Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting
Required reporting of the Emergency Relief Fund can be found here.
May 21, 2020
Fall Semester to Start early - Friday, May 19 , 2020
CHANGED FALL START DATE: If you did not read yesterday’s (May 18) Northern Today story on the NMU Board of Trustees’ approval of the new start and end date for the fall semester, please do so. Northern has made the decision to start the fall semester a week early, on Monday, Aug. 17, and end the semester just prior to Thanksgiving on Tuesday, Nov. 24. This action eliminates one set of mass exit and return travel to and from campus. Now with the board’s approval of the new start date, we can begin adjusting other dates that are part of the semester start. Those dates will be shared as they are finalized. At this time, dates for the Winter 2021 semester remain the same, although changes will be considered depending on the COVID-19 situation in the Upper Peninsula at that time.
GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER: Governor Gretchen Whitmer also announced an executive order yesterday that lifted some restrictions for Region 8 (Upper Peninsula) and Region 6 (Traverse City), two areas that have had low COVID-19 infection rates. The governor’s EO allows for some restaurants, bars and retail operations in the two regions to reopen. The EO did not lift the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, which remains in effect until next Thursday, May 28.
REOPENING OF CAMPUS – LATE JULY: While Northern is open for business, the physical campus remains closed and most employees continue to work remotely. This will be the case until late July, regardless of when the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order is lifted. The NMU Emergency Logistics Team and its 10 work groups are contacting supervisors directly about their unit’s “return to work” needs and plan, working our way through plans one building at a time. That return, when it begins, will be a phased-in approach. For some employees and units, alternating shifts and continued remote work may be options used throughout the fall semester. Each space is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure a high level of safety.
Before employees return to campus, you will be required to review Northern’s “return to work” safety protocols that are in development and will be shared when completed. Some of the safety protocols will include wearing masks, self-monitoring of temperature and utilizing newly created physical barriers. As mentioned before, the campus will have more testing and tracing abilities by fall. Employees at high risk will be asked to work with the University to develop plans on how they can manage their duties either at home or by modifying their work spaces.
Until we begin the phased-in return later this summer, employees not on the critical infrastructure list who need brief access to their workspace can contact NMU Police Chief Mike Bath at email@example.com or 906-227-2151.
DEVELOPING THE PLAN: I want to welcome and introduce David Adams, an advisor who is helping Northern develop its comprehensive plan for re-opening the campus and returning to face-to-face instruction this fall semester. We are incredibly lucky and honored to have an expert of David’s caliber in strategic preparedness planning. Following his 30 years of military service, he has had 10 years’ experience as a senior level Science and Technology (ST) executive with federal service in the areas of national preparedness, with an emphasis on adaptation planning, resilience, and strategies to address the health and national security impacts of climate change. Among his many accomplishments in preparedness planning, David played a significant role in the development of the Office of Health Affairs’ contribution to the 2014 Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan, particularly in the selected focus area of health security and biodefense. Welcome to Northern, David. We appreciate your assistance in helping us navigate this historic pandemic.
ENJOY THE HOLIDAY: I hope you enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. If you are like me, you may not have even realized that we’re heading into a holiday weekend – the days, weeks and weekend starting to blur together. We may not be engaging in many of our traditional Memorial Day activities, but whatever you do, I hope it’s relaxing and spent with people who are important to you. A reminder that all NMU offices are closed (not just physically but operationally as well) on Monday (May 25), reopening Tuesday. And finally, a sincere thank you to the families of the service men and women being honored and remembered this weekend for their ultimate sacrifice.
Help Northern students earn $700 in financial assistance - May 11, 2020
'Stay at Home' Order Extended; NMU Implements Furloughs - Friday, May 9, 2020
On Thursday (May 7), Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order until Thursday, May 28. In light of the extension, Northern's physical campus remains closed and the University continues to operate in a mostly remote format. At her press conference, the Governor unveiled some details of the plan to reopen the state and President Fritz Erickson said NMU will use that information in the development of Northern’s plan for a phased-in reopening between now and the start of the fall semester. He said more information about those plans would be shared in the coming weeks. He also said Northern would implement a series of furlough options for employees as a way to address the budget shortfall created by the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to read more about the furloughs.
NMU Opens Application Period for Covid-related Grants - Friday, 1pm, May 8, 2020
Northern Michigan University will provide emergency grants of up to $700 to eligible students who have been financially strained by the COVID-19 crisis. NMU is using its share of the recently approved CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund monies for this purpose. The application period ends May 25. The grants will be awarded after that date. The emergency grants can be used to cover food, housing and utilities, course materials, technology expenses, childcare and other expenses.
