Dear colleagues and friends,
At 11:30 a.m. today, our first group of graduates will enter Kelly/Shorts Stadium, and we will begin the first of 12 commencement ceremonies. It feels like far too long since the last time I was able to greet our graduates in person and lead them through the turning of their tassels. I have never been quite so eager to don my regalia, and I know many of you will be attending or watching the ceremonies this weekend, too.
Thank you. We have arrived at this day because of you. Your hard work, passion and compassion, and, yes, sometimes even your sweat and tears, allowed us to complete one of the most challenging academic years in the history of our institution. The words “thank you” feel woefully inadequate to express my gratitude, yet I will say them again: THANK YOU.
Thank you for putting our students first, even when it added significantly to your workload and your stress levels. Thank you for taking precautions and making sacrifices to keep our campus as safe as possible. Thank you for supporting each other and reaching out to offer guidance and encouragement when it was needed most.
While each of us played a role in making this year a success, I want to acknowledge a handful of individuals who have truly gone above and beyond to protect our community and keep our university open, operational and, above all else, student-centered.
Members of our Emergency Management Team met multiple times a week to discuss the frequently changing guidance from national, state and local leaders and health experts. They identified potential problems and proposed solutions, keeping our campus open to serve students while prioritizing the health and safety of our entire community. Each member of the team continued to perform their existing job duties while carrying the additional responsibilities of managing in a pandemic.
Several individuals from our finance and administrative services division, as well as the College of Medicine, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions and CMU Health, partnered to bring COVID-19 testing and vaccines to our campus while supporting contact tracing for our community. They collaborated with our local health department, recruited volunteers, managed multiple processes for registration and follow-up, and much more. Again, they undertook these roles while still completing their regular work to keep CMU operating safely and effectively.
There are hundreds more faculty and staff who deserve our recognition and gratitude this year; chances are, you work alongside a few of them. They are the people who volunteered in our clinics, passed out masks, assisted with move-in, offered tips and tricks for using new technologies, and so much more. Please join me in reaching out to thank them for their efforts.
Again, thank you for making this challenging year a great one for our students. Enjoy these final hours of the spring semester, and let’s get Fired Up for summer!
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University
Dear students, colleagues and friends,
After a pandemic year that often felt never-ending, we somehow arrived very quickly at the end of the spring semester. It is hard to believe that exams begin next week, and that we will watch our graduates cross the stage at commencement in just a few short days.
The 2020-21 academic year has been a whirlwind, frequently marked with chaos and challenge, and I know many of us — myself included — often felt frustrated and overwhelmed. Yet, we persevered together. It was never easy, but because we worked together, supported and encouraged each other, and kept our focus on the success of our students, we were able to achieve our goals. Thank you so much for all you did to make it possible.
Now, it’s time to finish strong.
Students: You have worked hard all semester. Now, it is time to demonstrate all you have learned. I wish you the best of luck during final exams next week; I know you will do your best. Take advantage of the wellness day tomorrow to rest up and prepare for the week ahead — I am rooting for you!
Faculty: Exams and grading can make for long hours and long days, but I hope you will be impressed by the quality of work you receive from your students. I hope you will be proud to see your efforts reflected in their grades. Good luck, and thank you for all you have done to help them succeed!
Staff: Thank you for the extra work you are putting in to help our students prepare for the end of the academic year, and for making their success Central to all you do. Good luck to you, too, and thank you for keeping us moving forever forward.
Let us close out this year with a shout, not a whisper. Make your Midnight Scream this year a triumphant call of, “I did it!”
I’ll be cheering along with you.
Before I close this week’s message, I want to give you an update on last week’s off-campus shooting incident. Both CMU students who were injured are receiving care and are in a more stable condition. We are keeping in close contact with both students and their families, and we wish them a full and speedy recovery. The sheriff announced Tuesday that the suspect in the case — an individual from the Detroit area with no ties to CMU or the Mount Pleasant community — has been arrested.
This was a frightening moment for our community, and I know many of you may still be navigating some fear and anxiety. Do not hesitate to reach out for support if you need it — we are here to lift each other up.
This morning, I spent some time in the vaccination clinic in Finch Fieldhouse. I was so impressed and proud of the way our students, faculty and staff stepped up to serve, whether as volunteers in the welcome and registration areas, or administering shots and monitoring individuals in the observation area. I know all of them have other obligations — classes, work and more — yet they made time to put the needs of our community first.
It was truly inspiring to see our mission and core values in action.
That is what it means to set the leadership standard. Those volunteering in our on-campus clinics, our Mobile Health Central and in sites around the state saw a need and stepped up. They recognized an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and used their knowledge, skills, time and talent to do just that.
I want to thank the staff of the Central Michigan District Health Department for making today’s vaccination event possible. Throughout the pandemic, they have been outstanding partners, and we are fortunate to have their guidance and support.
I also want to thank the many members of our community who have made the important choice to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For more than a year, you have kept our community safe by wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, and now you are protecting yourself and others with this additional, critical step.
Please know that your efforts are making a difference. We continue to see the hoped-for decline in the number of new confirmed cases on our campus — we had 31 positive cases this week. In the few weeks remaining this semester, I know we can continue this downward trend. Thank you again for all you continue to do to keep our community safe and healthy.
Because of your immediate and effective response to our recent rise is COVID-19 cases, we are beginning to see a decrease in the number of new positive cases of on our campus. Thank you for taking the extra measures to protect yourselves and others.
We have had 42 new cases to date this week, down significantly from the prior two weeks. Let us keep doing all we can to continue this downward trend! Thank you for wearing your mask indoors and outdoors when you are with others. Thank you for maintaining safe physical distance and for avoiding parties and gatherings. You are helping to make our community a safer and healthier place.
We are entering one of the busiest — and most stressful — times of year for CMU.
Our students are preparing for final papers, projects and presentations. Faculty are gearing up for final exams and grading, staff are preparing for end-of-semester activities, and we all are preparing for year-end celebrations — many of them in virtual formats.
Many of these involve long hours and a lot of energy; while they are exciting, they also can be stressful and exhausting. And, all of this is amplified by this ongoing pandemic. Recent headlines have been frightening, and many of you are carrying the added emotional stress of caring for family and friends.
This has been a very challenging year, and some of our colleagues and friends are burning out. In times like these, I am proud that we are a community that lifts each other up.
We are all dealing with high levels of stress. In moments like this, I try to remember that while there many things we cannot control, we can control how we respond. Let us all continue to respond with kindness, compassion and with our continued commitment to make CMU the best to live, learn and work.
And, when we see someone struggling, let us offer support. Sometimes all that is needed is a kind word. At other times, you may want to help someone connect with professional support. I want to be sure every member of our community is aware of the resources available.
Staff and faculty can:
Thank you for all the ways you have cared for your friends and colleagues and for the work you do every day for our university. I know it has not been an easy year, but you have helped to make it a successful one.
Vaccine rollout is picking up speed in our state and at CMU. Since we opened Finch Fieldhouse for clinics last month, we have hosted or co-hosted more than 20 vaccination clinics and helped to administer more than 7,000 doses to members of our campus and community. Today, I am excited to share additional good news.
Together with our partners in the Central Michigan District Health Department, we will soon host an additional vaccination clinic, designed specifically for our students, on our campus. We expect to have capacity to vaccinate up to 2,900 students with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
We will have information about date and times, as well as registration links, next week. Appointments will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be on the lookout for that email and reserve your spot as soon as possible!
Some individuals have raised concerns about the recent number of new cases on our campus and have asked about a possible shift back to remote-only instruction. I have carefully considered these concerns and discussed our situation at great length with our local health experts and members of our Emergency Management Team.
We consider many data points in these discussions: total number of new cases, our rolling seven-day average, hospitalizations, capacity for quarantine and isolation housing, and more. Based on these figures and other factors, we have made the decision to maintain course and finish the semester strong, with in-person living and learning opportunities for our students.
And, while I do not want to downplay the seriousness of the number of cases — every new case is concerning — I do want to put those numbers into perspective.
We have had approximately 300 positive cases this semester, which represents just over 2% of our campus population. Our number of active cases remains below 1% of our population. And, importantly, we have had no hospitalizations.
We have a robust COVID-19 surveillance testing program, which uses rapid antigen testing to closely monitor and respond to new cases within our community. We have completed more than 5,600 surveillance tests with an overall positivity rate of less than 1%, and we have an outstanding process in place for contact tracing and close contact testing, as well as for isolating and quarantining affected individuals.
When we see new cases, we take immediate action to respond. As an example, when we saw a small number of positive cases and close contacts in one of our residential restaurants, we proactively quarantined employees and consolidated service to guard against further virus spread. We plan to reopen the Merrill Hall restaurant on April 19.
When we see reports that our area has the fastest-increasing number of cases this week, it is important to remember that we had a lower number than many other locations last week. This means any increase may appear as a significant percentage increase. The most recent New York Times tracker shows that Mount Pleasant went from 202 cases to 417 cases. Yet, those numbers pale in comparison to cities whose numbers began in the thousands and continued to climb. And, in both the total number of cases and the cases-per-capita basis, Isabella County’s numbers continue to be significantly lower than those elsewhere in the state.
Our local health department is on par with or above both state and national averages for the percentage of the population that has received a first dose and that have completed their vaccinations. Our local health department and health care workers are doing an extraordinary job in the fight against COVID-19, and we continue to support their efforts with vaccination clinics on our campus.
And, again, the group with the highest number of new cases is also the group who most recently became vaccine-eligible. As we begin to vaccinate our students, we expect to see our numbers steadily decline.
All new positive cases are cause for concern, and we must double-down on our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As Gov. Whitmer said today, “it’s everybody against COVID,” and we must all do what we can to prevent virus transmission.
Here’s how you can help:
The warmer weather makes it tempting to let down our guard, especially when we are all eager to spend time with friends and family. Please be cautious and remember that the activities you engage in off campus can have a significant impact on the people you care about on campus.
There is just one month left until the end of the semester, and I know we all want to finish strong. Please continue to do all you can to protect yourself and others.
This week, Michigan surpassed all other states in the number of COVID-19 cases per capita and, for the past week, has reported more than 4,000 cases per day. Here at CMU, we also have seen a significant increase in the number of positive cases over the past two weeks.
This is an alarming step in the wrong direction for our state and our campus community, and we must all take steps to reverse the trend.
Continue to adhere to the health and safety practices we know to be effective: wear a mask, maintain six feet of physical distance and avoid indoor gatherings with people outside of your immediate family.
Some members of our campus community are planning trips home or out of state over the long weekend. I urge you to use caution when traveling. Remember, engaging in higher-risk activities, such as getting together in large groups, can have repercussions for your friends and colleagues at CMU.
If you do travel, please consider making an appointment for a surveillance test when you return. With rapid antigen testing now available, it is a quick and easy way to ensure you are not at risk of spreading the virus to others.
Please also consider getting vaccinated. All CMU students, faculty and staff are now eligible to receive vaccines. Vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and they are an important part of keeping ourselves and others safe.
I encourage you to view the vaccine panel discussion hosted by physicians from CMU College of Medicine and CMU Health. You also may wish to review the vaccine FAQ pages developed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pandemic fatigue is real, and I know many people are eager to be done with masks and distancing. In the words of CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, "Just please hold on a little while longer.”
We have come so far together — as a community and as a country — in this fight against COVID-19. We cannot give up now. Let’s continue to move forward.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Stay safe and be well,
Effective today, individuals aged 16 years or older who are residents of Mount Pleasant or one of its six surrounding counties can register to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine. And, beginning Monday, April 5, all Michigan residents 16 years and older are eligible.
