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Message to Students

Jan. 15, 2021

Message to Students from Joy Pulsifer, Dean of Student Life

Good Morning Bulldogs,

Spring 2021 Welcome and Move-In

It is great to see residential students moving back to the Big Rapids campus for the Spring 2021 semester. Don’t forget to take advantage of the events and activities that the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services has organized to welcome students for the spring semester. More information is available at Bulldog Connect and on the CLACS website.

To protect the health of our community, all students living on-campus are required to participate in free COVID testing and must sign-up for a testing time today (1/15) through Sunday (1/17) at the Student Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This includes those students who stayed over the break and those living in the suites and apartments. Students living off-campus are welcome to sign up as well. If you have questions about this required testing, please e-mail [email protected]  

4th Annual MLK Day of Service Project - Operation Safe Sidewalks

On Saturday, students are invited to participate in the 4th annual MLK Day of Service Project – Operation Safe Sidewalks, organized by the Student Volunteer Center. Students will be shoveling and salting sidewalks for residents within the city of Big Rapids. Students can sign-up for a two-hour time slot online. This is an opportunity to volunteer and to help others in remembrance of Martin Luther King.

The Office of Multicultural Student Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion have also organized a number of events on Zoom next week to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You are encouraged to participate. 

Canvas Courses and Your Course Schedule

The University experienced an issue with the integration between MyFSU and Canvas this week, so students who have dropped courses are still seeing those courses in Canvas. Efforts to resolve the problem are underway. Your course schedule as listed in MyFSU is your official schedule no matter what you are seeing in Canvas. If you are registered for a course that is not appearing in Canvas please email [email protected]

Technology Grants for Spring Semester Computer Purchases

Thanks to the generosity of University donors, students purchasing a computer to meet academic expectations associated with remote classes during the Spring 2021 semester are eligible for a reimbursement of up to $200 to assist with this purchase. For more information please visit

MiFi Wireless Routers Are Still Available

To request a MiFi/Hotspot device from the IT Solution Center, visit the IT Self-Service Portal and login with your Ferris email address and password. Click the blue link in the upper left corner on the portal home page (see graphic below) labeled “Click Here To Request A MiFi/Hotspot Device”, to automatically create your request ticket for the device. Once processed, the IT Solution Center will contact the student to have the device be picked up, or will ship the device if that option was selected. Alternatively, a device may be requested by phone by calling 231-591-4822.

Spring Semester CARES Grants

In late December, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which includes the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), providing federal support for many entities including higher education. We anticipate that the University will be receiving additional federal relief funds to provide emergency assistance grants to students. The specifics on the uses for these funds, eligibility requirements for receiving them, and the timetable on when the University will receive this funding are still being determined by the U.S. Department of Education. We look forward to being able to share these details with you as soon as we receive them.  Watch these DOSL Update emails for information as soon as it becomes available.

Provide Input on the Next University Master Plan

You are invited to attend a meeting to provide input on the University’s next master plan. The University Master Plan lays out a vision for our campuses designed to meet the needs of our students both present and future through the intentional development of our physical resources. It represents a continued investment in new academic facilities and creates spaces for collaboration where we can help build community.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you are interested, please register for the meeting. If you have questions, please contact Fonda Kuzee at (231) 591-2924 or [email protected]

Symptomatic Testing for COVID at the Birkam Health Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Beginning Tuesday, Jan 19, the Birkam Health Center will be offering limited COVID-19 testing for students who are experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms or who have a documented exposure to someone with COVID-19. This testing will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the side entrance of the Birkam Health Center. 

Students who want to schedule a test should log into the Healthy Dog Portal and click on the APPTS tab. Any student seeking a test outside of these offered times should schedule a virtual visit with a Birkam Health provider or setup a test through Spectrum Health through the COVID-19 Hotline at (833) 559-0659.

Free Asymptomatic COVID Testing Clinics Continue Tuesdays and Thursdays

The University will continue to provide free COVID testing clinics to asymptomatic faculty, staff and students on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the Spring 2021 semester. These clinics are for those who are NOT experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Testing will occur from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Wink Arena. The campus DART shuttle has added a stop at Wink Arena on testing days to help facilitate transportation.

You will need to complete the FSU daily symptom checker online and receive a green Negative status prior to being tested. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact the Birkam Health Center or your local healthcare provider. Individuals who test positive will be called by the end of the day on which the test was administered. Individuals who test negative will receive an email. Sign up for a testing time. If you have any questions about asymptomatic testing, please e-mail [email protected]  

The COVID-19 testing clinic at KCAD will be held on Jan. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building, located at 17 Pearl St. NW in downtown Grand Rapids. This clinic is open to any KCAD/Ferris students with NO symptoms. Please visit this link for complete details and to schedule a time.

COVID Vaccine Update

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of two COVID-19 vaccines. Initial quantities are very limited in Michigan and nationwide. For that reason, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services vaccine distribution plan follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for prioritizing who will get the vaccine and in what order. Most of our University community will fall into Phase 2 of the vaccine distribution schedule, which will occur later this spring. This continues to be a fluid situation, one that we are closely monitoring.

Please visit the State of Michigan’s website for more information or the District Health Department #10 website. You can also click on this local health department map to find your local health department and to find out how to receive the vaccine when it is available.  

Recent questions we have received regarding the COVID-19 vaccine: 

Will receiving the COVID-19 vaccine be a condition of enrollment? 

No, students will not be required to receive the vaccine. 

Will I still have to wear a mask and socially distance after I receive the vaccine?

Yes. The CDC recommends continuing the mitigation practices established to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 even after receiving the vaccination. Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing our hands often will continue to play an important role in stopping the pandemic. Visit the CDC’s website for more information. 

Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19

Our mitigation efforts this fall worked, but it is critical that they continue. Please continue practicing social/physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and washing your hands often to keep you and others safe and healthy. Limit the size of your social pod and avoid large gatherings. Complete the daily symptom checker when coming to a campus location. If you are on or near the Big Rapids campus, test regularly at our weekly clinics. Stay at your residence if you are feeling ill, or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or when you are awaiting test results. And please follow all directives from public health officials related to quarantine and isolation.

Also, if you haven’t received your flu shot, it’s not too late – you can obtain one from the Birkam Heath Center or as part of Spring Semester Welcome on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m., on the first floor of the University Center at the Big Rapids Campus.

As always, all of the important information regarding the University’s re-engagement efforts are available on the Coronavirus Updates Hub and specific updates for students can be found under the “Info for Students” tab. Please continue to check this site frequently for updates. 

Finally, if you have a question, or are having difficulty locating information, please send an e-mail to [email protected].

Best regards,
Joy N. Pulsifer
Dean of Student Life