To qualify for the grants, students must be eligible to receive Federal Title IV financial aid programs such as Pell Grants, direct loans or federal work study. They need to have been enrolled in the Winter 2020 semester in courses not offered exclusively online prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Students also must also have filed a 2019-20 or 2020-21 FAFSA, so NMU encourages eligible students to complete that as soon as possible, if they haven't already. “Our goal is to make this funding available to as many eligible students as possible. We hope this assists those who are in financial need due to the pandemic, and that it helps students recover unexpected costs,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. Because the Department of Education continues to release additional guidance, NMU will continue to review student eligibility as new information becomes available.
The application can be completed online here: https://aditweb.nmu.edu/fa/caresact/. For questions about the process, contact the NMU Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 906-227-2327. More on grant eligibility.
NMU Board Authorizes On-Campus Fall Classes - Thursday, 11:30 am, April 30, 2020
Northern Michigan University will begin planning for a return to face-to-face instruction for the fall 2020 semester. The NMU Board of Trustees today approved a proposal from President Fritz Erickson, with the assurance that the university will abide by state and federal recommendations and lawful orders.
“We will take all reasonable measures necessary to make classes, housing, dining, student events and all university activities safe,” Erickson said. “We do not take this decision lightly. We feel confident that every precaution will be taken to protect our entire campus community, while being able to provide a robust learning and living experience for students. We want to deliver the unique, personalized Northern experience that draws students here and that they have come to expect.”
"The Board is in strong agreement with the plan to resume face-to-face instruction this fall,” said NMU Board Chair Steve Mitchell. “We have great confidence that we will be able return to in-person instruction in a manner that is as safe as possible for our students, as well as all of the employees of NMU. We know everyone wants to be back on campus in the fall and that's why the board has passed this resolution letting everyone know that, unless some external force stops us, we will have face-to-face instruction at Northern in fall 2020.”
Governor Extends "Stay Home" Order - Friday, 2:15pm, April 24, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff,
This morning (Friday, April 24), Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an extension of her “Stay Home. Stay Safe” executive order through Friday, May 15, expiring Saturday, May 16. This means that Northern will continue to have closed buildings and limited on-campus staff for at least the next three weeks.
Gov. Whitmer included these points in today’s announcement:
Effective 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 26, the new executive order now mandates that a face covering be worn when a person is in an indoor public space, such as grocery stores. Masks are not required for outdoor activities but are strongly encouraged in the EO.
The new EO lifts the ban on travel between residences within the state, although the Governor strongly discouraged this travel unless it is essential. This helps Northern regarding students completing the move-out process from residence halls and on-campus apartments.
The Governor has begun allowing some specific industries to resume operations and allowing some outdoor activities to resume.
A few additional Northern considerations:
MASKS – Since late March, NMU employees and student employees have been required to wear a face covering during work shifts while on campus. Masks are not required in private offices, teaching labs or vehicles when you are by yourself, but should be worn when you can’t social distance and are around other individuals. If you must be on campus and need a mask, contact the NMU Police Department at 227-2151. The residence halls and campus apartments have masks at the lobby desks.
STUDENTS MOVING OUT – The move-out deadlines for on-campus housing is 10 p.m. Sunday, May 3, for residence halls and 10 p.m. Sunday, May 10, for campus apartment residents. Students who need to return to campus to collect belongings can do so now through May 10. Housing will work with students who can’t meet these deadlines. We have changed our move-out process to address COVID-19 considerations; you can read about that here.
EMERGENCY GRANT FUNDING: Northern has applied for the federal stimulus funding that can be used to provide emergency grants for eligible students. We have not received the funds yet, but hope to do so soon. When we do, we’ll be sending information to students about who is eligible and how they can apply.
SUPPORTING WILDCATS: Campus leadership has been informed of more students, faculty and staff who have family members infected with the COVID-19 virus, including some on ventilators. We’ve been able to connect to some of these NMU family members to extend our best wishes and support. To those who are in this situation, please know that we are here for you. Let us know how we can help by sending a note to NMUPres@nmu.edu.
RETURNING TO WORK: Northern’s Emergency Planning Logistics Team is ramping up its work to develop the plans we’ll need for when employees can return to campus. We’ll be sending more details about that after the end of the semester. This group is also working on recommendations regarding decisions that need to be made for late summer activities on campus and looking ahead to the fall semester.
Considering fall, our intent is that Northern will be fully operational and providing face-to-face instruction – that is our goal. We’ll take safety into consideration, of course, which may necessitate some modifications in how we do things, but we’ll do everything within our power to be ready for a robust on-campus fall semester.
I want to thank everyone for your patience, cooperation and flexibility. It’s been quite a second half of a semester; certainly not the semester any of us planned on nor wanted. The good news is we have come together to complete the semester – just one week to go. I know it hasn’t been easy, but the campus has remained safe and our students, faculty and staff have remained safe. That was the top priority from the start. Good job, everyone.