This is wonderful news for our campus and community because it means our students — here in Mount Pleasant and in communities around the state — now have access to vaccines.
How do I sign up for a vaccine?
Students who live or work in Mount Pleasant or one of its surrounding six counties can sign up for an appointment through the Central Michigan District Health Department webpage beginning today, Thursday, April 1.
You also can register for an appointment on campus by visiting the CMU Health vaccine page, or find vaccination sites in other parts of the state on the Michigan vaccine locations webpage.
Considerations when scheduling your vaccine
As you make plans to receive a vaccine, it’s important to keep timing and your schedule in mind. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, given 3-4 weeks apart, so consider:
Your second dose of the vaccine must be from the same vaccine manufacturer as your first dose, so it is best to receive your second dose of the vaccine in the same location where you received your first dose. However, if necessary, you are able to receive the second dose in any Michigan county with your vaccination card. Learn more by visiting the CDC webpage on vaccines that require two shots.
Vaccines are a vital part of our community’s fight against COVID-19, and we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. As cases rise nationwide and across our state, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.
Please continue to wear your masks and practice social distancing. And, as temperatures rise and you make plans to travel, please be safe.
Remember, your actions and activities impact your friends and colleagues here at CMU — it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and our community.
If you travel, get tested and stay safe
Cases are on the rise in Michigan and beyond. If you plan to travel, even to head home for the long weekend, please get a COVID-19 test when you return. CMU’s surveillance testing program offers rapid antigen tests, which provide results in about 15 minutes. It’s an easy way to ensure you are not infected with the virus and to protect your friends, classmates and others.
Enjoy the wellness day tomorrow, and take care.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a disturbing rise in xenophobia, hate speech and violence against people of Asian descent. Last week’s murders of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, was a horrific reminder that racism and bigotry continue to plague our nation.
At Central Michigan University, we strongly condemn all acts of hate and violence, and we stand with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends from the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community. You belong here, and you are valued.
Our diversity makes us strong, and we appreciate the unique talents, gifts and perspectives of each member of our university community. This month, we are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage through a series of activities and events hosted by Multicultural Academic Student Services. I encourage everyone to participate in an event as a show of solidarity and support.
Several members of our campus community also are mourning the mass shooting that took place this week in Colorado. While the shooter’s motive remains unclear, the fact remains that 10 individuals lost their lives in another act of senseless violence.
These incidents are distressing, and some of our students, faculty and staff may be feeling anxious, fearful and sad. Please know we are here for you; if you need someone to talk to, please reach out. CMU offers counseling and support services for all students, faculty and staff. Please contact the CMU Counseling Center, CMU Health student psychiatry services or the Employee Assistance Program if you need help, and remember: You are not alone.
This has been a challenging year for everyone — physically, mentally and emotionally — and it is vitally important that we continue to take care of ourselves and each other. Thank you for all you are doing to lift one another up and to offer encouragement and support to your colleagues and friends.
Please also continue to take the necessary steps to protect yourselves and others from the threat of COVID-19. Michigan has seen a substantial increase in the number of new positive cases in recent days, and we are seeing new cases within our campus community as well.
Remember to continue to wear your mask and practice physical distancing, even if you have been vaccinated. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I hope you will sign up to receive it as soon as you are eligible. Remember that all employees, including student employees, can now register online at CMU Health or at the Central Michigan District Health Department webpage. Also, beginning April 5, vaccinations will be available in Michigan to everyone 16 years of age and older. All students will receive information soon on how and where they can be vaccinated.
We all are feeling a large sense of pandemic fatigue, and often also a sense of separate-ness or loneliness. When you feel sad or down, think of the people who are important to you — it is for them that you continue practicing safety measures and abiding by health department guidelines. Take time to reach out to your friends, family, classmates and colleagues to check in on them, and to renew your sense of purpose.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University
Please join me in wishing our student-athletes good luck during March Madness! First, help us cheer on four CMU wrestlers who are competing in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis this week. Next, we are Fired Up to wish our women’s basketball team good luck this weekend as they take on the University of Iowa in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament in San Antonio.
The experience of these student-athletes mirrors the experience of our entire campus community. Like all of us, their schedules and expectations were thrown off by the virus. As a team, they’ve faced considerable challenges. They have made plans and then had to change them rapidly, only to change them again.
Yet, because they worked together as a team, they have successfully navigated a difficult season. They remained focused on their goal and on supporting each other. Now, their hard work is paying off on the national stage.
We, too, have navigated a challenging year together. Now, thanks to your dedication and sacrifices, our efforts are making a difference. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
As Michigan begins to slowly reopen, we are seeing an uptick in the number of positive COVID-19 cases around the state. Our campus also has seen an increase in the number of new cases. Any new cases remain a cause for concern, and it is important to remain vigilant about wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, even after receiving a vaccine.
It is very exciting news that more of our faculty, staff and student workers are now eligible to be vaccinated, and I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity. Remember, you can sign up for an appointment online when you qualify and even have your shot here on campus at one of the clinics in Finch Fieldhouse — two more have been added for next week Wednesday and Thursday. You also can sign up for an appointment through the Central Michigan District Health Department website.
This week, students who are eligible to receive funds from the second round of the CARES Act are receiving information from Student Account Services and University Billing in their CMU email. Information about eligibility also is available on our CARES Act webpage. There is a deadline to complete the acknowledgement form for funding, so I encourage eligible students to review the information carefully and take action quickly to receive support.
Next Tuesday is another wellness day, and I hope our faculty and students will take advantage of the time off from classes. I know these single days off are not the same as a traditional spring break with a full week off, but I hope they still provide a little breathing room in your week to rest and relax.
Dear students, colleagues and friends,
One year ago this week, our university community had to shift the way we work, learn and live at what seemed like a moment’s notice. COVID-19 was spreading rapidly throughout our country, and it was imperative for us to take all of the recommended health and safety protocols seriously as we shifted to remote work and classes.
Over the past 12 months, we have faced challenges we never imagined we would have to face. Yet, we’ve persevered.
You — our students, faculty and staff — have continued to learn, lead, research, perform, connect, support, teach, innovate and make a difference. You have stepped up to protect and help each other, and those in communities around us. You have lifted each other up in so many ways.
While this pandemic is not yet over, there is hope with the rollout of more vaccines. We are aware of more than 600 faculty and staff who have been vaccinated to date, and we continue to receive vaccines each week to administer at our campus clinics. Also, just this week, our Mobile Health Central vehicle traveled to two rural communities in our area to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to residents. Thank you to those involved in all CMU vaccination efforts for making a difference.
This hope and progress — along with the consistently low number of COVID-19 cases in our campus community this spring — have guided our plans for the fall 2021 semester. I am proud of our efforts to keep CMU open and operational throughout this pandemic, and I am excited to say that our campus will remain open for students this fall. Classes begin Aug. 30, and our first-ever fall wellness break is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 11-12.
Continuing to keep health and safety at the forefront, we are planning for increased occupancy in our residence halls, and you will see more activities happening throughout campus. Currently, more than 50% of our courses are scheduled to be face-to-face, compared to only 10% this spring and 2% in fall 2020. In addition, 26% of our scheduled fall courses include a face-to-face component with HyFlex and Hybrid course modalities. As we continue to follow health and safety protocols, these course modalities are subject to change.
Since registration opened Feb. 22, more faculty have made the decision to offer face-to-face options for their courses, and most of these courses are at capacity constraints under current COVID-19 protocols. This tells us that our students want in-person options, and everyone at CMU is Fired Up to make it happen.
Thank you for your continued commitment to keeping our campus community safe and healthy. This last year has been difficult, but we continue to set the leadership standard in all that we do.
Today is National Employee Appreciation Day, and I want to begin today’s message with a sincere “thank you” to all our faculty and staff, as well as our student employees.
When we talk about the mission of our university and the ways we serve and support students, we are talking about the ongoing efforts of compassionate and caring individuals. It is the hard work and passion of all our employees that creates our culture, shapes our values and powers our vision. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our university, for our students and for all our many stakeholders. I am proud to call you my colleagues and friends.
This afternoon, Gov. Whitmer announced the appointment of two new members of CMU’s Board of Trustees. I am excited to welcome Trustee Regine Beauboeuf to our university, and to welcome back CMU graduate Trustee Sharon Heath. I look forward to the new perspectives and experiences they will bring to our board.
This week, we also received two pieces of exciting news that have given me great hope for our fight against COVID-19.
First, as Dr. Kikano shared earlier this week, we have been approved as a vaccination site by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. This designation enables us to increase our services to our local community and to further our goal to facilitate vaccine access for students, faculty and staff. While we still must adhere to the prioritization schedule set by the MDHHS and our local health department, this is an important step in expediting the delivery of vaccines in our area. Since we began hosting vaccination clinics on our campus, we have helped more than 900 individuals receive vaccines, including several hundred CMU employees.
Next, MDHHS announced it is opening vaccine access to individuals aged 50 years and older, regardless of their health, beginning later this month. This is outstanding news for Central Michigan University, as it means a greater population of our campus community will soon be eligible to receive vaccines. It also is great progress for our state.
As Michigan continues to receive large quantities of vaccines on a weekly basis, we are strengthening our efforts to slow — and hopefully stop — the spread of the virus. The vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and I hope every member of our community will consider becoming vaccinated when it is their turn to do so. Members of our community will be contacted via their CMU email when they become eligible to receive a vaccination, based on the prioritization schedule set by MDHSS and our local health department, based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As always, we will continue to do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus by wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Our efforts are working well; we reported only five new positive cases this week. Thank you for protecting yourself and others.
Next week, we will hold another spring wellness day for students and faculty on Wednesday, and I hope you will take advantage of the time away from classes, labs and homework to rest and recharge.
Dear faculty, staff and students –
I am pleased to announce that Central Michigan University has been approved as a designated COVID-19 vaccination administration site by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). This means that CMU Health can now receive vaccines from MDHHS or other vendors — such as our local health department — and administer them to those on the priority lists established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MDHSS.
Due to limited supply, CMU is not yet receiving vaccines directly from MDHHS, and we’re unsure when we may begin receiving direct shipments. The Central Michigan District Health Department, however, is regularly receiving more vaccines, which shows great progress in the fight against COVID-19 in our area.
To expedite the distribution of these vaccines, the health department has asked CMU Health to hold clinics on campus in addition to those that were previously scheduled by the health department every Wednesday through the end of April. At these clinics, CMU Health staff will administer vaccines to Isabella County residents on the health department’s priority list. This may include several individuals within the CMU community who have registered through the CMDHD.
This week, CMDHD provided CMU with 600 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which will be administered by appointment only during three clinics at Finch Fieldhouse on March 4, 8 and 9.
Again, please remember that MDHHS and our local health department set the prioritization schedules for who may receive vaccines and when. Thus, vaccinations for all the clinics at CMU are currently by appointment only. If you are eligible to register for an appointment, you will be contacted directly by email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is our goal to facilitate access to vaccines for members of the CMU community when they are eligible to receive them, as established by the CDC and MDHHS guidelines. Becoming a vaccination site is a great step toward that goal.
As President Davies communicated last week, CMU is proud to partner with our local health department to provide facilities and resources for vaccine clinics on our campus. It is another way our university community is playing an important role in slowing the spread of the virus in our region.
