BLOG: Presidential Perspectives

An open letter to the Mount Pleasant community

Hiking trail bridge crossing over the Chippewa River
Dear neighbors and friends,

Central Michigan University is proud to call the city of Mount Pleasant home. For 128 years, our students, faculty and staff have lived, learned and worked here; some have been lifelong residents with deep roots in the area. This is our community, and we care deeply about the people and organizations we call our neighbors and partners.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, we have been mindful that our campus operations have an impact on our community. In all we do, we consider the health and safety of the residents of this region of equal importance to that of our students, faculty and staff. As a major part of this community, we owe this to you.

We heard clearly that many of our students had a desire to return to campus and attend classes in person this fall. These students love Mount Pleasant and learn best in person. For those reasons, we have been working for months to plan for a safe return. I am happy to report that the majority of our campus population is doing everything possible to protect themselves and others.

Since we began tracking cases among our students, faculty and staff June 15, we have identified 174 positive cases in our university community. It is important to note that of these total positive cases, 44 are currently active. Bringing thousands of students home to CMU carried with it the risk of new positive cases in our region, and we took precautions — based on best practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to address those risks.

There is no such thing as an acceptable number of cases, and I do not wish to minimize the impact this virus has had on the life of anyone affected. I also certainly understand that any increase in the number of positive cases can seem alarming, and that many of you are concerned about the safety of our city and our region.

Today, I want to share information about steps CMU is taking to protect everyone on our campus and in the surrounding community:

  • Partnering closely with the Central Michigan District Health Department, as well as our local leadership in the city of Mount Pleasant, Union Township and Isabella County.
  • Strongly enforcing requirements for wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding large parties or gatherings; and taking corrective measures, including fines and suspensions, against students who violate the requirements.
  • Suspending all in-person campus events and activities, including those within our Greek community, and postponing all fall sports.
  • Reducing the density in our residence halls by waiving the requirement for students to live on campus in their first and second years, giving them the option to live at home and take all-online classes instead. In addition, we allow students currently living on campus to break their housing contracts without penalty if they wish to return home to attend classes online.
  • Implementing on-campus COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff to ensure timely test results.
We are working closely with our partners at the health department to monitor the spread of the virus, track positive cases and assist with contact tracing. When we identify a positive case, we work swiftly to quarantine or isolate the individual and to immediately begin contact tracing, which is a vital component of slowing further spread. Our local health care providers are providing guidance to ensure our area has the capacity to treat people who are diagnosed with COVID-19.

I assure you that we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 virus and will continue to take precautions to keep our community as safe as possible. After all, Mount Pleasant is our home. Many of our faculty and staff, and their families, live here. Our students are employees and customers of our local businesses, and many of them live in town year-round. What happens in our region affects us all, and we are mindful of our responsibility as members of this community. We are proud to be your neighbors, and we are grateful for the home you have given our university in the community.

Be well, and Fire Up Chips!

Bob Davies
CMU President
Blog: Presidential Perspectives posted | Last Modified: | Author: by Bob Davies, CMU President | Categories: President's Office
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