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Wayne State University

Members of the Wayne State community,

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world, and each of us, have undergone momentous transformation. Although it may seem that everything has changed, some important things remain intact, including our mission and values as a university, which have helped guide us through these tumultuous weeks, and will continue to serve us in this, our 152nd year.

We have shared with you a great deal of information since early March, when the pandemic began to reshape our lives and our campus. It is time now to shift our focus to restarting our campus, and preparing for the fall 2020 semester.

On April 16, the Coronavirus Campus Restart Committee was formed and charged with developing plans to phase in campus operations consistent with the easing of pandemic restrictions. Like the original Coronavirus Committee, this committee is guided by principles and focused on goals, which are below.

 Restart Committee principles:

  1. Safety first: This remains our top priority, and we will continue to be governed by sensible safety precautions and direction from state and health authorities.
  2. Continue the academic mission of the university: Teaching, learning and research will shift back to former operations, where prudent and possible, though they will incorporate new learning where applicable. We may need to change the way we operate in some cases, but we will not compromise the quality of our education and research. 
  3. Hold students, faculty and staff harmless to the extent possible within budget realities.
  4.  Incorporate learning from the shutdown: While the constraints imposed upon the campus and operations were difficult, WSU responded quickly and effectively. The actions taken in response to the shutdown have yielded lessons and opportunities that can help us re-imagine and reposition the university for the future.

Goals of the Restart Committee: 

  • Welcome the community “back to campus,” while providing information on new policies/procedures to ensure both safety and our ability to serve our mission.  
  • Re-energize the academic mission of teaching, learning and research.
  • Return the campus to as near to normalcy as possible, while continuing to prioritize safety.
  • Implement necessary adjustments based on budget/financial realities.
  • Adjust policies/processes/procedures to accommodate new learning.
  • Ensure preparedness for future events.

To address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing the Restart Committee, we formed a number of subcommittees — consisting of faculty, administration, and in some cases, students — each with individual goals, and chaired by subject-matter experts.

Subcommittees Chairs
Academics/teaching and learning Keith Whitfield
Research Steve Lanier
Finance and budget Rebecca Cooke
Public Health Laurie Clabo
Facilities Rob Davenport
Housing, dining, campus retail Tim Michael
Athletics Rob Fournier
C&IT Daren Hubbard
Human Resources Carolyn Hafner

The subcommittees are meeting regularly and report to the full committee to ensure information is shared and collaboration is maximized. Though we are making progress, there remains much work to be done, and many questions still to be answered. Some of the answers are dependent upon variables that are hard to predict, and we are modeling scenarios to maintain flexibility. Where we have more control, we will move quickly to communicate and implement decisions, so that you can plan your work and education. In the meantime, we will continue to communicate regularly and post updates on the coronavirus website, where you can find guidance, decisions and recommendations from the Restart Committee. To learn more about the Restart Committee, visit the menu item labeled “Campus restart."  

This has been a challenging time for all of us, and like you, I am eager to move to the next phase. While there are issues to be resolved, we will be “open for business” for the fall semester. As I have shared in other communications, I hope for a full return, but I expect that initially we will have a combination of in-class and remote instruction, depending on safety concerns. I expect we will have campus activities, student events and even sports, though for now they may be held differently than in the past. People will return to work on campus, though new policies and options will be in place to ensure people are safe and protected. The necessity of adjusting to this pandemic has taught us new ways of doing things, and we will incorporate this new learning where it makes sense.

Once again, I continue to be grateful and proud of the adaptability and generosity of our Wayne State community. While this is not over, there is a sense of hope and, soon, a plan to return. I am as excited to begin as you are, but I urge you to be patient and continue to observe the recommendations and policies on safety, for your good and the good of others.

Stay safe and Warrior Strong.


M. Roy Wilson signature

M. Roy Wilson