We look forward to providing additional updates related to vaccine distribution and availability as we have them. In the meantime, thank you for your continued vigilance in protecting yourself and others against COVID-19.
George E. Kikano, M.D.
Vice president, health affairs
Dean, CMU College of Medicine
Earlier this week, the death toll of COVID-19 surpassed 500,000 in the U.S., a sobering reminder that the virus remains a threat to health and safety. Although the number of confirmed cases at CMU remain low — only three new cases reported this week — we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect ourselves and others. Thank you for continuing to use the health screening app, wear a mask, practice social distancing and participate in our surveillance testing program.
Earlier this month, the Central Michigan District Health Department hosted a two-day vaccination clinic in Finch Fieldhouse. Tremendous thanks to all the staff who coordinated the logistics to bring the clinic to our campus, as well as to the students, faculty and staff who volunteered to assist with the registration process and administration of vaccines. I have heard from several individuals who were involved, and all expressed the pride they felt having played an important role in slowing the spread of the virus and in serving our community.
We are fortunate to have the facilities and resources to support our local health department in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, and we expect to hold more clinics on campus in March and April.
It is important to remember that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and our local health department set the prioritization schedules for who may receive vaccines and when; we do not have the ability to provide vaccines to people before it is their turn to receive them. Our goal continues to be to facilitate access to vaccines for members of our community when they are eligible to receive them, as established by health department guidelines.
Our partnership with the health department is just one example of how our university can serve many stakeholders. We exist for our students, faculty and staff, and also for our community members, neighbors and partner organizations.
Finding new ways to expand the reach of CMU and to find new opportunities to serve our community are key focus areas of our Strategic Envisioning Process. I hope you will join me virtually for the 2021 State of the University address next week at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, to learn about these and other goals we will pursue in the year ahead.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University
Over the past two months in Michigan, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of daily reported cases of COVID-19. For several days, we have seen statewide numbers below 500 for the first time in many months. And, here at CMU, we have recorded only 5 positive cases this week.
While the virus and its new variants continue to pose a threat to our community, our efforts to remain healthy and safe are having a positive impact. Wearing masks, washing your hands often, using the health screening app and practicing social distancing are slowing the spread of COVID-19. Please keep up the good work!
Like many within our community, I begin every day reading. For about a year, this morning routine has often served to deflate my spirits; many of the articles written about higher education during the pandemic have been rather bleak. Most headlines focus on large outbreaks, financial hardships and declining mental health.
However, there have been a few that focused on the unexpected and positive outcomes of the pandemic. I enjoyed reading this reflection piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education last month, which highlighted some of the same points of light I have seen in our own university community.
We have all learned some new tricks
The forced shift to virtual teaching and learning and the continued use of new technologies empowered us to expand our skill sets. Many of us are now far more comfortable using online platforms and tools, and we all have had ample additional practice with time management. When we eventually emerge from the pandemic, even if we shift back to prior methods of doing our work, we will be more proficient and effective in our daily tasks.
We have refocused on what is truly important to us
For many of us, this has involved a shift to spend more time with family and friends, and setting aside of some tasks that feel obligatory but joyless. In our professional lives, we have put our attention on what really matters: our students. I have seen our faculty and staff put in incredible effort and long hours to support students both in and out of the classroom, and I have seen students going the extra mile to lift up their friends and classmates.
We are resilient and brave
I am impressed by the grit and positivity demonstrated every day by our students, faculty and staff. Our university has faced innumerable challenges and difficulties, and yet the members of this community continue to show up and put in their best work. Even after a full year of pandemic challenges, we set the leadership standard, and we do it with a Fired-Up attitude.
You are the source of my inspiration and purpose — you are my silver lining.
In preparation for this week’s meeting of the CMU Board of Trustees, I reviewed many of the messages I have shared with our campus community over the past 12 months. Often, they have focused on our successes — the things that we have done well. I strongly believe in the power of positivity and the need for hope, especially when it feels we are often bombarded by bad news from external sources.
However, it is important to acknowledge the bad along with the good and to address frustrations alongside our achievements.
There is no question: Things have not been easy.
Our community has talked about burnout, mental health and the hard truth that it has become harder to balance our school, work and personal lives. We also must acknowledge that the past year has not always lived up to our hopes and expectations.
I miss high fives and handshakes. I miss the small talk that happens before and after in-person meetings. And, perhaps most of all, I miss engaging with students, faculty and staff throughout the day.
I miss sitting down with groups of students to learn about their CMU experiences, often spontaneously over lunch in one of our residential restaurants. I miss walking through campus and chatting with staff members I pass along the way, and visiting faculty in their offices or classes — I miss hearing them talk about their work and their passion for what they do.
On days when we feel burned out, or when the challenges brought on by the pandemic feel overwhelming, it is important to celebrate the small wins. Sometimes the small win is getting through a difficult meeting or finishing a challenging assignment. Sometimes the wins are longer-lasting — surviving a whole week of hard meetings and assignments!
There also are truly big wins, like having a great conversation with a friend or receiving a note of gratitude from a colleague. I hope that my emails to you often feel like notes of gratitude because you are making a tremendous difference for CMU.
This is a challenging and uncertain moment for higher education, and your efforts and energy enable us to keep going. Every member of this community is working hard and doing their best. You are acting as cheerleaders for friends and colleagues who need encouragement. You put in extra effort to make sure your projects, assignments, classes and other tasks are of the highest quality. You are making time to support one another personally and professionally.
This isn’t Pollyanna thinking; this is an act of gratitude scientifically shown to improve health and maximize our ability to cope with stressful situations. The smallest acts of kindness are making a tremendous difference, and it is vital that we continue to acknowledge and celebrate them.
I hope you will join me in taking a moment each day to thank someone whose efforts are making a difference for you.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University
Dear student residents,
This morning, I became aware of several concerns regarding current residence hall entrance policies.
As you know, entrance policies and guest restrictions have been in place since last summer before the academic year began. These expectations and safety measures were enacted to help keep our residents as safe as possible during the pandemic by limiting non-resident access to the halls.
Based upon the current number of COVID-19 cases in our halls and on campus, these measures have been very successful. CMU has experienced some of the lowest COVID-19 rates among other Michigan colleges and universities this entire academic year. As of this morning, we only have five active cases on campus. I applaud our entire university community for following all safety precautions to keep everyone safe. THANK YOU!
Taking the low case numbers and your feedback into consideration, we will begin allowing student residents to utilize side entrance doors with their ID cards. We will work with our campus partners to begin reprogramming all exit doors immediately, but please understand that this may take a couple days to complete. Standard nighttime security hours will still be enforced and all student residents must continue to use the front doors during this time.
Please be aware, however, that if COVID-19 cases increase we will likely prohibit side door access once again to help mitigate spread.
Non-resident guests are still NOT PERMITTED in our residence halls. Any student who allows non-residents of their hall to enter the building will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and will face disciplinary actions up to a $1,000 fine and/or suspension from the university.
We are committed to maintaining a safe environment in the halls and do not want to jeopardize the success of our current policies in reducing COVID-19 transmission. Each of us plays a key role in this through the decisions we make.
Thank you for your understanding and commitment to keeping our halls as safe as possible during these very challenging times. Mask up and wash your hands often!
Anthony A. Voisin
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
At the end of last year, a colleague sent me a link to a story about the most stressful years in U.S. history. Unsurprisingly, 2020 was ranked in the top ten; however, somewhat surprisingly, it was not among the top five.
The list of catastrophic years and events demonstrated one thing very clearly: Humans are resilient. We persevere through plagues and pandemics; we outlast stock market crashes and diplomatic crises; we weather wars; and we mourn leaders even as we commit to move forward to carry on their legacies.
We do, however, sometimes get tired.
I know many of us are wearing thin as we continue to practice safety measures and miss out on time with friends and family. It can be frustrating to hear exciting news about vaccines only to learn the rollout will take many months to complete. Many of us are asking, “When will this be over?”
I have never wished so profoundly for a crystal ball — or even a Magic 8 ball — that could provide a definitive answer to the question of when we will return to a semblance of normalcy. It is tempting to look for a single date in time to hang our hopes upon, yet it can be counterproductive to do so.
Many in our community are familiar with the story of Admiral James Stockdale, who was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for almost eight years. He survived torture and interrogation, and he became a symbol for resilience in the face of tremendous adversity.
When asked how he made it through when others did not, Stockdale spoke of fellow soldiers who set artificial deadlines for their rescue and became increasingly depressed when those dates passed without release. Stockdale said he survived because he focused on the idea that he would get out rather than when it would happen.
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be,” Stockdale said in an interview after his release.
We are facing brutal facts about COVID-19. We continue to see related deaths, and there are new, more contagious variants and a slower-than-expected vaccination process.
Yet hope is on the horizon. In Michigan, the number of new cases is on the decline and across the country, there are more than 100,000 fewer new cases today than one month ago. More vaccines are being shipped to communities and new vaccines are in development.
We do not know when this will be over, but we maintain confidence and optimism that it will end. And while things will not go back to the way they were before, we remain hopeful that good times are ahead for us all.
We are a community known for our determination and resilience. We exemplify a Fired-Up attitude that enables us to power through challenges with passion and purpose. And, when we feel tired and worn thin, we know we can depend on our friends, mentors and colleagues to lift us up and help us along the way.
This weekend, many of you will be cheering on the CMU alumni participating in this year’s Super Bowl, and I hope you will do so safely. The last thing we want is to turn a Super Bowl celebration into a super spreader event, so please continue to wash your hands, practice safe distancing and wear a mask if you will be around others. Remember, too, that local health orders limiting gathering size are still in place. Please, take care of yourself and others.
We have shown that we can do what needs to be done, and we can continue to do the things that will keep us healthy and safe. We can protect ourselves and others because that, quite simply, is what We Do.
Thank you for all that YOU do.
Thank you for another outstanding week at Central Michigan University. This week, we reported only five new positive cases of COVID-19 on our campus. Thank you for continuing to wear your masks and for maintaining six feet of distance whenever possible.
One important way to protect our community is to closely monitor the presence of the virus on our campus. Help us set the leadership standard and keep tabs on COVID-19 by participating in our voluntary surveillance testing program. The nasal swab process is simple and quick, and the data collected helps CMU prepare for and respond immediately to new cases. Please sign up for a surveillance testing appointment today!
COVID-19 has presented us with many challenges, but it also has presented us with an opportunity to respond to crisis with innovation. We now have an extraordinary opportunity to rethink what our university can and should be, now and in the future. I will explore this idea further at the 2021 State of the University Address, and I hope you will save the date to join me virtually on Wednesday, March 3. More details will follow soon.
As the pandemic wears on, many of us have experienced feelings of isolation and even loneliness. For our mental health and well-being, it is vital that we find safe ways to lift one another up and spend quality time with our friends, classmates and colleagues.
I was discussing this today with Alysa Lucas from the Department of Communication. She said, “Humans need connection, especially during the pandemic; however, when we focus solely on the idea of social distancing, we miss the opportunity to be creative with ways to reach out to our friends, classmates, and co-workers who may or may not be at physical distance, as well as we miss out on ways to create new connections.” She is exploring this theme in a research project with Kayla Kuczynski, an undergraduate Honors student, and I am excited to hear what they find.