Fritz Erickson, NMU President
Online fee suspended for Summer - Thursday, 2:30pm, April 23, 2020
Northern Michigan University is suspending its $50 per credit online fee for all distance learning courses for Summer 2020, Session I and II. This includes not only the courses that had been originally scheduled as on-campus, in-person courses, but also courses that were scheduled to be done by remote instruction. NMU President Fritz Erickson said, "While the online fee is critical to supporting the University's ability to offer high-quality remote instruction, removing the fee for the summer is one way Northern can quickly assist students in navigating unexpected financial challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis."
Credit/No Credit Grading Option Approved - Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Northern will offer a Credit/No Credit grading option in addition to letter grades, rather than the previously announced Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option. The University has had a significant number of concerned and compelling voices from both students and faculty regarding limitations and fairness of the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading scale. After a lengthy discussion with Academic Senate on April 22, the University is making the adjustment. A CR (Credit) grade is the equivalent of a passing grade of D- or higher. Courses graded "CR" are counted as earned hours but are not included in a student's grade point average. A NC (No Credit) grade is issued when a cours has been completed at a level below that required to earn academic credit. NC grades are included in attempted hours, but not earned hours, nor in the GPA. All NMU students will receive letter grades as usual. Students will have until 5 p.m. May 22 to request a Credit/No Credit grade if they choose for one or more of their courses. This is a temporary accommodation for Winter 2020 only, based on impacts resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Read the FAQ about CR/NC grades.
COVID-19 Update to Students - Thursday 10:29 am, April 17, 2020
Northern students were provided 15 COVID-19 crisis related updates that they could read in less than two minutes. These included information on topics such as the final exam schedule, releasing bikes stored in Spooner Hall, increasing the financial hold limit to register for summer and fall courses, when information on the residence hall and apartment move-out process will be made available, how to schedule an appointment at the NMU Writing Center, the remaining SkillBuilders schedule, a warning about an increase in phishing attempts aimed at NMU students and more. Read all 15 updates (in less than two minutes) here.
Governor Extends "Stay Home" Order - Thursday 5:35 pm, April 9, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff,
This afternoon (Thursday, April 9), Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an extension of her “Stay Home. Stay Safe” executive order through April 30, expiring May 1. Gov. Whitmer stressed these points in today’s announcement:
Stricter rules on travel, now banning travel between residences and to vacation rentals beginning tomorrow, Friday April 10 – this is a particularly important point for students to note as it further limits your non-essential travel to your home areas and any travel by your family and friends to campus.
More stringent regulations on stores that remain open to lower foot traffic. Stores must adhere to new limits on the number of customers based on square footage of the store.
The creation of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, headed by Lt. Gov. Gilchrist.
Please note that Northern continues to work through finalizing details for several fast-approaching events, including final exam week, the processes for moving out of the residence halls/apartments and returning to campus to collect belongings, and a commencement/celebration for graduating students. Watch your NMU email for more details on those activities.
A few additional reminders:
MASKS - NMU employees and student employees are now required to wear a face covering during work shifts while on campus. Masks are not required in private offices, teaching labs or vehicles when you are by yourself, but should be worn when you can’t social distance and are around other individuals. On-campus students are encouraged to wear face coverings whenever on campus but not in your residence hall rooms or apartments.
COURSE REGISTRATION - Academic advising and course registration for the summer and fall semesters continue. Students who have not yet registered but plan to take classes this summer or fall are encouraged to register to keep you from being required to turn in your computer at the end of the semester.
PROVIDING ASSISTANCE - The NMU Food Pantry remains open, although it is servicing customers via online ordering. Food and monetary donations can be dropped off at the NMU Police Department. The 2020 Wildcat Student Relief Fund is available for both student applications (log into MyNMU portal, go to student menu, click on Financial Aid – Donor-funded Scholarships) and donor contributions.
COMMUNICATION - Please practice patience with each other and keep communicating. When something is going right, tell us about it. When something is going wrong, let us see if we can help. Remember, we are all in unchartered waters with this historic pandemic emergency situation.
The Wildcat Nation is spread near and far these days, but still working together to get through this semester. Wherever you currently are, I hope you are complying with your state, national and the CDC recommendations for social distancing (including non-essential travel and activities) and proper hygiene. I know how difficult the stay-in-place orders are for many of us, but let’s continue to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones, as well as our neighbors, the university and our communities.
To all NMU Students:
The Foundation scholarship system is now open to receive applications for the newly created Wildcat 2020 Student Relief Fund. Students can now submit an application through the online Donor-funded Scholarship Application System by logging in through MyNMU and clicking on Financial Aid – Donor-funded Scholarships.
This fund was created by alumni, friends and other supporters of Northern Michigan University, to provide funds to help students experiencing financial distress due to the COVID-19 crisis, not covered by traditional financial aid options.
- Examples of eligible items for coverage: utility bill assistance, groceries, phone and internet connectivity costs, moving expenses, etc.
