August 27, 2020
Welcome back! We are glad you are here. We have prepared for several months for your safe return to campus.
Many of you are already familiar with what we have done to safeguard our community from the spread of COVID-19. Our faculty and staff – and many of your peers as NEST ambassadors – have worked hard to develop and implement these safeguards.
I am confident we have created a safe environment to live, learn and socialize at SVSU with the measures we have put in place. Most of our students want an on-campus experience, understanding that they must wear masks and make other adjustments. I have observed many of you adhering to our “Practice 5.”
Reports arising from other colleges and universities are troubling. I am sure you have seen them; so have I.
I understand that many of you are eager to spend time with your friends. Do it safely. What we have seen elsewhere -- parties and other gatherings where people do not wear masks, do not socially distance, and engage in other unsafe behaviors -- is resulting in the spread of the virus. We want you to have fun this year, but your classmates are depending on you to avoid these activities – not forever – but for the next three months.
Let me be clear: if we learn of students engaging in risky behaviors that violate our policies, we will act swiftly and decisively. Irresponsible behavior jeopardizes all of us and will not be tolerated. Students who engage in deliberate defiance of our policies may be removed from our residence halls, suspended or even expelled. We have an obligation to do all that we can to prevent the bad actions of a few from spoiling it for the majority.
To the many, many students committed to behaving responsibly: we are counting on you. That includes speaking up and, when necessary, reporting behavior that puts others at risk. Tell your R.A. or any SVSU faculty or staff member. Call the SVSU information line at 989-964-2110. I understand the reluctance to call out bad behavior. These are not normal times.
In the event of possible exposure, we have trained contact tracers so we can quickly respond, support and educate those who may have been exposed. We have arranged for COVID-19 testing that will return results in 24-48 hours so that students who must quarantine are not anxiously awaiting results any longer than necessary.
This academic year is sure to be memorable. Let’s make sure ours is remembered for the right reasons.
Please wear your mask. When you are outside, if you cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance, please mask up. Wash your hands. If you see something, say something. Be considerate but be firm. We all must do what is required to protect ourselves and each other.
Donald J. Bachand
Office of the President