At CMU, We Do community, and even when we are physically distant, we can remain socially connected. I want to congratulate — and thank — all the groups at CMU who are finding creative ways to remain meaningfully engaged. Here are just a few examples I saw this week on social media:
I also want to thank the extraordinary teams in our Center for Inclusion and Diversity and Office of Diversity Education who continue to provide outstanding community building activities and educational opportunities for our entire campus community. Here are a few upcoming ways to engage:
Our first spring wellness day is next week, Thursday, Feb. 4, and several campus offices are hosting wellness activities. Students, consider The Art of Wellness hosted by CMU Counseling Center and the Office of Student Activities and Involvement. No matter how you choose to spend the first wellness day, I hope you will make time for rest and self-care.
Your mental health is important. If you need help or would like to talk to someone, CMU has resources for students, faculty and staff: Please call the Counseling Center or the Employee Assistance Program. Remember, you are not alone, and you are an important and vital part of this community.
Dear students, faculty and staff,
Last week, we learned that a new variant of COVID-19 reached Michigan and has been identified at another university community within our state. A recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update suggests that this new variant strain, B.1.1.7, spreads more easily and quickly.
With the guidance of our state and local health departments, together with our partners in the medical community, we are closely monitoring this new variant. While this strain has not been identified at CMU, we must redouble our efforts to protect ourselves and others.
The good news is that we already know what we need to do, and we have been doing it successfully at CMU for nearly a year.
By vigilantly following these CDC-recommended health and safety protocols, we have protected ourselves and our families, friends, neighbors and colleagues:
We have been able to offer on-campus, in-person living and learning experiences only because our students, faculty and staff accepted the personal and social responsibility to keep our community safe. Now is the time to once again set the leadership standard.
As we double-down on our efforts to further slow the spread of the virus and the new variant, please remember to:
We can do this. Our successes in the fall semester were possible because the members of this community were committed to doing the right thing. Let us replicate that success again now.
Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony was full of inspirational moments and messages, yet one moment in particular stood out for me. I was deeply moved as the nation’s youngest inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, spoke these words:
"We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man. And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us".
In her passionate, eloquent performance, I heard the voices of CMU students.
Since arriving in 2018, I have been continually encouraged by and grateful for the leadership, strength of character and compassion I see in our students. Even in the moments of greatest doubt and frustration, even amidst the global pandemic and struggle for justice and peace, they never lost sight of their purpose and determination – or their hope.
I also am inspired by the commitment of our faculty and staff, who lay the foundation and cultivate a culture that supports and lifts our students so their voices can be heard.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve this community of leaders. Thank you for being a source of hope, optimism and pride every day.
A strong start
This year, we hosted CMU’s first-ever virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Week. Kudos and thanks to students and staff of Multicultural Academic Student Services, the Center for Inclusion and Diversity, the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, A Mile in Our Shoes and partner organizations whose outstanding work made the CommUNITY Peace Service, Day of Service and other activities so successful.
And, to all the students, faculty and staff who have made these first few weeks of 2021 a success in classrooms, on campus and online: Thank you. You have truly set the leadership standard for this new semester and this new year.
Many members of our community are eager to know when they can expect to receive their vaccines. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released an updated expected timeline for vaccine distribution, and it looks as though it may be summer before the majority of our community will have the opportunity to be vaccinated.
We know, however, that circumstances can change quickly, and we have high hopes for greater momentum as new vaccines become available. Please know that we continue to work closely with our local and state partners on this effort.
As I mentioned earlier this month, our goal remains to facilitate vaccination access to every student, faculty and staff member who wants a vaccine when it is their turn to receive it, as established by recommendations and guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The vaccine is only one component of the plan to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible, and we can all do our part to protect ourselves and others. Please do your part by continuing these important efforts:
As a university community, we have done an outstanding job continuing our mission in spite of this pandemic. We are showing the world what We Do at CMU. We did not begin 2021 free from challenges, but we did begin it with renewed resolve and a Fired-Up attitude. Let’s keep it going. After all, as Ms. Gorman said, "Now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?"
The past twelve months have been extremely challenging for us all — as individuals and as a community. Our news feeds are full of information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout, as well as stories of political unrest, including the recent violence at the U.S. Capitol building and reports of potential armed protests leading up to and on inauguration day.
To all this, add the excitement and stresses of starting a new academic semester. It is a lot to carry, and it is completely normal to be feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
We all experience these world events differently and they affect us differently because of our life experiences and backgrounds. Some members of our community may be impacted more deeply, especially if they have experienced previous traumatic events.
We are here to help you. If you need assistance, or just someone to talk to, there are resources on campus to support you.
CMU Counseling Center
CMU Care Advocates
Whether you need help or are concerned for the well-being of another person, contact the CMU Care Team for confidential assistance by filling out the online form or calling the Care Line at 989-774-2273.
You also can find a list of additional resources on CMU's Find Help webpage, and you can review this information about traumatic events and how to cope from our Counseling Center.
You are not alone – we are here to support you. If you need help, please reach out and ask.
Dr. Mary C. Schutten
Executive Vice President and Provost
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Beginning Monday, Jan. 18, we will continue the Central Michigan University tradition of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a “day on, not a day off,” as well as a series of activities and programs throughout the week. Thanks to the hard work of students and staff from Multicultural Academic Student Services, we are able to celebrate together virtually in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
The past year — and the past few weeks — highlighted and exacerbated what Dr. King referred to as the “unrelenting struggle” for peace, justice and equality. As a community, we must embrace this opportunity to come together in a show of solidarity and unity. I hope you will join me Monday morning for the CommUNITY Peace Service and make plans to participate in as many activities as possible next week.
Next week is also the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. We are aware of reports of planned armed protests in many cities across the nation, and CMU Police and our Emergency Management teams are working with state and local officials to monitor the situation closely.
A peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our political history, and we remain hopeful that next week will continue that tradition. As you plan your time for this important day, I encourage each of you to commit yourselves to uphold our core values — respect, compassion and social responsibility — and set the leadership standard for others through our words and actions.
These are challenging times, and feeling anxious, frustrated or sad is completely normal. Early next week, we will provide students, faculty and staff with a list of resources that can support you. Remember, you are not alone, and we are here to help.
Finally, we also will resume in-person learning at CMU next week, and I know many students and faculty are excited to return to the classroom. Please do so safely! COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in many areas, and we must all do our part to protect ourselves and others from the virus. Please, remember to:
Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and satellite locations, as well as in our communities. Thank you for doing your part to remain safe.
Welcome to another outstanding year at Central Michigan University! Whether you are spending this year with us on our main campus, in one of our satellite locations or online, I hope you are refreshed and ready for excellence.
As we begin, please join me in thanking the members of our community who continued to work during the winter break to ensure we could all enjoy a successful start to 2021. We would not be where we are today without their efforts!
The start of a new year carries with it hopes for a fresh start — an opportunity to begin again with a blank slate to be filled with our aspirations, goals and dreams. Life, however, does not often ascribe to the calendar year, and most challenges do not suddenly disappear at 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Instead of a blank slate, we are beginning 2021 still faced with many of the challenges of 2020.
The events that took place last week in our nation’s capital were shocking, and many of us still feel anxious, frustrated, sad and angry. While we cannot change the events of the past, remember that we have the power — here at CMU and beyond — to be part of changing the future.
We are beginning 2021 with new hope and solutions for addressing the challenges of the past.
For example, although we still see new cases of COVID-19 rising in some areas — including a new strain of the virus — millions of vaccines are being shipped worldwide, and several new vaccinations are still being developed and tested. We saw young people turn out in record numbers in recent elections, and we now have an opportunity to build on their momentum to usher in a new era of civic engagement.
Every day, we are taking new steps toward a healthier, safer and brighter future.
At CMU, we have the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of 2020 — including the virus, economic challenges, racial inequality and others — and to respond to them with new hope, renewed passion and strengthened resolve in 2021. And we can do so together, working as a community united by our commitment to make a positive difference for our families, neighbors and friends.
How will you make 2021 a better, brighter year? Take a moment today to answer that question. Identify the goals and priorities you want to achieve — academically, professionally and personally — and write them down. Make an action plan for each, and list the people and resources you can rely on to help you accomplish those plans.
Remember: You are surrounded by people who want to see you succeed, so do not hesitate to ask for their help.
This is going to be an exciting year, full of new challenges that will require us to be our most innovative, creative and excellent selves. Let’s greet them together with a Fired-Up attitude.
We continue to see exciting news about vaccinations for COVID-19 — as of this week, more than 4 million doses have been distributed in the U.S., and three more vaccines are in phase 3 clinical trials. This is a tremendous triumph for research and science, and I am excited and optimistic about our ability to combat the spread of the virus moving forward.
While there are still many unanswered questions about the availability and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the benefits are clear. Vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and getting vaccinated is an important step in protecting ourselves and others.
Supplies of COVID-19 vaccines are limited. Because of this, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations for the prioritization and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is following those recommendations.
This means vaccines will be distributed in the following phases:
Our local health department reports that Phase 1A is well underway. Residents of many long-term care facilities are receiving vaccinations now, as are personnel at our local hospitals and medical offices. Many of CMU’s frontline medical workers, including teams at CMU Health and third- and fourth-year medical students, have received their first dose of the vaccine.
Phase 1B will begin this month and will likely run through mid-to-late March, and we hope that the majority of individuals who wish to receive a vaccination will have the opportunity to do so beginning in late spring.
Our goal is to make the vaccine available to every faculty, staff and student who wants to receive it as soon as possible, while remaining within the guidelines set by the CDC and MDHHS.
In other words, we hope to ensure that every member of our community is able to receive the vaccine when it is their turn to do so, as outlined in the phases above.
CMU has applied to become a vaccination administration site. If approved, this would allow CMU to receive and administer vaccinations directly, though prioritization would still be a considerable factor given the limited supply of vaccines. We anticipate hearing about our application within the next month.
During Phase 1, CMU may, from time to time, have the opportunity to receive a small number of vaccines from our local health care partners. We may not receive much advance notification of vaccine availability, and we must be able to accept and administer them on a very tight timeline. In these instances, we will distribute the vaccines to individuals identified as essential for health, safety and continuity of operations.
We will keep you informed as we learn more about the availability and distribution of vaccines. Look for updates on the vaccine page of the Fired Up for Spring website, and check your email regularly.
In the meantime, there are many things you can continue to do to protect yourself and your families, friends, neighbors and colleagues:
Thank you for all you do to keep our community healthy and safe.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University
I hope you are enjoying a relaxing winter break and are looking forward to a successful start to 2021.
Thanks to your hard work in the fall, Central Michigan University was able to offer on-campus living and learning opportunities for the entire semester. Now we have the opportunity to set the leadership standard again as we prepare for our spring semester. Let us build upon the lessons we learned in 2020 and make 2021 the best year yet at CMU.
I want to share a few important updates for the spring semester related to:
The news has been full of exciting updates about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and many members of our university community have asked when students, faculty and staff can expect to receive one. Throughout the break, we have been meeting regularly with state and local health officials to learn more about the proposed process, and I can share with you what we know now.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and our local health department are following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines for individuals.
We will continue to update you as more information about the timeline becomes available. For now, we are focused on ensuring our university community has access to vaccinations as they become available. Rest assured that our goal is to provide access on campus to every individual who wants a vaccine when it is their turn to receive it, as established by the health department guidelines.
Returning safely to CMU
To reduce the likelihood of virus spread on our campus and in our community, health officials highly recommend limiting interactions with people outside the members of your household or immediate family for at least two weeks before returning to CMU. And when you arrive in Mount Pleasant, limit in-person social activities and avoid gatherings for at least one full week before attending classes.