- Awards up to $300.00 will be granted and limited to one per student.
- Students of any major or class standing may apply as long as they meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Financial Aid Office, and Students who demonstrate financial need based on their 2019-20 FAFSA will be favored.
- Awards considered once all other resources (Financial Aid related) have been exhausted.
- The Financial Aid Office will notify students of their eligibility. Awards will be made until funds are exhausted.
Wear Face Coverings on Campus - Tuesday 2:19 pm, April 7, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff,
Based on the new recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that individuals have facial coverage when in public as an additional measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Northern Michigan University is now requiring employees and student employees to wear facial coverage of some type when working on campus.
Employees are not required to have their face covered when in their private offices, teaching labs or vehicles, when they are by themselves, but are asked to wear them when they work or travel through public areas of campus or have interaction with other individuals. Please remember to utilize good social distancing and hygiene practices.
Employees are free to wear their own multiple layer face covering, if they choose. The NMU Police Department and NMU Health Center are providing facial coverings (buffs, cotton masks and surgical masks) to supervisors in Dining Services, Housing and Residence Life and Facilities/Buildings & Grounds, who will distribute them to employees and student employees. Department heads of other departments who have employees or student employees who will need facial coverings should contact Mike Bath, chief of police, at email@example.com.
Surgical masks are not designed as multi-use masks on their own, but can be used multiple times and act as a filter when they are wrapped within multiple layers of material (i.e. buffs, bandanas, scarves). The CDC also suggests items such as coffee filters for use as filters in face coverings. This CDC web page details the CDC’s recommendation regarding face coverings and offers examples of different kinds of face masks and filters.
Additionally, Northern will make available any remaining buffs to students living in on-campus residence halls and apartments. A limited supply will be available at each hall’s front desk, starting Wednesday (April 8). Students who already have the NMU branded buffs, which were handed out at several campus activities this year, are asked not to take another one.
Please remember that wearing a mask does not protect you from getting COVID-19, but does decrease the chance of you spreading the virus to others if you are asymptomatic. It may seem extreme, but from the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis Northern has been following the recommendations of the CDC and we plan to continue on that course.
Today (Tuesday, April 7), the Michigan Legislature voted to extend Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency declaration until April 30. We will continue to watch for additional information regarding “stay at home, stay safe” directives and recommendations from the Governor.
Governor's Update - Thursday 2:44 pm, April 2, 2020
NMU Faculty and Staff,
In her COVID-19 update briefing this morning (Thursday, April 2), Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that she has asked the Michigan Legislature to extend the “stay home, stay safe” executive order by up to 70 days. I will let you know when the extension is finalized and how we anticipate the details will affect Northern.
Also this morning, the Governor closed all K-12 school buildings for the remainder of the school year and announced that each school district will need to offer their student remote learning options. As Northern employees, I anticipate that many of you will be asked about the University’s ability to help schools through the Educational Access Network. I wanted you to know that Steve VandenAvond, vice president of Extended Learning and Community Engagement, has been in discussion with the Upper Peninsula’s Intermediate School District superintendents and individual U.P. schools about EAN and public broadcasting opportunities for schools, students and U.P. families.
Finally, I know that school buildings being definitively closed through the remainder of the school year affects some Northern faculty and staff as it relates to addressing childcare issues. Human Resources will be sending out information shortly that will address leave consideration related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Please watch for that.
I’ll update you on several other matters being worked on when I write next, but thought these three items would be important for you to have now.
Student Update from the President - Thursday 2:04 pm, April 2, 2020
President Fritz Erickson writes to the NMU student body, updating students on the possibility of Michigan's "stay home, stay safe" executive order being extended and the COVID-19 situation worsening in the Upper Peninsula. He also provides information on two changes being made: Marq Tran going to seven days a week door-to-door service rather than the Friday Shopping Shuttle, the University's decision to go with only remote instruction for courses in Summer Session I and the creation of the 2020 Wildcat Relief Fund. He provides reminders about the Friday (April 3) deadlines for withdrawing from a course with a "W" grade and completing the online survey for residence hall students with meal plans to qualify for the departure credit, that academic advising continues and summer and fall course registration is underway, and that students can get assistance through All-Campus Tutoring, the NMU Food Pantry, NMU Counseling and Consultation Services. He closes his letter with a welcome to new ASNMU president Emma Deaver and vice president Bethany Beavers and a note of sympathy to any NMU student dealing with family members, loved ones or friends who are ill or have passed away due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Week 2 - Stay at Home, Stay Safe - Tuesday 3:33 pm, March 31, 2020
NMU Faculty and Staff,
There is not a lot so far in Week 2 of Michigan’s “stay home, stay safe” executive order that drastically changes our work environment from Week 1 of the order, but below are a couple of items being worked on.
