal period to the end of the semester and are exploring options such as allowing students to elect Pass/Fail grading. However, their success will be greatly enhanced if they feel engaged and supported in their classes. Please do whatever you can to assist them.

You should have received a memo from President Bachand, announcing that we are moving to a work-from-home model. Anyone who can work from home is encouraged to do so. IT has laptops and other devices available for check-out. You will still have access to your office spaces, and if you need to use any of the classroom technology (e.g., document cameras) as you develop your online content, please let us know (academicaffairs@svsu.edu). 

Once again, I send my sincere appreciation for your collaboration in facing these extraordinary circumstances. We are dealing with daunting challenges, but with all of us working together to stay healthy, ensure instructional continuity, and support each other and our students, I am confident that we will be successful. 

With deep gratitude,

Deb

Deborah Huntley, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 16, 2020

SVSU coronavirus update, message from President

Dear faculty, staff and students,

Please allow me to express my appreciation to all of you for your dedication and flexibility during this challenging time.

We are moving to a model where we strongly encourage faculty and staff and available student employees to work from home, beginning with the first shift schedules on Wednesday, March 18. Faculty and staff who can work from home should plan to do so, in consultation with their supervisor. For those planning to work from home, please begin identifying what materials and technology you will need to effectively complete your duties.

University operations are continuing. Some staff will continue to come to campus to perform their duties, and the campus will remain accessible to faculty, staff and students. Some staff may also experience schedule and work assignment changes as we develop operations plans.

During this public health emergency, please take care of yourselves and your families. If you are sick or feel the need to self-isolate, please do. If you must attend to children who are home due to schools being closed, please do so without concern for how it will affect your vacation or sick leave. We understand many of you have questions. We are doing our best to address your concerns.

We share all of this, because we need you to be at your best, so you can give our students your best, understanding that all of us face unique challenges posed by this crisis, and those challenges continue to evolve by the day.

We are aware that Governor Whitmer has announced an executive order that affects Campus Dining. Effective immediately, we will be implementing the following changes due to the State of Michigan temporarily ordering all restaurants to close dine-in services:

  • The Marketplace at Doan will move to a paper form ordering system for take-out options.
  • Starbucks, Panda Express, and Subway will only be available through online ordering for pick-up through the Grub Hub app.

Effective today, the Fitness Center and Zahnow Library are closing at 3 p.m. Please watch for more information on our plans pertaining to Library operations.

We will continue to carefully evaluate how to best serve our campus community and we will provide regular updates as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Bachand, President

March 16, 2020

SVSU-hosted College Night canceled

The Great Lakes Bay Region College Night set to be hosted at Saginaw Valley State University next week will be canceled in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
 
SVSU has canceled all large gatherings of 50 or more people through Sunday, April 19.
 
The Great Lakes Bay Region College Night on Monday, March 23 was set to attract 40 higher education institutions as well as high school students seeking their next education destination.

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

March 12, 2020

SVSU update on coronavirus and large gatherings

Rendering of Coronavirus COVID-19

Dear campus community,

We have updated information to share with you regarding SVSU’s response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Effective immediately, we are canceling all large gatherings of 50 or more people through Sunday, April 19. This includes all public events and any classes that include 50 or more students. Students in such classes should contact their instructor for any special instructions. Registered Student Organizations or other groups that would typically draw 50 or more people should make alternate arrangements.

We have no home contests for SVSU Athletics this weekend. Our varsity teams who are scheduled to travel will do so, unless they receive guidance from the host institution advising them not to travel. We will work with those institutions on any special instructions, such as limiting spectators. Our Athletics Department is coordinating athletics activities with our conference and the NCAA to assure that appropriate measures are in place to protect participants and spectators.

Our Campus Dining locations are implementing changes, such as new seating configurations to reduce communal dining, and the removal of certain menu items and/or food stations. Dining services will remain open; they encourage people to download and use the GrubHub app for ordering from retail facilities.

We expect to share additional information later today, but we wanted to share the news of canceling large gatherings without delay.

Sincerely,

Donald J. Bachand, President

March 12, 2020

Event featuring Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha canceled

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine has canceled the planned Thursday, March 12 presentation featuring Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Saginaw Valley State University in keeping with MSU’s proactive measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
 
The SVSU-hosted event was organized through SVSU’s Early Assurance Program partnership with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
 
Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, scientist, and public health advocate whose research and insistence helped reveal dangerous levels of lead in Flint's water supply following a change in the city's water source.

March 11, 2020

SVSU coronavirus update concerning classes

Dear campus community,

We care about you, and your health and well-being. The State of Michigan has confirmed two individuals have contracted the COVID-19 virus. We are monitoring the latest guidance from the state and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The SVSU leadership team meets daily to discuss the status of this outbreak and SVSU’s operations. The team had a conference call with the Saginaw County Health Department this morning and is communicating with the department frequently. At this time, the risk for contracting the virus in our area is low, but this is a rapidly developing situation. Please remember that race or ethnicity has no bearing on the likelihood of becoming sick or transmitting disease.

Effective today (March 11), SVSU is suspending all university-sponsored international travel through at least June 30. We strongly advise faculty, staff and students to avoid personal international travel, as well.

We strongly discourage SVSU-sponsored domestic travel by faculty, staff and students, as well. Faculty, staff and students should consult with their supervisor prior to any trips. We may further restrict domestic travel with little advance notice, as circumstances warrant.

We are suspending face-to-face instruction for lecture and discussion classes and moving to online or remote instruction, effective Monday, March 16 and through at least Friday, April 17. All instructors will contact their students no later than Wednesday, March 18 to provide further information about course delivery. We are continuing to work with faculty and staff on laboratory and performance classes, and the university will provide additional guidance.

We will re-evaluate the need for remote learning before April 15 and will provide further information at that time. During this time period, students doing purely remote work can return to their permanent place of residence but for students who remain on campus, we will maintain operations in our residence halls and dining services. For campus dining, we will be taking steps to increase “grab and go” options and reduce communal dining.

Academic and student support services, as well as business operations, will remain open.

At this time, SVSU is evaluating the upcoming public events we are scheduled to host. We are planning to hold events scheduled for this weekend and will make a decision regarding future events later this week. We will continue our enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures, and we will encourage our visitors to practice good hygiene, as we all should be doing, and to consider their personal health in connection with the implications of large gatherings. Again, this could change with little advance notice.

Symptoms of the COVID-19 virus include: a cough, a fever greater than 100.4 degrees, and shortness of breath. If you exhibit these symptoms, please call-in sick, avoid contact with others and call your health care provider. It is important to call ahead so that health care agencies can provide appropriate assessment, care and instructions. Please know that many health insurance plans offer tele-medicine services. Individuals who have been sick should remain home until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

The health and welfare of our entire campus community is our highest priority. We will continue to update the campus community with the latest information surrounding the COVID-19 virus, and will update our www.svsu.edu/coronavirus webpage.

Sincerely,

Donald J. Bachand, President

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