We also ask that all students be tested before returning to campus. You can find a testing site in Michigan by visiting Michigan’s coronavirus website and in other states by visiting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. On-campus COVID-19 testing for individuals who are symptomatic or have been identified as close contacts begins Jan. 4. Surveillance testing appointments begin again Jan. 5, and you can sign up for a testing appointment online.
Health and safety measures
The CDC-recommended practices to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19 proved effective at CMU in 2020, and so we will implement them again for 2021. Please review our health and safety protocols before returning to campus, and adhere to them every day, even before you return to campus.
Remember, the health and safety of our community is our shared responsibility. We protect ourselves and others by wearing masks, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding large gatherings. I know you will continue to do your part to protect everyone around you.
Support for students
You made an investment in your future by choosing to pursue your degree at Central Michigan University, and we are here to help you achieve your goals. Whether you need to talk to someone in the Counseling Center about managing stress, meet with an academic advisor to review your class schedule and plans, or schedule time with your instructor to navigate a challenging class, please don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
While the spring semester will once again present challenges for our university community, I am optimistic about the year ahead and eager to welcome you back to campus.
Be well, mask up, and Fire Up Chips!
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University
In a press conference today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services asked colleges and universities to postpone their return to campus and in-person learning plans until around Jan. 16, 2020.
I want to reassure you that this extension does not affect CMU’s academic plans for the spring semester. It does, however, affect when undergraduate students can move back to our residence halls.
We are scheduled to have our first week of classes, Jan. 11-15, in a remote-only modality, with in-person instruction beginning Jan. 19. Therefore, our spring schedule aligns with the current order, and this schedule remains intact and does not change.
Undergraduate students may now return to their residence halls beginning Friday, Jan. 15. For students who need to return to their campus residences to access their online classes, some accommodations for early check-in may be available. The Office of Residence Life will send information about move-in to students’ CMU email accounts very soon.
To reduce the likelihood of virus spread on our campus and in our community, health officials highly recommend limiting interactions with people outside the members of your household or immediate family for at least two weeks prior to returning to CMU. And, when you arrive in Mount Pleasant, limit in-person social activities and avoid gatherings for at least one full week prior to attending classes.
We also ask you to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus. You can find a testing site in Michigan by visiting Michigan’s coronavirus website. CMU will once again conduct surveillance testing to help us monitor and quickly respond to virus trends. On-campus COVID-19 testing for individuals who are symptomatic or who have been identified as close contacts begins Jan. 4. Surveillance testing appointments are available beginning Jan. 5, and you can sign up for a testing appointment online.
We are optimistic we will be able to proceed with our Fired Up for Spring plans. Today’s announcement regarding the epidemic order affirms our decision to hold classes remotely the first week and to resume face-to-face, HyFlex and hybrid classes beginning Jan. 19. As always, we will be ready to adapt if plans change. Our Emergency Management Team, in partnership with university leadership, has prepared contingency plans for a variety of scenarios, and we will continue to update you as the semester progresses.
I hope you are enjoying the winter break, and I look forward to seeing you again in January.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dear students, colleagues and friends,
The Thanksgiving holiday, and this season of the year, have long been a special time to pause to
give thanks for the people and moments in our lives that make them truly special. This year, as we
continue to navigate this global pandemic, this practice of gratitude is more than simply a display
of holiday spirit — it can be a way to practice good self-care.
Over the past few decades, there have been a number of studies in the positive psychology field
related to the practice of thankfulness and expressions of gratitude. As it turns out, there
are many benefits to the act of giving thanks that can impact everything from the quality of
your sleep to your overall physical health.
Yet, as we continue to face new challenges daily due to this pandemic, it may be hard at times to
identify reasons to feel grateful. When the stress of shifting how we teach, learn and work combines
with concerns for friends and loved ones, it is often hard to find moments to celebrate.
Around this time each year, I challenge my family to identify and recognize the people and things
that inspire their gratitude. This year, I ask you, too, to find your reason to feel
Over the long holiday weekend, spend a few moments in thoughtful reflection about the people who
supported you this year and about the wins you have had — even the small ones, like choosing to put
in a little extra effort on an assignment or task and feeling good about the outcome. Think about
the moments you have had with the people you care about, in person or virtually, that kept you
And then I encourage you to write them down. I regularly send handwritten thank-you
notes to people on campus who have assisted or supported me. I hope this gesture makes the recipient
feel good, and it also is enjoyable and fulfilling for me; it is a “task” I genuinely look forward
to completing. Send a thank-you note or even an email to someone who inspired you, or start a
gratitude journal and write down some of the people and things you feel thankful for in 2020. Count
your blessings. Put your positivity and gratitude out into the world, and brighten the day for the
people around you.
I will share an example from my own experience during the pandemic. When we had to shift to
remote-only operations in spring, I was able to have dinner with my family every night for a month —
something we have never been able to do in my daughter’s life. We played board games, I told “bad
Dad jokes,” and, most importantly, we spent serious quality time together. Those are memories I will
cherish forever. Although it feels strange to say it, I am grateful that this pandemic gave us the
opportunity to slow down and spend time together.
I hope that this holiday season you are able to step away from the frustrations and challenges of
school and work, and spend time engaged with people and activities that fill your soul. Find moments
that inspire gratitude, and share them with others, whether virtually or in person.
Be well, take care, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Dear students, colleagues and friends,
In lieu of an email this week, I would like to share a few thoughts with you in a more personal
format. Please click below for an end-of-semester video message.
Bob Davies, CMU President
The new three-week
epidemic order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services likely raised many
questions for you about how we will end our semester here at Central Michigan University.
First, know that CMU remains open and ready to help you successfully complete this
semester. You remain our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure you have
access to everything you need to finish strong.
Next, understand that these new orders will change a few aspects of our operations that may
affect your final days of class and your final exams.
We have developed a Frequently Asked
Questions page to clarify some of the changes coming in the days ahead — please review it
carefully. In addition, your instructors will reach out to you in the next few days to share
updates about how you will complete final classes, projects and exams.
The new orders take effect Wednesday morning and continue into December, but they do not affect
our plans for spring. We still anticipate welcoming our main campus students back in
This has been a year of disruptions and forced adjustments, and yet you have persevered and made it
to the last few days of classes and exams. I know you can make it through to the end. Remember to
ask for help when you need it — we are all here to support you.
Be well, finish strong and Fire Up Chips!
Bob Davies, president
In a press conference this evening, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services responded to
the increasing threat of COVID-19 in our state by issuing a three-week emergency epidemic order,
which takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 18.
These statewide efforts to slow the spread of the virus include higher education institutions and
shift nearly all instruction to remote-only starting on Wednesday and continuing for the
rest of the semester. This order also will likely affect our on-campus staffing and
And so, as we enter our last full week of the fall semester, we now must adjust again.
Students: Rest assured, this will not affect our support for you as you finish your
semester. We may de-densify campus, as we did in March, but will ensure you have access to the tools
and resources you need to succeed. This will not change.
Faculty and staff: University leadership, in partnership with our Emergency
Management Team, will discuss details of this order at length over the next couple of days and
develop answers to questions we all have.
We will communicate with our entire campus community again soon as we know more about our path
In the meantime, please continue to do your part by wearing a mask and social distancing when you
must be amongst others. As a university, we remain prepared to adjust for this new order and the
myriad ways COVID-19 will continue to impact our operations for students, faculty and staff in
I am proud of the way that we, as a community, have navigated challenges together throughout this
year. This shift to remote learning is based on the widespread increase in cases throughout the
state and is not a reflection on our efforts here at CMU. In many ways, through your dedication to
protect our community, we set the standard for other universities. Together, we adhered to our
mission of being student-centered and committed to our academic and civic goals.
Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, for Central Michigan University.
Dear students, colleagues and friends,
Exams begin next week, and there is still time to finish the semester strong.
Students: You can do this! Study hard, take advantage of your instructors’
office hours and make sure to get plenty of rest ahead of finals. I look forward to hearing your
Midnight Screams next week!
Faculty and staff: We have worked hard to come so far together, and we all are
looking forward to the winter break to recharge our batteries. Use these last few weeks to finalize
projects and to plan ahead for a successful spring.
Our home football game against Western Michigan is next week, and although we cannot gather in
Kelly/Shorts Stadium to cheer them on, I hope many of you plan to watch the game on ESPN2. More than
711,000 viewers tuned in for our last home game, and I believe we can top that figure as we beat the
Remember to be safe while cheering on our CMU Chippewas — avoid crowded locations
and watch parties. If you are around others, wear a mask and maintain social distance. Celebrate
safely so we can finish strong together.
As the semester comes to a close, many students are preparing to return home for the winter break and
some faculty and staff may be planning to travel to visit friends or family over the Thanksgiving
holiday. No one wants to be responsible for infecting others, so please remain vigilant
about wearing masks, practicing social distance and limiting interactions with others.
Most states are reporting surges in positive cases, and, here at CMU, we recorded 61 positive cases
this week linked to small off-campus gatherings. Although the active cases represent only 0.33% of
our campus population, we must redouble our efforts to stay healthy and safe ahead of the holidays.
It is vital to take steps now to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before leaving campus and
prior to returning.
Please review — and follow — these
recommendations. They are simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves and others. And,
testing is available on campus through Nov. 19 and will begin again Jan. 4. To help slow the
spread of COVID-19, please consider getting tested prior to leaving campus or our community, and
also as you return to campus for the spring semester.
We have been able to remain open, operational and on campus because of the hard work and diligence of
our students, faculty and staff. Thank you for all you have done to keep our
community safe; now, let us continue our efforts in the year ahead.
The lessons we have learned during the fall semester will guide our approach to spring. Preparations
are underway, and we will soon release a new “Fired Up for Spring” website to help every
member of our university community plan ahead. Many of the tools and technologies that made it
possible for us to remain in-person and on campus this year will be back again next year.
Remember that our first week of classes (Jan. 11-15) will be held online before we celebrate MLK Day
on Jan. 18 and begin in-person classes Jan. 19. I am already looking forward to welcoming our
students back and feeling their energy and excitement on campus.
We’ve had a remarkable year together. Let’s Fire Up to finish strong and prepare for
another successful year in 2021!
There are only 13 class days and exam days between now and the end of the semester, and there is
still time to finish 2020 on a positive note. Let these final weeks inspire you to work hard and
pursue your goals with renewed vigor.
We also must focus on protecting ourselves and others. Several states are reporting thousands of new
COVID-19 cases each day, and Michigan has seen a recent rapid increase in cases statewide. Health
officials are concerned, including those in our area. And while the number of positive cases
at CMU continue to be manageable, we must remain vigilant about our safety precautions.
The majority of our students, faculty and staff are doing all the right things: wearing masks,
practicing social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and more. However, the virus is pervasive
and remains a threat to our community. Accepting the social responsibility to protect
yourself and others is critical.
Use the health screening app every day you are on campus, take advantage of on-campus COVID-19 testing,
which is available through the end of the semester, and sign
up to be a surveillance testing volunteer. Wear a mask when you are around others, and avoid
Our commitment to health and safety extends beyond the boundaries of our campus. We are responsible
not only for our classmates and colleagues, but also for the people in our community. When you wear
a mask, avoid gatherings with people outside of your household and practice social distancing, it
prevents the spread of the virus at CMU, in Mount Pleasant, in our county and beyond.