President Trump extended the federal social distancing guidelines to April 30 during his press conference on Sunday (March 29). Michigan’s executive order potential end date is April 13, but I think it is realistic to plan for that to be moved back as well given the projected timeline state medical officials have given for Michigan to get through the peak of the spread. For now, let’s hope we can return to our traditional work environment before May, but create plans that enable us to work remotely into the start of May, possibly longer. We will need everyone to remain flexible as this timeline might change several times.
An extended remote work environment for campus affects several things that are now being worked on, including the following:
- Determining that it is wise at this point to announce 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 canceled 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.
- We are in discussion about what is our best option for first-year and transfer student orientations should we not be able to hold the sessions scheduled for campus in May, June and early July. No decision has yet been made, but we’re trying to determine when a decision must be made.
- We have said that students can take until the end of the semester (May 3) to return to campus to collect their belongings from their residence halls and on-campus apartments. We are going to build a plan to extend that date as it looks likely we might need it in the face of what is happening statewide and nationally.
- Now that we’ve had a week with most employees out of campus facilities and primarily only “critical to infrastructure operations” staff on site, we are continually assessing our staffing needs to see what, if any, modifications could or should be made. We encourage employees to continue to work with their supervisors to ensure everyone remains safe while continuing to support the operations critical to our mission.
On Monday (March 30), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two supplemental bills that will provide more funding to combat the COVID-19 crisis, including funding for additional medical supplies. That’s good news. The not so good news is Northern’s career-tech and engineering facility renovation project (Jacobetti Complex) was among the $80 million reprioritized to support this COVID-19 mitigation. This is a setback, but a necessary one in the face of the crisis. To everyone who worked so hard to get the project’s funding to the Governor’s desk for signing, thank you for your efforts. They are not wasted. When the crisis has passed, work on this project will resume.
Yesterday an email was sent to you about the new Wildcat 2020 Student Relief Fund, which was created to help provide immediate and impactful support to our students under financial distress related to the COVID-19 situation. There have been several heartbreaking pleas from our students who have lost their jobs and must still pay their rent and utility bills; some from students who have lost their jobs and are parents; a student who is hundreds of miles from home whose car needs a repair in order to make that trip; and others. If you have the means, please consider contributing to the fund.
Finally, while I have not been made aware of anyone in the NMU campus community 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 someone in our community is 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 community, can help each other in whatever ways are possible.
Executive Order Reminder - Wednesday 11:21 am, March 25, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff,
The Michigan Attorney General has asked all law enforcement agencies to assist in reminding people that they must comply with the Governor’s “Stay in Place, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO), that was announced Monday (March 24).
The EO requires individuals to remain at their home as much as possible and only to go out for essential work and activities. No private or public gatherings outside of the family home are permitted. Citizens are allowed to go outside but must practice social distancing of six feet or more between individuals, and not gather in groups. No crowds of any size are permitted outside the family home.
Failure to comply with the Governor’s “Stay in Place, Stay Safe” executive order could result in a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail for each violation.
Students, please note that yesterday there were several instances of law enforcement officers giving warnings to those gathering at Little Presque Isle, Presque Isle Park, and other outdoor destinations. We do not want you to incur a $500 fine.
Also, it should be noted that the Governor’s executive order offers an exemption for university students who still wish to travel home.
Local Law Enforcement agencies are assisting with the Executive Order, for those on campus, please contact the NMU Police Department at 906-227-2151.
Thank you for your cooperation. Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions you may have.
Michael J. Bath
Chief of Police
Student Communication - Tuesday 5:00 pm, March 24, 2020
Governor Whitmer’s announcement of an executive “Stay at home, stay safe” order yesterday is adding another layer of complexity to the COVID-19 situation, but it is an important action to try to slow down the spread of this highly infectious novel coronavirus. Thus, Northern will do what we have to do on campus to modify operations so that we are complying with the order. Many other states are also under “stay at home” orders.
Of course, changes bring questions. I know students have quite a few of them. I’m going to try answer some of the most popular ones that have come into the NMUPres@nmu.edu account. Please use the Frequently Asked Questions section of the COVID-19 website in the days ahead as that is where we will post new information.
I did delay sending this communication to students until today (Tuesday, March 24) so that I could include some new information that has become available. The NMU Board of Trustees was able to meet today and approved an $820 credit, plus carryover of any remaining Dining Dollars to next semester, to students who check out of their residence hall rooms before 5 p.m. Friday, April 3. Students can also forego the credit and opt to remain on campus through the remainder of the semester, which ends May 2. We hope by providing multiple options for residence hall students, we are meeting the needs of on-campus students. More details are listed below.
Throughout the rest of the semester, keep communicating with your faculty and your on-campus employment supervisors. NMU faculty and staff are committed and determined to help you successfully complete this crazy, historic, unprecedented semester. While I know it’s not the learning experience you signed up for last November, this coronavirus outbreak is certainly a learning experience as you navigate daily changes, participate as global citizen in a worldwide event, stretch your creativity and innovation in resolving issues and problems, and establish your personal priorities.
