The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has ordered the closure of highschools, colleges, indoor bar services and dine-in restaurants in light of an alarming spike of COVID-19. This decision was made after Michigan reached another trend of record-breaking case counts the past few weeks. In response, NMU is following suit, the same night as the announcement President Fritz Erickson issued an email to all of campus detailing the coming changes.
“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses,” said Whitmer. “Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
The order issued Monday lasts for three weeks, and it begins Wednesday, Nov. 18. Subsequently, it is not as extensive as the previous executive orders from Spring.
Per the order, highschools must not meet face-to-face, colleges and universities must move online, work that can be done remotely must be done remotely, indoor dining and bars allowing dine-in must transition to takeout only or delivery. Guidelines were outlined for the holidays approaching as well. Popularly, Thanksgiving is traditionally a time where many households gather. With the new order it is recommended that only two households combine for this holiday, and that’s with extreme caution.
Places like bowling alleys, movie theatres and gyms will not be open to the general public anymore. However, grocery and retail stores will stay open. Health care providers will still be able to see patients and salons will also remain open. As for NMU, this brings some major changes as well. In an email sent out late Monday evening President Fritz explained the shift. NMU will switch to remote instruction and all employees capable of working remotely will begin doing so by 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.
“Friday, we told faculty they could move parts or all of their remaining courses to a remote format. Now they must do so,” said President Erickson in his email. “Residence halls will continue to be operational until their original fall semester closure time of Sunday, Nov. 29. Students lying in the residence halls are welcome to continue their sequestering as a precaution to bringing COVID-19 home to family and friends until any point up to the Nov. 29 closure,” he added. “Student employees who were scheduled to work during the Nov. 15-Dec. 8 period (and beyond), should contact their supervisors for guidance regarding their essential work or remote options.”
For students’ end of semester return procedures, the NMU Police Department will set up an area in their building. This means that is where students will take “notebook computers, library returns, residence hall keys, donations for the NMU Pantry and other items. NMU PD is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” according to President Erickson.