Dear campus community,
Last night, Gov. Whitmer announced new restrictions from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in light of the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout Michigan.
This was not surprising, as we have been monitoring our own trigger metrics closely. In particular, our COVID-19 positivity rate on campus increased to 5.4%, while the Detroit positivity rate reached 6.8%. Both of these metrics placed us on heightened alert and were moving in the wrong direction. Additionally, while not yet a trigger metric, the number of new cases per day on campus had nearly tripled, from 2.29 to 6.71 over the past four weeks.
Based on the MDHHS directives, effective this Wednesday, Nov. 18:
- All on-campus, face-to-face instruction is suspended for three weeks. Considering where we are in the semester and the approach of the holidays, Wayne State will suspend on-campus and face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester, including final exams. This also applies to individually arranged in-person meetings for instructional purposes. The only exception is for clinical rotations in the licensed health professions in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the College of Nursing, and the School of Medicine.
- Libraries that are currently open will remain open, but capacity will be limited to 25%.
- Research activities will continue in accordance with current established operational parameters with some potential limited adjustments that will be communicated from the vice president for research. The Public Health Subcommittee and the vice president for research are reviewing current safety policies/procedures to develop contingency plans if necessary.
- The bookstore will be closed to in-person traffic and will continue to provide full service on its website.
- Housing/dining and the Student Center Building will remain open with increased vigilance and continued adherence to the existing guidelines.
- With the exception of critical infrastructure employees, all who can work effectively from home must continue doing so through the winter semester. Please avoid visits to campus or working on campus unless absolutely necessary to accomplish your work.
- The Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center will remain open with limited capacity, and we have increased distancing throughout the facility.
We hope and anticipate that adherence to these increased safety measures will improve our metrics and allow us to begin the winter semester with fewer restrictions. Please monitor your communications and the Wayne State coronavirus website for follow-up information, or contact your supervisor with specific questions.
While it is not yet time to relax our vigilance, I am proud of the way we have worked together as a campus community thus far to safely serve our mission. And I am hopeful. The progress toward treatments and vaccine development has been remarkable, and we have demonstrated that when we follow the safety guidelines and look out for each other, we can improve the trajectory of cases. This will eventually pass, but for now I thank you for your cooperation in adopting these new measures and your continued example of what it means to be Warrior Strong.
M. Roy Wilson