I have confidence that you and Northern will come through this pandemic stronger and wiser. Please continue to practice social distancing and proper hygiene practices. Stay safe and well. Here are the top questions of today.
Read President Erickson's full letter, which answers the following questions:
- COVID-19 in the UP?
- What does a “stay at home, stay safe” order mean?
- Is the University closing?
- Will the residence halls and apartments be closing at some point? Are meals still being served?
- Should I/can I go home?
- What should I do if I want to leave, but I can’t move my stuff right now?
- Can my family come into the halls/apartments to help me move?
- I left. When should I return for my stuff?
- Am I going to get a refund?
- I’m getting really depressed. Can someone help me?
- With the university closing buildings, can I still work my student job?
- I’ve lost my off-campus job. Are there any resources to help me?
- Is the Friday shopping shuttle still operating?
- Is the bookstore closing? What do we do about book rentals?
- Is there any help for those of us struggling with the distance learning format?
- Is academic advising and fall course registration canceled?
- I still need to print for my class. Where can I do that?
- Where do I go if my computer needs repair? How do I return library books? Give to the NMU Food Pantry?
Campus Update - Monday 12:47 pm, March 23, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff,
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today an executive “Stay at home, stay safe” order, effective at 12:01 Tuesday (March 24) through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 13.
The governor makes clear the executive order is “necessary to direct residents to remain at home or in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible.” The full executive order is available at Executive Order 2020-21.
What does this mean for Northern? First, take a deep breath and stay calm. As a university, we can do this.
NMU employees who can work remotely should work with their supervisors as they prepare to begin working from home tomorrow (Tuesday, March 24). Employees whose position does not allow them to work remotely will be hearing directly from their supervisors about potential redeployment. Division leaders will be working with direct reports and supervisors to confirm departmental staffing plans.
Residence halls and apartments, as well as Dining Services, remain open to the students. Housing staff will be sharing more detailed information about any changes the “stay at home” order brings about. Those students who decide to depart immediately due to the executive order, should turn in their room key at the front desk. The executive order will affect some student employees, but not others, so students are advised to speak directly with their supervisors about their intent to stay or leave.
As of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday (March 24), Northern facilities will be closed with the following exceptions:
- Health Center and Services Building-Central Services (mail, warehouse), both with limited hours that will be posted;
- Ripley Heating Plant and NMU Police Department, both 24 hours per day;
- NMU animal, plant and other research laboratories will begin operating under the same procedures used during university breaks;
- Hedgcock will have access by appointment with office numbers posted on websites and facility entrances;
- all other NMU offices will be available via phone and email during regular business hours.
Supervisors will be providing card swipe access authorization to the NMU Police Department for special access situations, as needed. Deans will manage these requests for faculty who need access to specific on-campus classrooms to teach their distance learning courses.
There are a million other questions and details to cover, and we’ll get to those starting later today and tomorrow. Students will receive a detailed email that addresses student-only issues later this afternoon. Employees will get information by division, department and employee group, as it becomes available. For now, communicate with your direct supervisor on mission-critical items. Supervisors won’t have answers to every question yet; we’ll be getting them the information as quickly as we can.
I know this level of mitigation can be overwhelming to consider. I am confident that the NMU community can handle these changes with the same level of determination and care we’ve exhibited to get through the past few weeks. Everyone’s health and wellness remain the No. 1 concern.
More information coming soon…
Letter to Students Regarding S/U Grading - March 20
Campus Update - Wednesday 7pm, March 18, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff,
We continue to have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Upper Peninsula. However, in light of the projected COVID-19 timelines Northern Michigan University has been provided by local, state and federal health agencies, the University has moved up its decision date from March 30 to take the following actions:
ONLINE CLASSES: Northern will continue remote instruction from now through the end of the semester, including final exam week. Summer course registration is underway; already scheduled summer online classes will be held as scheduled. A decision about the format of summer courses and labs scheduled for campus will be made in April.
ON CAMPUS HOUSING: NMU residence halls and apartments remain open and students are welcome to remain on campus. The University has every intention to keep NMU housing options open throughout the semester.
Students who choose to leave their NMU residence hall or apartment and don’t plan on returning during the remainder of the semester must leave their key with their residence hall front desk.
Students currently not here can choose to delay returning to campus for the purpose of vacating their rooms. May 3 is the semester checkout deadline.
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, keeping our primary focus on matters that keep the campus operational and safe. Other residence hall and dining service issues, including adjustments, will be considered at a later date.
MAY COMMENCEMENT: The commencement ceremony scheduled for May 2 has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a future date that will be announced when details are finalized.