We are three days out from Election Day, and there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the
outcome of the presidential race. Votes are still being counted and, as of this afternoon, neither
candidate has reached the 270 electoral votes needed to claim victory. I know this continued
uncertainty is difficult, so I encourage you to practice good self-care, demonstrate respect and
compassion for others, and focus on the things you can control, such as your academic and
professional goals and the health and safety of our community.
Let us continue to be leaders in rigor, relevance and excellence in all we do. Finish strong, take
care and, as always, Fire Up, Chips!
Many states, including Michigan, continue to see an increase in new COVID-19 cases, and we are
carefully monitoring the virus on our campus and in our community. To date this week, we have had 24
new positive cases at CMU, with a seven-day average of 5.7 new cases per day, and we hope to see the
numbers continue to decline in the weeks ahead.
Fall is usually a season of gatherings, and we all are reimagining how we will
celebrate holidays this year. This Halloween weekend, please be safe. The
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued recommendations
for enjoying the evening safely along with a reminder that indoor gatherings remain limited
to 10 people or fewer. If you choose to go out, please wear a mask, maintain social distance from
others and avoid large crowds and crowded areas.
Many of us are looking forward to the first CMU home football game next week, and our
student-athletes and Marching Chips are excited to return to Kelly/Shorts Stadium to do what they
love. I am grateful to our local partners, campus health and medical teams, and coaches, faculty and
staff for adopting the safety protocols that are allowing our students to return to the activities
they love: playing and performing.
To adhere to rules established by the Mid-American Conference and to protect the safety of our
community, there will be no fans allowed in the stands and no tailgating activities
this year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still cheer on our team. I hope you will tune
in to ESPN to watch the game from the comfort of home, perhaps with your roommates or family
members, wearing your favorite maroon and gold attire. This is an incredible opportunity for our
student-athletes and will shine a bright spotlight on CMU.
We also are just a few days away from this year’s election. If you have not done so already, I
hope you’ll make a plan now to
vote. Please join me in thanking the members of Central Votes and Student Government
Association for their hard work to make civic engagement more accessible for students this year.
This has been a challenging year, and the lead-up to this election has often been marked with
tension and division. Emotions are running high. Now is the time to put our core values into
action. Listen with compassion, speak respectfully, and embrace diverse
opinions and ideas. We are a stronger community because we are inclusive of people with varying
points of view, and we owe it to ourselves — and to each other — to practice kindness
and engage in conversations civilly.
I am proud of our community and all we have accomplished together thus far. It gives me hope for
another successful semester beginning in January. Even a global pandemic cannot dampen our Fired-Up
spirit or diminish our culture of caring. Please, continue to lift each other up, and make time to
practice self-care, too.
As you've seen in the news, the number of COVID-19 cases in our state and around the country is
rising significantly. Despite that, we have 15 positive cases reported this week, with a seven-day
average of three new cases per day, which continues the downward trend we were hoping to see.
Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campus healthy and safe — I am proud to
say these efforts are making a difference.
As numbers rise outside of our campus community, however, our dedication to wearing a mask, social
distancing and avoiding large gatherings is more important now than ever. We have just over four
weeks until the end of our semester, and we all have a role to play to ensure we can maintain
in-person instruction until that time.
Switching gears, we talk often about the culture here at CMU, and how we all have a role to play in
making our university a great place to live, work and learn. As part of our ongoing efforts to
nurture an inclusive environment, we are launching
a set of online trainings centered on diversity, equity, inclusion and more. Next week, you
will receive an email from me through the EverFi system with additional details, and I hope you will
make the training a top priority.
I hope you also will prioritize your civic duty to vote. Tuesday, Nov. 3 is the last day to cast
your ballot in this year's election, and there is still time to register. Our Central Votes Coalition has been working
hard to ensure every student, faculty and staff member, and community partner has the information
they need to learn about the issues, get registered and make a plan to participate. Be sure you are
heard this year and in every future election — make a plan to vote.
As we wrap up another week, I continue to hear that members of our campus community are struggling.
As I've said more than once, it is normal to feel overwhelmed or uncertain, and there are many
resources available for students, faculty and staff. If you need help or someone to talk to, please
Counseling Center or Employee
Assistance Program. Thank you for continuing to support each other and reach out for help if
you need it.
We are a strong community and are all in this together.
Dear students and colleagues,
As we enter the final months of 2020, we?d like to offer a few resources that may help you finish
the fall semester strong and plan ahead for a successful spring. Please read on for information
Several students have expressed uncertainty concerning their academic performance and how the
additional challenges of this socially distanced and masked-up semester may impact their grades in
some courses. In light of these concerns, CMU is offering the following options for this semester:
If you have any questions about these options, please contact your academic advisor. If you are not
sure who your academic advisor is, please call 989-774-7506 or click
here to make an advising appointment.
As we mentioned in our update about
the spring schedule, we will replace our typical spring break week with a series of spring
wellness days in 2021. I appreciate the input we received from students, faculty and staff in making
this decision, and I believe it offers us great opportunities for rest and respite without taking on
additional risks associated with travel and large gatherings.
The spring wellness days, which also include replacements for the traditional Gentle Thursday and
Friday before exams, will be held:
These dates are intended to provide time away from homework, class activities and meetings and other
stressors, so students and faculty can enjoy a much-needed and well-deserved break.
This has been a very challenging year, yet it still can be a successful one. Students, stay engaged
in your classes, participate fully ? ask questions and join the discussion. Take advantage of your
instructor?s office hours. We are here to help you finish strong. If you need help, please ask for
it ? let us know how we can help you achieve your academic goals.
Best wishes and stay well,
Mary C. Schutten
Executive Vice President and Provost
Over the past week, we have seen new spikes in positive cases of COVID-19 here in Michigan, around
the country and across the globe. Last week, CMU’s weekly reported cases
increased to 54. Because of ongoing testing and contact
tracing, we were able to quickly identify the source of these new cases and contain them. The number
of new cases this week dropped to 24, and we hope the downward trend will continue.
Any new positive case is cause for concern, and now is the time to redouble our efforts to protect ourselves
and others. Throughout the semester, you all have done an outstanding job of practicing
social distancing, wearing face masks and avoiding large gatherings. Please keep up the good work!
Remember to use the daily health
screening app every day before you come to campus. This simple step helps our
CMU Health team closely monitor trends in the virus and respond immediately to new cases, limiting
the spread within our campus and community.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are concerned you may have been exposed to someone who has the
virus, please call 989-774-1317 or email email@example.com to schedule a testing
We also are continuing surveillance
testing on campus and still need volunteers to participate. Learn more about our
surveillance testing program and sign up to be a volunteer on the Fired Up for Fall website.
Being socially distant can sometimes feel isolating and lonely. Take advantage of opportunities to
reconnect with your peers and friends this month. Here are some ideas:
And, as always, if you need help or just someone to talk to, please contact CMU’s
Counseling Center or Employee
We have passed the midpoint of the semester, and we can finish the year strong.
Students, stay engaged in your classes. If you learn best in a classroom setting and have the
option to attend classes face to face, take advantage of that time to see your faculty and
classmates in person. If you’re attending classes online, participate fully — ask questions and join
the discussion. Take advantage of your instructor’s office hours.
Faculty and staff, continue to lift each other up and support our students. Make time to
visit with your colleagues, virtually or in person, to check in. Take a walk through our beautiful
campus to recharge your batteries, and invite someone to walk with you.
We can find moments of joy everywhere — seek them out, create them and share them with others. Stay
Fired Up and Masked Up, and we will get through this together.
Last week’s ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court regarding the Governor’s executive orders is
raising many questions about health and safety practices in our local community and here on our
At CMU, we will continue to require the use of masks, and we will enforce social distancing and
limits on gatherings.
Throughout the pandemic, our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have been guided by our local
and state leaders, including our health department, as well as by our own medical experts and
Emergency Management Team. Each week, we review national best practices and research, we discuss
recent trends and news, and we make decisions based upon the unique needs of our university
As I mentioned in my campus update Friday, we are seeing relatively few new positive cases within
our campus community. This success is the result of the ongoing efforts of our students, faculty and
staff to protect themselves and others; because you are wearing masks, practicing social distancing
and taking precautions, we are a healthier and safer community today.
Since March, we have made the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community
members our top priorities. And, so far, the steps we have taken together have been successful.
Therefore, we will continue to adhere to the practices and
protocols that have been working well for Central Michigan University. We will wear masks,
practice social distancing and adhere to local orders regarding events and social gatherings. We are
a community, and we share a responsibility for the health and safety of our friends, neighbors and
Please continue to do your part to protect yourself and others. For information about CMU’s health
and safety policies, please visit the Fired Up for Fall website.
Fire Up and Mask Up, Chips!
Dear students, faculty and staff,
Yesterday, I sent an important announcement to the members of the Class of 2020
about fall commencement. As state and local ordinances continue to prevent large gatherings,
we are unable to host an in-person commencement ceremony this fall as we had previously hoped.
However, earning a CMU degree is an achievement worthy of celebration, and so we will
recognize graduates in a special virtual ceremony in November.
I look forward to sharing additional details about the virtual ceremony with you in the weeks ahead.
This is not intended to replace the important traditions associated with a CMU commencement
ceremony, and we continue to plan for a special in-person event for the Class of 2020 when it is
once again safe to gather.
Earlier this week, we announced our
schedule for the upcoming spring semester. Like so many things this year, it will be a
little different from previous years, with our first week held via remote instruction and with
spring wellness days in lieu of spring break. I realize this new schedule will require us all to
adjust our expectations and plans, yet I believe these changes will enable us to prevent further
spread of the virus. We must continue to do all we can to keep our community as healthy and safe as
Your commitment to protecting yourself and others has enabled us to remain together on campus this
semester. Because you consistently wear masks, practice social distancing and take precautions to
stay safe, we have seen only 11 new positive cases in our
campus community this week. This is an outstanding success, and it is due entirely to your
efforts. Thank you for all you continue to do.
If you have not done so already, I hope you also will become a
surveillance testing volunteer. Surveillance testing helps us monitor virus trends on our
campus and more quickly respond to changes. It is easy to sign up for a surveillance test, and the
test swab takes only about one minute to complete.
Getting a flu shot is another important step you can take to protect your health this season. The
cooler months ahead are prime influenza season, and we are offering two ways to get
your flu shot this year. In addition to appointments with CMU Health, you also may attend a
free pop-up flu shot clinic between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 4, and Monday, Oct. 5, in
the Bovee University Center.
I appreciate everything you are doing to help our entire community enjoy a safe, healthy and
successful semester. Have a great weekend, and, as always, Fire Up Chips!
Bob Davies, president
Dear students, faculty and staff,
We are coming to the end of the fourth week of this unusual fall semester, and I am grateful for the
efforts you have made to help us reach this point successfully. Our Emergency Management team
continues to monitor the virus closely, and meets regularly to discuss developments and trends,
adapting as needed to keep our campus and community as safe and healthy as possible.
Many colleges and universities throughout Michigan have now resumed on-campus instruction and
activities, and we are regularly sharing best practices and lessons learned with their leadership
teams. As I’ve often said, there is no playbook for operating a university through a pandemic, and
we are all watching and learning from one another.
Care on campus
CMU now offers COVID-19 on-campus testing for students, faculty and staff. If you wish to be tested,
please visit the COVID-19 testing
webpage for information about making an appointment. Remember, if you are experiencing
symptoms of COVID-19, please contact CMU Health by calling 989-774-6599 before visiting the
We are entering flu season, and as part of our ongoing efforts to keep our community healthy, we
will offer free flu shots for our campus and community members later this month or in early October.
