Dear campus community,
Yesterday, Governor Whitmer issued a new executive order, essentially lifting the stay-at-home order across a broad range of activities and businesses, including most of the activities on our campus. This is welcome news, and it hopefully signals a return to a greater sense of normalcy. Like you, I am eager to return to campus life, but I want to be sure we do so carefully and safely.
To that end, I’d like to share some thoughts on the campus restart, many of which we shared in our town hall meeting on May 21, where we were joined by nearly 5,500 people. If you missed it, you can still view it here.
- First, and most importantly, we continue to serve our mission. This is a source of pride for me personally, and I hope for every member of our campus community. Thank you to the faculty, students, staff and administrators who found a way to keep teaching, keep learning and keep going in the chaos and uncertainty of a global pandemic. But this is also a source of continued confusion. Members of the media keep asking, “Are you going to be open in the fall?” Of course we are — we never closed. The fall semester will start as scheduled, and we will continue to be guided by safety and science, rather than the urge to deliver a dramatic — and potentially premature — announcement.
- What will fall look like? There are still unknowns that make it hard to predict with great certainty, but we expect to be teaching classes on campus where we can maintain safe social distancing. Where we can’t, we will continue to conduct classes remotely and online. We expect to decide on the proportion of each type of instruction by July 15. The few hundred students who have never left our residence halls will be joined by students who are already signing up to live on campus. Here, too, we will enact new measures of testing and distancing for safety. There is still more to learn before we can decide definitively on events and athletics, so please stay tuned for updates.
- What about returning to work on campus? We have learned through this experience that many people can work effectively from home, and we have created new policies to support this. Even though the governor has lifted the stay-at-home order, those who can work from home effectively should continue to do so. And nobody should feel pressured to return to campus if they have health concerns. We will bring people back to campus slowly to control the population density and help keep everyone safe.
- If you come to campus — and you will need to check with your supervisor to determine if you should — then you will need to follow these guidelines, which include wearing face coverings, taking the Be Warrior Safe training modules and completing the Campus Daily Screener each day before coming to campus, beginning 48 hours before your first day back. I, of course, will do this, and I urge every one of you — students, faculty, staff and administration — to follow these guidelines closely. In doing so, you help protect yourselves as well as others in our campus community. Staying Warrior Safe is Warrior Strong.
- The pandemic has been difficult financially for the university, and we are modeling various scenarios depending on state funding, tuition and enrollment. This Friday, I will recommend to the Board of Governors that we hold tuition with a 0% increase. Additionally, there is hopeful news with enrollment, as numbers are ahead of last year, which saw the second-largest freshman class in Wayne State’s history. This is a testament to the fact that Wayne State remains an excellent opportunity for students to get a quality education from a premier research university. With so much economic uncertainty in the world, now is a great time for students to invest in their futures by attending or continuing college.
We will continue to communicate with you on restart plans in various ways, and I encourage you to visit the coronavirus website regularly.
Thank you all for your understanding as we navigate these unprecedented challenges. This has been a difficult time for many of us as we've adapted to this new situation, but I am proud of the way we as a campus community have responded — with characteristic creativity, resilience and compassion.
Thank you for staying Warrior Strong.
M. Roy Wilson