STUDY LOUNGE: NMU’s 24-hour study lounge is being moved from Harden Hall to Jamrich Hall and hours will be 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, effective immediately (March 18). Saturday and Sunday hours will be noon to 10 p.m. Jamrich Hall provides more room for social distancing.
STUDENT EMPLOYMENT: The University remains open with normal business hours. This means on-campus student employees who remain at NMU or in Marquette can continue to work at their jobs. Students should discuss their employment possibilities during this COVID-19 period with their supervisor. Career Services (nmu.edu/careerservices) is coordinating redeployment student employment needs.
CALL FIRST: The University is asking students and parents who need to contact NMU faculty and staff call or email first before visiting campus offices to see if the questions and issues can be resolved without
Our hope is that moving our re-evaluation point about decisions regarding the remainder of the semester from March 30 to now gives students and their families more information upon which to make decisions that are in their best interest. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we continue to operate during this unprecedented historic situation.
Campus Update - Tuesday 5:00 pm, March 17, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff:
Thank you to all for your collective patience and cooperation as Northern Michigan University navigates the COVID-19 situation. Overall, everyone is transitioning reasonably well considering the complexities we’ve had to work through. Your help, whatever it has been to help NMU in our forward progress, is greatly appreciated.
Today (Tuesday, March 17), we are making an additional change. In light of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order yesterday (March 16) and the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, Northern Michigan University has decided to suspend all in-person, on-campus gatherings of 10 or more persons, including lab classes, meetings, and events. This is effective immediately.
Faculty are asked to communicate directly with their students about the changes this directive has on any classes they are teaching on campus.
As a university, we are very fortunate to have the level of technology and technology skills that we do. Let’s use our technology to its fullest capability now as a way to help decrease the potential spread of COVID-19. As of the writing of this message, there is still no confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus or in the Upper Peninsula, but it is in our best interest to have transitioned to a point where we feel we can continue to keep the campus as safe as possible in preparation for possible deteriorating conditions.
Campus Update - Monday 4:30 pm, March 16, 2020
- Olson Library and the Archives spaces are closed until further notice. The Library and Archives will continue to provide virtual and online services.
- The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is closed until further notice.
Campus Update - Monday 1:00 pm, March 16, 2020
NMU’s Online class transition began today. Offices continue to be open and functioning. Housing and food services is operational with modifications. Campus leadership made the following decisions today.
- Northern Lights Dining and Wildcat Den are open and serving carry out only. Temaki & Tea is call in (227-6633) and drive through only.
- The campus sports complex, the PEIF Recreation areas and Fit Zone closed until future notice. Bike, ski and snowshoe checkout continues from the Fit Zone area.
- Campus recruitment visits have been postponed.
- Events that bring people from the outside campus should be canceled.
- All university sponsored travel off campus, no matter the mode, is canceled until further notice. Exceptions will be made by division leaders.
- NMU is making all efforts to remain open through the end of the academic semester through remote access. Essential services will be maintained on campus.
- Course withdrawal and drop for students has been extended to April 3.
Many Lab Classes Go Online – Friday, 5:00 pm, March 13, 2020
Thank for your patience during this fast-changing COVID-19 situation. I have an update that I wanted to share with you as it may impact some of your decision-making.
Due to the dedication of the Northern faculty, the vast majority of our lab classes have now been converted to a distance learning format. This is an amazing accomplishment that two days ago I was reluctant to say was possible. There are still a few specialty areas that need to be taught face-to-face, but they are very few.
Faculty members have been asked to email their students in the next day or two with the following information:
- Lab classes: What format will the lab class will be starting Monday – distance/online or in person
- Lecture and lab classes: Will the class be synchronous (at the same time as) the on-campus version or asynchronous (available anytime)
Again, our faculty have been fantastic in meeting the challenge the COVID-19 coronavirus has forced upon us. I know there may be some minor technology glitches early next week and I ask you to be patient as we work through those as quickly as we can. I know some of you are not thrilled with the distance learning option, but it is the best way for Northern to have students complete courses while giving students multiple options regarding your health and welfare. That is our goal. Collectively, we are accomplishing it.
Northern is creating a Frequently Asked Questions section for NMU’s coronavirus website, which should be posted shortly. If you have additional questions, you will probably find the answers there. If not, feel free to send them to NMUPres@nmu.edu. I will keep you informed as other decisions are made or the situation changes.
Addressing K-12 and related childcare closures – Friday, 2:45 pm, March 13, 2020
NMU Faculty and Staff,
Last night’s (March 12) announcement by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to close all K-12 schools throughout the state has obviously challenged many working parents across Michigan, and certainly here on campus, regarding care for their children. This action by the state impacts all of us at Northern as we pull together to ensure that members of our NMU community have their immediate needs met. Thus, the plan below.
We understand that the K-12 and related childcare closures may impact a number of our employees who do not have viable longer-term daycare options. Employees in this situation should work with their department heads to determine whether alternative work arrangements can be managed (e.g. modifying work hours, telecommuting, etc.). Creativity to keep employees working in some capacity is encouraged.
