COVID-19 Update: Letter to Students - April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020

NMU Students,

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the situation has required a high level of flexibility and cooperation on the part of all of us. In the coming weeks, that may be even more the case. I want to thank those students who have taken this crisis seriously and acted responsibly, properly social distancing and actively demonstrating proper hygiene etiquette. These actions are potentially saving lives – yours, your loved ones, friends and neighbors. I can’t stress this enough. As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread through our nation, and increasingly is spreading through our state and the Upper Peninsula, we must all do what we can to help improve the situation. Please take the position that you and everyone you meet may have COVID-19 and do as much self-isolating as possible.

On Sunday (March 29), President Trump extended the federal social distancing guidelines to April 30. Michigan’s “stay home, stay safe” executive order end date is April 13, but today (Thursday, April 2) Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced she has asked the Michigan Legislature to extend the order by up to 70 days. We’ll know more on that next week.

With the COVID-19 situation now worsening in the U.P., there are some changes to make you aware of and a few reminders for you.


BUSINESS SERVICE: MarqTran has suspended its county-wide fixed routes, effective immediately. However, to replace NMU’s Friday Shopping Shuttle, MarqTran is extending its door-to-door service for students to request rides to Meijer, Walmart or Target at no charge. There will be a limit of two people on the bus per trip. This service is available Sundays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Monday through Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 906-225-1112 to schedule a ride and your return time. You will make both requests at the same time. Northern thanks MarqTran for providing service to our students who need this assistance to get groceries and other necessities. If you have questions, direct them to Mike Bath at

SUMMER SESSION I: Northern has made the decision that there will be no on-campus, in-person instruction for classes or labs for the first summer session. While a good portion of Northern’s summer course offerings are taught in a distance learning format, there are still a number that were scheduled to be taught face-to-face. We have not cancelled in-person courses for session II, but expect students and faculty to be ready to go in a distance learning format if the situation calls for that.

RELIEF FUND: Northern has created the 2020 Wildcat Relief Fund and is asking faculty, staff, retirees, alumni and community members to contribute as a way to help NMU students during this time of need. The University will send out information soon on the application process. Watch your NMU email for that.


DEPARTURE CREDIT DEADLINE: Residence hall students, both those still on campus and those who have departed, have until 5 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, April 3) to complete the online survey required to be considered for the departure credit. Students still on campus who want the credit should leave by that same deadline, but a reminder that you do not have to move out all of your belongings at this time.  You can return for the belongings at the end of the semester, or later if the situation requires an extension. Directions to access the online survey were provided in the letter sent to your NMU email account last week.

WITHDRAW DEADLINE: Friday (April 3) is also the deadline to withdraw from a course with a “W” grade.  Before you withdraw, I strongly encourage you to explore the grading options Northern is offering this semester in light of the COVID-19 situation and the quick move to remote instruction. You can re-read the letter sent to students by the Dean of Students on March 20 about grade options, as well as review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) created about the grade options and what each type of grade means.  I also encourage you to contact your academic adviser and/or a member of the Academic and Career Advising Center (ACAC) staff at

ONLINE TUTORING HELP: Speaking of grades, a reminder that the All-Campus Tutoring (ACT) Center is up and running, and has some tutors assigned to assist students with the transition from face-to-face to remote instruction.  The Center also works directly with faculty to provide study groups and tutoring assistance for specific courses. Learn more about what services are available to help you at

SUMMER/FALL ADVISING AND COURSE REGISTRATION: Advising for summer and fall scheduling is still taking place, and course registration for both is under way.  If you have not met with your adviser, please contact them. If you need additional advising help, contact ACAC ( To review course offerings for summer and fall, go to the MyNMU home page ( where there are links to the course listings and links for registering assistance.

FOOD PANTRY: The NMU Food Pantry remains open but has changed its procedure to increase safety practices. Students can order online and their bag or box will be left in the Gries Hall lobby, clearly labelled, and far apart from each other. Learn more at

COUNSELING SERVICES: While NMU Counseling and Consultation Services is not providing in-person services at this time, services are still being offered. Students can call CCS at 906-227-2980 during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) to obtain a phone consultation to discuss options for meeting mental health needs. The CCS website also can provide a wide variety of resources,

I also want to congratulate Emma Drever on being elected president of the Associate Students of Northern Michigan University (ASNMU) and Bethany Beavers as vice president.  The NMU administration looks forward to working with the new leadership and all of the elected representatives. And thank you to the Northern students who took time to vote.

Finally, while I have not been made aware of any NMU student who is dealing with family members, loved ones or friends who are desperately ill at this time or who have passed away, based on the numbers coming out of Detroit and around the country, I have to assume that some of you are in this situation.  If you are, our collective thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

Let’s keep the communication lines open so we, as a campus community, can help each other in whatever ways are possible.

Stay safe,

Fritz Erickson, NMU President