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Message to Students

August 12, 2021

Message to Students from Joy Pulsifer, Dean of Student Life

This week both Mecosta (Big Rapids) and Kent (Grand Rapids) Counties moved from a “moderate” level of COVID-19 community transmission to “substantial” in the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker. To maximize protection from COVID-19 and the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of “substantial” or “high” transmission. With this new development, the University will follow this recommendation and require that a mask that covers the mouth and nose be worn indoors in all buildings effective today, August 12, 2021. If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is to be nimble, to be flexible and to be prepared for changes, sometimes on a daily basis. Today, if you visit the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker, it shows Mecosta County (Big Rapids) is back in the “moderate” transmission level. Realizing this data will change from day to day, week to week, and given the continuing health and safety concerns with COVID-19 and the Delta variant, the University will still require faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear masks indoors. The University’s Re-entry Committee will monitor the situation and re-evaluate this requirement at the beginning of the fall semester.

This directive also applies to KCAD, GRCC Applied Technology Center and the College of Pharmacy’s instructional facility, and at some of our statewide locations. This applies to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

If you are on or near the Big Rapids campus and need a mask, they are available free at the University Center in the Student Activities Office (first floor/formerly known as “CLACS”) and at the Information Desk on the second floor. Students who are medically unable to wear a CDC approved face covering should contact Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services before returning to campus. Kendall College of Art & Design students should contact Marie Yowtz, Director of Counseling & Disability Services.

To maintain a safe and healthy living and learning environment, everyone at the University is expected to:

  • Engage in good hygiene practices including frequent and thorough hand washing
  • Stay at your residence when symptomatic and/or have tested positive for COVID-19 · Complete the daily symptom checker when coming to a campus location and/or when working for Ferris, regardless of work location
  • Report COVID-19 signs/symptoms in the symptom checker
  • Students at Statewide locations must follow the mask guidance provided by their respective community college
  • Wear a face covering in healthcare settings where patients may be present
  • Report any positive test result

Vaccines Available

Given the current public health guidance, and our plans for a full and open campus this fall, the University strongly recommends that all members of our campus community become immunized against COVID-19. This is the most effective way to minimize the risk of illness, disruption, and inconvenience this fall.

Ferris State University is not mandating the COVID-19 vaccination, but our goal is to have the majority of our students, faculty and staff be vaccinated prior to the Fall 2021 semester. This is particularly key for congregate living settings, such as residence halls and student apartment complexes, where the spread of COVID-19 can be rapid and more difficult to contain.

Free vaccinations are available in the Birkam Health Center for students, faculty, staff, and their household members age 16 and up. If you have not been vaccinated and would like to be, please contact Birkam Health Center at (231) 591-2614, Option 2, to set up an appointment, or you can visit for area vaccination sites across the state.

Why Get Vaccinated?

Vaccinations are our best way to assure community health and to avoid the disruptions seen across the country this past year from COVID-19. Fully vaccinated students are significantly less likely to get sick and be required to isolate and do not have to quarantine if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 unless they are symptomatic.

Document Your Vaccination Status

To help the University gauge vaccination levels, please complete the “fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 form” when you are fully vaccinated. This confidential form is located in the Healthy Dog portal. If you do not complete this form, the University will assume you are not fully vaccinated.

What if I fall into a high-risk group, or have a physical or mental health condition that requires only online courses this fall?

If you have a health condition that supports the need for a reasonable accommodation, you should contact Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services before the semester begins at [email protected]. Students at Kendall College of Art & Design should contact Marie Yowtz, Director of Counseling & Disabilities Services at KCAD, at [email protected].

COVID-19 Relief Funds

The University has received additional federal relief funds to provide emergency assistance grants to students heading into Fall 2021. Following federal guidelines, the University has prioritized the awarding of these grants based on financial need. However, any student enrolled at least half time (6 credits or more) in a degree program and who is not a high school student concurrently or dual enrolled, IS ELIGIBLE.

Learn more about these funds and how to apply

MyBulldog Service Center

We have consolidated several popular services into a central location on campus in the lower level of the Ferris Outfitters store/University Center. The MyBulldog Service Center will provide assistance to students with dining meal plans and Bulldog Bucks, ID cards, parking, and more. The Service Center will be convenient for students to access and will have extended hours to meet the needs of our students. KCAD students can visit the Student Services Office (7th floor, 17 Fountain St. NW building).

Commuter Student Meal Plans

Commuters can have the same great access to our dining centers as residential students by purchasing an Express Meal Plan. Express Meal plans are offered in varying dollar amounts to suit your time on campus and your budget!

Bulldogs in Action Volunteers Needed!

Sign up to welcome students to the Big Rapids campus before classes start!

Remember to visit our Welcome Back webpage regularly for updates and exciting news about all the things we have planned for you for Fall 2021. Please continue to check your email for additional communication from the Dean of Student Life (DOSL) in the weeks ahead.

Take good care. Get vaccinated if you are not already, wear a face covering and let’s keep going, safely #FerrisForwardTogether. We can’t wait to see you and welcome you to campus in just a few weeks!


Please direct them to the appropriate contact below:

  • Academics – contact your advisor or dean's office:
    • College of Arts, Sciences and Education: 231-591-3660
    • College of Business: 231-591-2420
    • College of Engineering Technology: 231-591-2890
    • College of Health Professions: 231-591-2270
    • College of Pharmacy: 231-591-2254
    • College of Optometry: 231-591-3706
    • Retention & Student Success: 231-591-2360
    • Kendall College of Art and Design: 616-259-1203
    • Statewide location email contact info
    • If you are unable to reach your advisor, please contact your College (numbers above) or [email protected].
  • Housing & Dining – [email protected]
  • Student Bill
  • Financial Aid – [email protected]
  • Reasonable Accommodations – Educational Counseling & Disabilities Services, [email protected], or [email protected] for students at Kendall College of Art & Design

All my best,

Joy N. Pulsifer
Dean of Student Life