Editor’s Note: The following statement originally appeared on Andrews University’s website and is reprinted below.
COVID-19 Update: Switch to Distance Learning
March 11, 2020
Dear Andrews Community,
I have some significant updates to share with our Andrews University community regarding immediate steps that our University will take related to the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States.
Last evening, Michigan Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Michigan following two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the eastern part of Michigan.
Today at 2 p.m., Governor Whitmer also conducted a conference call with private colleges and universities, including Andrews University, regarding higher education’s response to the spread of COVID-19 across the United States, and with cases now identified in Michigan.
As Andrews University has studied this new information, and as it understands the array of growing and widespread adjustments in U.S. higher educational institutions to the COVID-19 disease, it will take the following steps. Please note that these changes only relate to the operations of Andrews University and not our University Schools, Andrews Academy and Ruth Murdoch Elementary School, since they are not residential learning environments. Changes for those schools related to COVID-19 will be communicated separately and when available.
1. All Andrews University courses currently taught on our Berrien Springs campus will be delivered as distance education, beginning Monday, March 23, at the end of the spring semester break. This distance delivery of courses will be in place through the remainder of spring semester. No face-to-face courses will be taught for the remainder of the semester. Currently we plan to resume in-person course instruction at Andrews University for the summer semester.
We’ll continue to keep students updated on how distance coursework will be delivered as it relates to your courses and specific academic programs.
2. As the University switches to distance delivery of its courses for the remainder of this semester, students are encouraged, where possible, to return to their place of permanent residence. Students in Lamson, Meier and University Towers will need to leave their residence by the end of spring break, March 22, unless they receive prior permission to remain longer. This permission to remain would likely be offered to international students and to those students who need to remain in the local area to fulfill clinical or lab requirements.
3. For those students who do remain in campus housing, meals and campus services, such as the library, will remain available on a limited basis.
4. Campus events are also canceled in connection with this change, including our International Food Fair, Passion Play and Gymnics Home Show originally scheduled for upcoming weeks.
5. Andrews University’s current plans will focus on maintaining faculty and staff employment and assignments during this transition to distance education for the remainder of the semester. For these employees the campus will remain open, although some employees may choose to work at home after consultation with their supervisor.
6. Governor Whitmer will issue additional and overall guidelines to the State of Michigan in a briefing scheduled for this evening. Those may include guidelines related to limiting the sizes of group meetings, which may also impact other community gatherings and events on our campus. We will continue to share updates as we know more about these state recommendations.
What Should I Do?
As Andrews University joins other higher education institutions in taking significant steps like these to help slow the spread of COVID-19, there are also two simple, essential and powerful things that each one of us can do:
Wash your hands!
Scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry them with a clean towel or let them air dry.
Keep your distance from sick people.
CDC guidelines suggest staying six feet away from anybody showing flu- or cold-like symptoms. Avoid shaking hands and especially keep your distance from people who are sneezing or coughing.
What Happens Next
I and my colleagues will continue to keep you informed of these and other decisions and significant changes at Andrews University, and throughout the state of Michigan, as our state responds to recently confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Further updates will be offered on graduation and other details for our community as appropriate.
These relevant updates, along with other important information and resources, will be available on our COVID-19 website.
Finally, as a community of faith, we are reminded that this is a time for fervent and urgent prayers for God’s influence, presence and answers as we continue to seek to understand and effectively respond to the risk connected with COVID-19. We also continue to pray for our neighbors, our brothers and sisters around the world, who have been and are directly impacted by the spread of this disease or, tragically, for those who have also lost someone they love.
Christon Arthur, Provost
Image credit: Andrews University
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