Important Update to Faculty and Staff

March 11, 2020 (8:30 PM)

We continue to actively monitor the evolving global epidemic associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19), as it now spreads across the United States. In this your health is our highest priority. Last evening Governor Whitmer announced the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan – one in Oakland County and the other in Wayne County. With the likelihood of additional confirmed cases in the days ahead, she has declared a state of emergency for Michigan.

At Ferris we are meeting continually to focus on our preparations and response. In this we work with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention together with state and local health departments. While there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, now is the time to be proactive to prevent illness and to continue our educational efforts. To protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and our communities, this evening there are important updates to share with you. These will be temporary disruptions that will certainly cause some challenges for all of us – but they are in our individual and collective best interests in these unprecedented and uncertain circumstances:

Classes and Instruction - All face-to-face instruction is suspended at this time at all Ferris State University campus locations, including Kendall College of Art and Design. When classes resume on Monday, March 16, instruction will be via a remote learning delivery method. This may be through online instruction, but we will assist faculty in using web conferencing, teleconferencing, or other approaches that are best suited to each individual.

  • The Provost’s Office will release additional information shortly to faculty and academic administrators to assist.
  • All courses currently delivered online will continue as scheduled.
  • Remote learning will continue through at least March 27, 2020. At that time the current situation will be evaluated to determine if continued remote instruction is warranted.
  • For courses transitioned to online we will assist students with limited or no Internet access, or a laptop if needed.
  • During this period all University campuses will remain open.

Student Services - During this period we strongly encourage students to return home to their permanent residence, if possible. However residence halls will remain open for students and we will continue to fully support students in our campus housing.

  • Student employees away for spring break should not report to campus for work. We will assist those students for whom this causes a financial hardship.
  • We will continue to provide dining services, working to create more takeout and “Grab and Go” options.

Travel - All University-sponsored, international travel (including Canada) for all students, faculty and staff, has been suspended until further notice. Additionally, University-sponsored domestic travel is suspended. Waivers for essential and necessary travel will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Nonessential travel by other means (bus, van, car) is strongly discouraged.
  • We are also requesting that faculty and staff voluntarily report personal travel. The University strongly advises you avoid personal travel to areas with documented COVID-19 cases. If you do travel, for everyone’s safety you may be required to self-isolate or quarantine.

Events - To lessen the chance of introducing or spreading COVID-19, all large-scale University events of more than 100 attendees will be postponed or canceled. We encourage organizers to explore ways of conducting the event through live streaming or other technologies.

CDC Recommendations - We continue to ask everyone to follow the CDC recommendations for preventive actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

More information on COVID-19, the University’s response and federal, state and local resources is available on our website.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you to everyone is working hard to ensure the continued health and safety of everyone in the Ferris community. We all understand there are many details that need to be addressed as we make these significant changes in our University operations. However, I am confident that working together we will address these challenges, protecting the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students.

I appreciate you working to help our students as we make these changes. Your help and support during this period is sincerely appreciated. Together we will work through this challenging and uncertain situation.

David L. Eisler, president