If there are no options for alternative work arrangements, employees will not be required to use annual leave time to cover the K-12 closure through April 5. However, employees will be required to use any remaining personal leave days and dependent care leave days. The definition of dependent care leave is being expanded to include caring for dependents impacted by the K-12 closure for this unique situation. Once these banks are depleted, any remaining time will be paid as regular paid time through April 5.
Please note that due to health and safety reasons, our standard practice remains not to allow children to attend work with their parents.
We have also received a number of questions regarding telecommuting options for other employees on campus. We are currently developing plans that will ensure that our technologies will support a large number of employees working remotely. However, at this time, the university remains open, and it is important we maintain the on -campus operations needed to meet the on-going needs of the NMU community. We understand we are dealing with a fluid situation and may need to make a different decision in the future. We have a general plan for the university to do that. We are now starting to meet with department heads to more specifically address the possibility of how work can be managed remotely as it relates to each unit, as well as how we will support the essential on-campus services that will still be required. I appreciate your input to your department heads as we continue to work through these scenarios.
Being creative and caring in how we meet the needs of our employees – today for the K-12 working parents – while still keeping the university open and operational meets Governor Whitmer’s request that Michigan colleges and universities do everything they can to keep their faculty and staff employed during this challenging period. That is one of our top priorities.
If we all pull together, flex our innovative thinking, and stay focused on keeping everyone healthy and safe, we can do this. I thank you for taking on whatever role you have to as an NMU employee to help the University as a whole successfully navigate the COVID-19 coronavirus situation.
I know there are questions. Please watch our coronavirus website for a Frequently Asked Questions section, which we hope to have posted later today or by Monday, as well as updates from me and others.
And, please, I can’t stress this enough – PLEASE stay home when you are sick.
COVID-19 Update – Friday, 9:20 am, March 13, 2020
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Michigan University is suspending most non-university access to the NMU Sports Complex until March 30. The NMU Sports Complex includes the Superior Dome, Physical Education and Instructional Facility (PEIF) and Berry Events Center.
Effective immediately (Friday, March 13):
- Only NMU students, faculty and staff with proper identification and PEIF members will be allowed to use the facilities during this period.
- No day pass memberships will be sold.
- Entrance to the complex will be only select doors that will be monitored with ID check in.
- This action will be reevaluated on March 30 for possible extension or return to regularly scheduled hours and activities on April 3.
- Walking program at the Superior Dome for community members is suspended.
According to NMU President Fritz Erickson, this decision supports Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s guidelines for Michigan’s 15 public universities to reduce large group gatherings where possible and to increase frequency of cleaning high traffic public areas as a measure to stop of the coronavirus. The restricted access also enables Northern’s custodial staff to clean the complex to the levels recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the pandemic.
“Many universities have completely closed their recreation facilities because they are such challenging areas to keep clean, but after considerable discussion on the matter, we concluded we could safely keep the buildings available to our primary users if we decreased nearly all non-university activities. We may have to completely close the Complex at a point in the future, but for now it’s open for university use.”
COVID-19 Update – Thursday, 1:52 pm, March 12, 2020
Dear Students --
We have received a few questions about the status of on-campus student jobs while we are changing most of our face-to-face courses to distance learning.
All university offices and facilities will remain open so you will be able to work if you would like. Some student workers may be moved to other work areas if necessary to cover for other students who have left campus. If you decide to leave campus for any period of time, your job will be waiting for you upon your return. Be sure to notify your supervisor of your plans.
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students
COVID-19 Update – Wednesday, 6:30 pm, March 11, 2020
NMU Students, Faculty and Staff:
After consultation with state and university officials, the following decisions have been made with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff in mind during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- All classes, labs, events and campus-wide meetings are canceled Thursday, March 12 and Friday March 13. Campus will remain open.
- Face-to-face classes will resume in an online/distance delivery format beginning Monday, March 16 and continue through April 3. A decision concerning the rest of the semester and final exams will be made by March 30. Faculty will provide information before the first class meeting next week to let students know how course delivery will be handled.
- Lab classes will continue meeting in-person with exceptions determined by the academic department and the respective dean.
- Residence halls, student food services and recreation areas will remain open with some functional changes that will be determined in the next few days. The goal is to meet the needs of students while taking necessary precautions.
- All large events in March and April of 150 or more attendees will be canceled or adjusted. Other campus events are subject to cancelation.
- Wildcat Weekend, NMU’s major spring student recruiting event scheduled for Saturday, March 14 has been canceled.
- In short, the university remains open with most classes being held online. The myriad of follow-up questions will be addressed as soon as possible. University leaders across campus will be asked to make decisions and adjust as needed as we serve our students as best we can, with special attention for our graduating seniors meeting their graduation requirements.