We will have additional details on dates, times and location to share with you next week.
Update on positive cases
To date, CMU has had 196 confirmed positive
cases among our students, faculty and staff since June 15. Of these cases, 27 are currently
active. This also means 169 individuals have recovered and were cleared to return to classes and the
workplace. If you know who these recovered individuals are, I hope you will treat them with the same
kindness you offer others as they reenter our community. Receiving a positive test result for
COVID-19 does not mean a person should be judged, shamed or shunned for being exposed to the virus.
After all, we are a community that cares, and we treat everyone with compassion and respect.
Any one of us could, at some point, receive a call from a contact tracer, and it is
vital that we feel safe and comfortable answering their questions honestly and
thoroughly. Contact tracing is one of the most important steps we can take to
slow the spread of the virus in our community. If you are contacted, please do your part to keep our
community safe: Answer questions to the best of your ability and follow all the instructions you
We are about a quarter of the way through this semester, and I am proud of the efforts you have made
to make this a successful fall at CMU. Keep up the great work! Thank you for wearing masks,
practicing social distancing and taking precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Bob Davies, President
Like many of you, we are excited to be back on campus for another academic year at Central Michigan
University. COVID-19 has changed nearly everything about the way we live and learn on campus, and we
appreciate the sacrifices you are making to enable us to have a successful fall semester.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep our community safe. Thank you for wearing your
masks, maintaining safe distance from others and doing your part to protect yourself and others.
Today, we, as CMU’s president and student body president, are writing to ask you to keep it up
during the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
Holidays are usually a time to gather with family and friends. However, throughout the pandemic,
we’ve seen large gatherings — and even smaller gatherings held without safety precautions — lead to
new surges in cases of COVID-19. In the last few months alone, celebrations for Memorial Day and the
Fourth of July weekends were linked with spikes in new positive cases across the country.
We’ve worked too hard to stop now. We have the power to slow the spread of this virus on CMU’s
campus, in the Mount Pleasant community and among our family and friends. Each of us can do our part
This hasn’t been easy, and we know it’s disappointing to have another holiday disrupted by COVID-19,
but there are signs of hope. Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s
leading expert on infectious diseases, said Labor Day weekend could give the country a “running
start” to contain the virus this fall. We, too, remain optimistic.
We are a resilient community, and we will get through this together. It’s up to us to keep
ourselves and our community safe. Please, celebrate Labor Day safely.
Fire Up and Mask Up,
Bob Davies, CMU President
Katie Prebelich, SGA President
We’ve reached the end of our second week of classes, and I want to express my gratitude to all of
you who have truly embraced the spirit of “We Do Community.” You have been wearing masks, practicing
social distancing and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Thank you very much for all you are doing.
To date, we are aware of approximately 100 positive cases among our campus community of nearly
18,000 students, faculty and staff since our return to campus. While any increase in cases may seem
alarming, this figure represents less than one percent of our university population, and the
majority of these cases remain linked to the three off-campus houses I mentioned earlier in the
In this message, I want to share some important information on the following, which I hope will
alleviate concerns you may have:
We are working closely with our partners at the Central Michigan District Health Department to
report new cases of COVID-19 within our university community. You may have noticed that the numbers
CMU reports on the
confirmed cases website are different from the numbers shared by the health department. I
want to explain why this sometimes occurs.
Each day, the health department releases cases they believe are associated with our return to the
Mount Pleasant area. CMU staff review the list and determine if the individuals named are current
students or employees. Often, the health department’s list includes cases that are not current
CMU students, faculty or staff; we do not include those cases in our count as they are not
actively present on our campus.
Our Emergency Management Team is working diligently to ensure we’re reporting positive cases within
our university community in a timely manner. In partnership with the health department, we have
identified a process to expedite reporting and identify positive cases connected with CMU.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept.1, we will update our new cases page daily instead of weekly.
Beginning next week, we will offer on-campus COVID-19 testing. We have selected a lower-level room
in Foust Hall to conduct testing, well-ventilated and separated from other offices. We will
prioritize testing for individuals who are symptomatic or who have been identified as close contacts
for a COVID-positive person. For information about testing, please visit the COVID-19 testing
Contact tracing is one of the most critical steps in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I am extremely
proud of the work being done by CMU health professions students, faculty and staff to assist the
Central Michigan District Health Department in this effort.
Remember: If you are called by a contact tracer, please answer as honestly and completely as
possible, and follow their instructions regarding testing, isolation or quarantine.
I have been asked several times what would trigger CMU to shift to remote-only instruction. Our goal
is to continue in-person instruction for as long as we feel we are able to manage and mitigate risk
related to COVID-19. If we feel we are no longer able to do so, we will shift.
Together with our Emergency Management Team, I am reviewing several data points daily, including:
At this point, we are not seeing community spread from existing cases. The data seems to uphold our
decision to continue to offer in-person instruction. We will continue to monitor this virus closely
and to work alongside our partners in the health department and local government to make decisions
about our operations. Health and safety will remain our top priorities.
Residential students who are enrolled in all-online courses or who have arranged with their
faculty to participate in their HyFlex classes remotely and wish to return home may end
their housing contract at any time during the fall semester without paying the $500 contract
cancellation fee. Students are responsible for paying a prorated daily amount, covering meals, FLEX
dollars and housing costs, for the time they have lived on campus. Students who live in a residence
hall or university apartment may contact their residence director/residence hall director to
schedule a checkout time.
These are stressful times, and I am cognizant of the physical, mental and emotional toll this
pandemic has taken on every member of our community. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please don’t
hesitate to ask for help. Students can contact the CMU
Counseling Center, and faculty and staff can connect with resources through the Employee
Assistance Program. It’s vital to make time to take care of yourself and your families.
This is also a time to treat others with extra patience and grace. Reach out to your friends and
colleagues to offer a listening ear and a virtual hug when they need your support. We are a
community that lifts each other up, and I am thankful every day for the kindnesses I see happening
everywhere across our campus.
I will continue to provide frequent updates as we move forward together. Thank you again for all you
are doing for CMU and for each other.
Bob Davies, president
In response to a sharp increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases within our student
population, the Central Michigan District Health Department issued a public
health emergency order restricting outdoor social gatherings.
Effective immediately, no more than 25 people may gather at outdoor events in the Mount
Pleasant area — specifically within Union Township and the city of Mount Pleasant. Indoor gatherings
remain limited to 10 people or fewer per the existing
Michigan Executive Order.
Local law enforcement, including the CMU Police Department, and CMU will be monitoring student
gatherings, and violations of these limits may result in a misdemeanor charge, fine and even
suspension from CMU.
We know that increases in positive COVID-19 cases follow large parties, and no one wants to become
infected or be responsible for infecting others. Please be safe. Avoid large gatherings, wear a
mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands. We all share the responsibility to keep
ourselves and our community safe.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Students, faculty and staff —
As you know, Central Michigan University has been planning for its return to campus for several
months. Part of this planning has involved preparing for an inevitable increase in positive cases
of COVID-19, and we have processes in place to address these new cases.
Since our students began to arrive last week, CMU has seen a substantial increase in its COVID-19
positivity rate among students. Over the past seven days, we have had 54 new COVID-19 cases in our
campus community. Particularly concerning are pockets of positive cases and symptomatic
individuals living off-campus — two in Greek-affiliated houses and one in an additional
large house north of campus.
We quickly identified and instructed these individuals to isolate or quarantine. We are working
closely with the Central Michigan District Health Department on contact tracing, which is a critical
step in mitigating further spread of the virus. Individuals who are identified as close contacts are
being directed to quarantine and are receiving daily monitoring calls from both the Michigan system
for contact tracing and CMU’s team of contact tracers.
Fortunately, most students who tested positive have demonstrated only mild symptoms. As a reminder,
CMU tracks the number of positive COVID-19 cases within our campus community and updates the
information on our Fired
Up for Fall site every Monday.
We met this morning with our partners from the city of Mount Pleasant, Isabella County, Union
Township and the CMDHD to discuss this increase in numbers and our approach to managing the safety
of our community. We will continue to communicate and work closely with these partners as we move
In response to these new cases, we have strongly increased our safety messaging to students and are
taking steps to proactively prevent further spread, including:
As we strive to prevent further spread of the virus, I again ask everyone to avoid large
parties and gatherings. As I recommended previously, please limit all indoor
gatherings to fewer than 10 individuals and outdoor gatherings to no more than 15-20.
I am aware of the videos circulating on social media that show me engaging with students at
off-campus parties, which may have given the impression that I condoned those gatherings. That was
certainly not my intent. That weekend, I rode along with officers from the CMU Police Department and
visited a number of gatherings to remind students to wear masks, practice social distancing and to
celebrate responsibly. I wanted to reiterate that message as often and in as many settings as
Along our route, I was invited to throw a few bags of cornhole, and I spent a few minutes engaging
with those students and reminding them to be safe. In retrospect, I see that my participation in the
game — regardless of my intent — sent mixed messages about the importance of avoiding large
gatherings, and I apologize for the confusion and concerns my actions caused. As a leader and
lifelong learner, I will occasionally make mistakes; when I do, I endeavor to learn from them. As
our students have asked of me, I will “do better.”
Remaining on campus this fall relies on every member of our community accepting the responsibility
to protect ourselves and others. The activities we engage in — both on and off our campus — have
repercussions for everyone who lives, learns and works at CMU and in our local community.
Here’s how you can do your part:
If you have been directed to quarantine, please monitor your symptoms carefully, and do not return
to campus until you have completed the quarantine and are cleared by your contact tracer.
While we cannot eradicate every instance of COVID-19, together we can slow the spread
of the virus in our community. Please, do your part to keep yourself and others safe.
Bob Davies, president
Being on campus this semester carries new responsibilities for us all. The majority of students are
taking these responsibilities seriously; however, a small minority of students are jeopardizing
their own health and safety, and that of others, with their actions off campus.
Attending large parties and ignoring safety guidelines increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission
for everyone who lives, learns and works on our campus and in our community. We will not
allow the actions of a few individuals to jeopardize others, and we will immediately fine, or
even suspend, individuals who host or attend large gatherings.
Without fail, at other institutions nationwide, large weekend parties have resulted in an increase
in positive COVID-19 diagnoses — and in some, the shutdown of their entire campuses. The actions
of a few selfish students have ruined an entire year for thousands of their peers. The same
will happen here at CMU if students continue to engage in this type of reckless, irresponsible
CMU’s Fired Up for Fall plan, which is based on
guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines our expectations and
rules. You all know the right things to do: Limit the size of your get-togethers, wear a mask and
practice social distancing. It is impossible to ask you not to socialize, yet I must ask you again
to do so responsibly. You are adults, and we expect you to take responsibility for your
actions. Remember: What you do matters.
Your choices carry repercussions for everyone at CMU, and we expect more from our students. Please,
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Earlier this week, UNC Chapel Hill was forced to shift to remote-only instruction only two weeks
after moving students onto campus and beginning classes. Just yesterday, Michigan State University
announced plans to hold classes remotely instead of in-person. These decisions by other institutions
raise a pointed question: Will Central Michigan University be next?
I remain hopeful that we can have a successful fall semester here at CMU. To do so, we must
all accept our shared responsibility for keeping our community safe and healthy — and this
means embracing best practices for health and safety both on and off campus.
Students: I know you want to, and will, spend time with your friends — humans are social
creatures and we thrive on feeling connected to others. However, this is not the year to hold large
parties. It is the year for smaller, socially distant get-togethers with close friends. When you
gather with friends, do so responsibly: Wear a mask, maintain social distance, wash your
hands often and limit the size of the group to no more than 10 people inside and perhaps 15-20
outside if you can socially distance and wear masks. I promise you: It is possible to
have fun and be safe at the same time.
For our faculty and staff: Just as we ask our students to practice safe behaviors, we, too,
must be willing to embrace them in our lives outside the workplace. We must be vigilant in our
personal lives as well as in our professional roles.
COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus, and it is inevitable that we will see additional cases on our
campus in the weeks ahead. If we wish to limit the number of cases, our actions must be intentional.
If we want to prevent an outbreak and avoid a shift to remote operations, we must share the
responsibility of protecting ourselves and others.
Please, join me in making this a safe, healthy and successful semester at CMU.
Bob Davies, CMU President
In just a few short days, we’ll begin a new academic year at Central Michigan University — one like
no previous year in our more than 125-year history. COVID-19 continues to pose unique challenges,
and CMU — like all organizations — is reacting daily to new developments and adapting to fluid
I know you have questions about what this fall semester will be like at CMU— it’s completely
understandable to feel a little anxious and uncertain. To address some of your concerns, I’d like to
share a few thoughts on what to expect when classes resume next week related to:
To protect the health and safety of our campus community, CMU is following best practices from the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means
everyone will be required to wear a mask or face covering and practice social distancing.
You’ll find hand sanitizing stations in every building, as well as signs reminding you to wash your
hands and practice other safe behaviors. We are committed to doing everything we can as a university
to protect your health and safety, and we also rely on you to take appropriate measures to prevent
the spread of the virus. Please be sure to review the health and safety
protocols outlined on the Fired Up for Fall website.
The Mid-American Conference recently announced a postponement of all fall sports with hopes of moving
them to the spring. This news was disappointing for me and many members of our community, yet I
remain optimistic we will be able to cheer on our student-athletes later this academic year. You can
read more about the MAC’s decision in
my recent blog post.
The residence halls will
feel less crowded this year. To allow for social distancing and to decrease density in each
building, we have limited the number of students living in each building. In addition, some students
attending all their classes remotely have chosen to live at home this semester. Residential restaurants and other dining
facilities on campus have been reconfigured to allow for social distancing, including less
capacity and reduced seating in some areas. You’ll find many options for great meals on campus.
We continue to follow state orders to limit indoor and outdoor
gatherings, which means many campus events and activities are moving to virtual formats.
Some registered student organizations also may
limit attendance at meetings or host them virtually. I am impressed by the creativity and innovation
our students show in finding ways to connect and build community in spite of social distancing. You
will still feel the energy and excitement of life at Central as you walk through our campus, despite
the many changes.
To give students and faculty as many choices as possible this semester, CMU will offer classes in
several formats, including online only, HyFlex, hybrid and face to face. You can learn more about
each type of class by visiting the Fired Up for Fall student
information page. No matter how you attend class, you will learn from faculty who are
experts in their fields and who are excited to support you on your educational journey. Be sure to
connect with them early and often, and take advantage of their office hours.
As I said previously, this semester will be unlike any other. You will face new challenges, and you
will have to learn, live and work differently. I know it won’t be easy, but I know you are up to the
task. I believe in you.
As you approach this semester, set high goals for yourself. Don’t settle for just getting by — commit
to excellence and work hard to achieve it. Go out of your way to meet new people, whether in person
or virtually, and learn to see the world from their perspective. Be open to new ideas and
experiences. Ask for help. The pandemic has raised many new challenges and caused significant mental
and emotional stress. When you need someone to talk to, or you find yourself struggling, please
reach out. You can find a number of resources, including information about CMU’s
Counseling Center, on the Find Help
Finally, embrace our core
values: integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and
innovation. Let them be your guide in everything you do each and every day.
I know 2020 hasn’t been an easy year, and there are challenges still ahead. Yet, in spite of all the
difficulties you have faced so far, you’ve stayed on the path to earn your college degree. You’ve
worked hard and stayed strong, and I am extremely proud of you. I’m excited to see you this fall,
and I look forward to getting — and staying — Fired Up for a great academic year.
Bob Davies, president
We are fired up to see many of you on campus next week!
As I mentioned in my email last week, each day you plan to be on campus, or before you leave your
apartment or residence hall room, you must first complete a mandatory
self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
Yes, every day. Don’t worry, it’s easy — you can do it right from your smartphone or tablet.
This is critical to keeping our campus healthy this fall.
DOWNLOAD THE CMICH HEALTHSCREEN
Log into the app to answer a few short questions. The app will show you a green check mark if you are
approved to leave your residence hall room or apartment, or to come to campus.
If you do not have a smartphone or cannot run the Healthscreen app, you must complete the
self-screening through a web browser at cmich.edu/healthscreen or by calling 989-774-1044.
We look forward to welcoming you to campus as we all do our part to make the coming weeks and months
as positive, healthy and low-risk as possible.
As you prepare to return to campus, please review CMU’s required health and safety protocols on the
Fired Up for Fall
website. Remember to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands and avoid
large gatherings and parties. If we all take responsibility for our health and well-being, we can
help slow the spread of COVID-19 and enjoy a successful semester.
Fire Up Chips!
Tony Voisin, associate vice president, Student Affairs
We look forward to welcoming you to Central Michigan University next week. As always, your safety
and well-being remain our top priority, and we understand that the COVID-19 virus raises many
questions and concerns about living on campus this fall.
Just as there is risk of spreading the virus each time we visit the grocery store, stop for gas or
visit with friends, there also is a risk associated with coming to CMU’s campus. We are reaching out
today to share housing options for the fall semester so you and your family can make an informed
choice. We want you to feel as safe and comfortable as possible so you can enjoy a successful fall
If you are registered for all online classes, instruction does not require you to attend in person,
and you have no on-campus obligations, you may cancel your housing contract without penalty.
To cancel your housing contract and live at home (your permanent address) without penalty, send
an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday,
Aug. 11, 2020. You do not need to fill out a residency exemption form, but you must
reference that you are canceling your contract due to COVID-19. Students who cancel after Aug. 11
will be responsible for a $500 contract cancellation fee.
Most academic, need-based, merit and other scholarships will not be impacted by a decision to live
at home. However, students who receive any form of housing grant will lose those awards if they are
not living on campus.
If you have questions about your scholarships and eligibility, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial
Aid at 989-774-3674.
We have been working hard to prepare for your arrival. We are ready. Living on campus is an integral
part of the learning experience; however, we recognize that COVID-19 will impact the traditional
housing experience. If you decide to live on campus, we will be here to support your transition and
your learning journey.
Like all other institutions, CMU cannot make operational guarantees during this pandemic. Our full
intent is to keep the university open with face-to-face classes and to keep our residence halls and
In fact, we did not close any of our housing facilities last spring as we continued to house
students who chose to remain on campus. President Bob Davies has been clear that the university will
remain open throughout this school year as well. CMU is doing everything it can to continue to serve
our students in the face of significant disruption brought on by this pandemic. However, we also
realize that this is a very fluid situation, and things can change beyond our control.
In terms of refunds or credits for housing and meals: If CMU is ordered by the governor or the
Health Department to have students leave the residence halls, CMU will make financial decisions at
that time. In the event of such a closure, we intend to be fair and equitable.
As we have consistently demonstrated throughout this challenging time, the health and safety of our
community remains our highest priority. Every decision we make is guided by this principle.
At this time, CMU is not requiring students to quarantine upon arrival. However, we encourage
students arriving from hot-spot locations to be vigilant about wearing a mask, social distancing,
handwashing and avoiding crowds. We also recommend that students limit their contact with others in
the days before arriving on campus, if possible.
Students who are returning from international travel or coming to CMU from another country
Students returning from international travel who plan to live on campus will be expected to reside
in quarantine spaces provided by the Office of Residence Life until the 14-day period has expired.
Please contact the Office of Residence Life at 989-774-3111 for information about on-campus
quarantine housing prior to your arrival.
Together, the Central Michigan University community is facing the challenges of the COVID-19
pandemic, advancing our educational mission while protecting health and safety. Now we aim to start
strong for the fall 2020 semester. For vital information about health and safety protocols, please
visit the Fired Up for Fall
Please do not hesitate to reach out to our Office of Residence Life with questions or concerns by
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Greetings from Central Michigan University!
As we prepare to welcome you back to campus this fall, I’d like to ask for your help in making the
2020-21 academic year the best ever at CMU.
During your time on campus, you’ve likely seen and heard this phrase often: At CMU, we Take
Care of ourselves and others. Take Care means we look out for one another. We
offer kindness and support. We reach out proactively to help. We treat everyone around us, including
ourselves, with compassion and respect.
As we continue to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, the phrase Take Care is more important
than ever. Nationwide, the virus continues to spread and there is still no vaccine or cure. This
means that every time we interact with others, we run the risk of spreading infection, even when we
feel healthy. Fortunately, there are simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves and others —
and we are adopting these practices at CMU.
When you come to campus, you will be expected to:
Remember, these practices aren’t only to protect yourself — they are meant to protect others as well.
We are all in this together, and the health and safety of our entire community depends on
everyone being responsible, compassionate and caring.
As some of you know, I am not only the university president, I also am the parent of a current CMU
student. I’d like to put on my “dad hat” for a moment and put this very bluntly: Students must take
responsibility for protecting their own health and the health of their peers. CMU has put many
safety measures in place, but if you, our students, do not accept ownership of your safety and
well-being, those measures won’t be effective. Our goal — your goal – is to be on campus this fall.
I have heard from hundreds of students that they will do anything to remain on campus
with their friends — and that means they must take responsibility for making that
happen. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Avoid large gatherings. If
you have symptoms, tell someone and we will help you. If you are called by a contact tracer, answer
honestly and completely.
If we all take responsibility for our behavior — if we are all committed to keeping our
community safe — the likelihood of a successful on-campus semester increases substantially. OK, dad
speech over, putting back on my presidential fedora.
Compassion and responsibility are part of CMU’s core values, and I reflect on them often. I ask you
to become familiar with them, too. They are: integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness,
social responsibility, excellence and innovation. We will discuss them regularly
Today, I want to focus on the word “inclusiveness.” At CMU, we define inclusion as: full
participation for all in every activity and venue of CMU. It means that every
student, faculty and staff member, graduate, guest and visitor feel they can be part of the great
things happening on our campus, and they will feel welcome to do so. We cannot achieve
excellence if some members of our community do not feel equally seen, heard, represented, included,
respected and valued.
Each of us has a role to play in making others feel welcome and valued, and it begins with treating
everyone with compassion and respect. Remember the words you likely learned in kindergarten: Treat
others as you wish to be treated. Be kind. Be respectful.
Every day at CMU, you meet people whose lives, experiences, beliefs and perspectives are very
different than your own. You may feel challenged by the things they say and do, just as they may
feel challenged by you. I ask that you embrace the experience of being uncomfortable
and open your mind to new points of view. You don’t have to agree, but I ask that you listen, ask
respectful questions, seek understanding and act with compassion.
These aren’t just suggestions for making the most of life at Central Michigan University, they are
tools and skills that will prepare you to live and work in our increasingly global society. The
world is more diverse and connected than ever, and your experiences at Central will help you succeed
in life beyond graduation.
I am fired up to see you again this fall. Until then, be well, take care and, as always, Fire Up
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases