Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates

Campus Communications on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 24, 2020

(Letter from University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan to Kettering students, staff, and faculty)

Executive Summary of Changes Detailed in This Letter

We greatly appreciate your patience as we work as rapidly as possible to meet all of the widely varying needs of our community under these conditions. Consistent with our commitment to do so as early as possible, we now able to make a number of decisions concerning the operation of the University in the spring term. Primary among these are:

  • Students are not exempted from the Governor’s stay-at-home order. While it is in effect (March 24 – April 13) students, other than those approved to reside in Thompson Hall, will not be permitted on campus.
  • Spring term will begin as scheduled on April 6.
    • April 6-10: Academic Preparation Week using Virtual Delivery
    •  April 13 through at least May 1: Regular Course Schedule using Virtual Delivery
  • No later than Monday, April 20, we will communicate the decision to further extend virtual delivery in the term or to transition to face-to-face on campus delivery on May 4.

In earlier emails, I wrote that we would communicate to the Kettering community our plans for beginning the next semester as early as possible, but no later than April 8. We established this date to give us time to ensure that our response is appropriate to the situation, that we were remaining in compliance with the wide range of federal and state regulations, and that our students’ progress to graduation would not be adversely impacted by any actions we took.

We are not on the same schedule as other universities in Michigan or the U.S. These schools are on a semester calendar, which means they are in the middle of their second and final term of the year; whereas, we are in the last week of our third term, and are preparing for exams and the beginning of our fourth. They end their academic year in May, and have a long summer hiatus until the beginning of their fall term; we end our spring term in mid-June, and have only two weeks until we begin our summer term in early July.

We are proud of our differences because they produce such amazing outcomes for our students. This means we need to respond differently from other institutions to this situation.  We have had to develop our own plans that are specific to the needs of our students in both A and B sections, and then to make sure that we are able to execute them effectively.

We understand the anxiety that everyone feels about the current situation, because we are all living this with you. These situations are hard on all of us. We regularly communicate with you – even while the situation may be developing and outcomes are changing – in this hope of providing insight into not only what we are doing, but why.

For example, yesterday the Governor issued a stay at home order for the entire state of Michigan. Only two days before that, her office told us definitively that this option was not being considered. Events are moving that quickly. We anticipated it and have been preparing for it, nonetheless. In compliance, we have now limited campus activity to essential functions.

Our commitment to you is and always has been to act to protect the safety and health of the Kettering community while responding appropriately and responsibly to the situation as it evolves.  No single letter can contain all of the information you may wish to see, nor can it answer every question possible in a community this large.  However, we also maintain a website with a tremendous amount of information on our operations and our response, along with external links to even more. You may find it at www.kettering.edu/covid-19. This site is updated daily; but, if after reviewing it, you still have a question, you may email it to covid-19@kettering.edu. We are also monitoring relevant social media and will respond there as well.

We greatly appreciate your patience as we work as rapidly as possible to meet all of the widely varying needs of our community under these conditions. Consistent with our commitment to do so if possible, and earlier than originally anticipated, we now able to make a number of decisions concerning the operation of the University in the spring term. These are detailed below:

Detailed Timeline of Changes to the Spring Term Schedule 

Effective Immediately

  • Students are not exempted from the Governor’s stay-at-home order, therefore while it is in effect (12:01 a.m., March 24 – April 13):
  • Students, other than those approved to reside in Thompson Hall, will not be permitted on campus. Exceptions to this must be approved in writing by the President or the Dean of Students.
  • All student activity centers, e.g. the SAE Garage, t-Space, etc. are closed and no access by students will be permitted.

Between Today and April 6

  • Residence halls will close March 28. 
  • Students approved to reside on campus will be supported as usual in our residence halls and dining facilities until that date.
  • Any student needing to remain on campus in Thompson Hall after March 28 must obtain explicit written approval to do so from the Dean of Students. Students should contact the Office of Student Life (or the Office of International Programs for international students) to obtain this authorization.
  • After March 28 and through the break, a reduced meal service will be available to those authorized to stay in Thompson Hall, although service hours will be limited. Meals will be provided to-go only.

 April 6 – May 1: Week 1-4 of Spring Term 2020

  • Spring term will begin as scheduled on April 6.
  • All course content will be delivered virtually during this period.
  • Last day to add or drop courses for the term will be April 15.                       
  • Last day for course withdrawal for partial refund will be May 10.
  • No later than Monday, April 20, we will communicate the decision to further extend virtual delivery in the term or to transition to face-to-face on campus delivery on May 4.

If we return to on-campus delivery on May 4:

  • Thompson Hall will reopen to returning students on May 3.
  •  On-campus delivery under our regular schedule will resume on May 4.

If we do not return to face-to-face delivery on May 4:

  • Virtual delivery will continue until a return to campus is reasonable and prudent, lacking assurance of which we will commit to delivering instruction virtually for the remainder of the term.

Under specific provisions of the Governor’s stay-at-home order, the campus will continue to operate on a limited basis, but most University buildings will be closed while the order is in effect. Our University will remain open during this period and our operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of all on our campus and in our community.   


Detailed Course Delivery Schedule by Week

Week 1 (April 6-10) Academic Preparation Week

  • Delivery during this period will be virtual only.
  • Assignments in the first week will be substantive and count toward the term credit.
  • Course syllabi, including a detailed course plans, course expected outcomes, and other relevant course information will be uploaded to the Blackboard no later than April 4.
  • Class activities will be held during the scheduled class (and lab) times.
  •  No exams or quizzes will be administered during the first week and no homework or projects will be assigned during the first week.

Week 2-4 (April 13-May 1) Regular Course Schedule

  • Delivery during this period will be virtual only.
  • During this period labs will be conducted via simulation on KUCloud (kucloud.kettering.edu) or other alternative methods.
  • Lectures will be delivered synchronously using the Bb/Collaborate platform.
  • Class activities will be held during the scheduled class (and lab) times.
  • Student Support services will be delivered virtually.
  • The Registrar’s Office will provide remote help for students’ registration issues, drop/add requests, and other requests related to student record management. (810) 762-9775 or academicsuccess@kettering.edu
  • The Academic Success Center (ASC) will continue to engage students and address their needs in advising, ADA accommodation, etc. (810) 762-7476 or registrar@kettering.edu
  • The Office of International Program (OIP) will continue to manage international student affairs, travel related requests and issues, study abroad preparation, and international partnership management. (810) 762-9869 or international@kettering.edu
  • The Library will continue to provide support to faculty and students in accessing library resources virtually including electronic textbooks. (810) 762-7814 or library@kettering.edu

Beyond May 1

Week 5 (May 4) Anticipated Return to Face-to-Face on Campus Operations

  • Thompson Hall will reopen to returning students for move-in on May 3. 
  •  As appropriate, account credits and/or refunds will be issued to impacted students for the partial loss of access to room and board over the first 4 weeks of the term.
  • Virtual Delivery will end and we will return to face-to-face instruction on campus on May 4.

Why Are We Not Moving Now to Virtual Delivery for the Entire Term?

At this time, given our best evaluation of our situation in light of information we are receiving from federal and state agencies, we believe we will be able to return to on-campus, face-to-face delivery and to permit returning students to return to Thompson Hall after May 1, six weeks from now. Should the situation change in the interim and make such a return inadvisable, we are preparing to deliver the entire term virtually.

Many of our undergraduate courses have significant laboratory or hands-on, project-based components.  There are currently no readily available virtual replacements for many of these. We are working to identify virtual alternatives where they exist, and to develop those that do not. We remain strongly committed to the value of a hands-on, laboratory-based education for our students, so it is our hope to return to normal operations if prudent to provide that experience for our students.

What is the status of Commencement?

At this time, we continue to hold open the possibility of holding our Commencement ceremony as scheduled in June, as it is the ultimate celebration and recognition of accomplishment for all of our students. However, since Commencement represents a large and concentrated public assembly it may not be possible to hold Commencement as scheduled even if we have returned to face-to-face course delivery. We will update the Kettering community as our plans for this become clearer.

 Cooperative Education

We have received reports that some co-op companies have begun to adjust placements this term as they implement remote work plans and adjust their operations in response to COVID-19. Each organization’s response has been different and we continue to encourage our students to engage actively with both your co-op employer and with your co-op manager.

The admissions and cooperative education teams have been reaching out to admitted students, current students, and active co-op partners to gather insight and to provide coaching and guidance. The number of impacted students has so far been fairly limited, however, we have plans in place to assist students and incoming students grappling with this situation.  

Some students originally scheduled for a coop term in the spring may instead choose to enroll in classes for that term. We are closely monitoring this and are prepared to add class sections as needed to make it possible for them to do so.

We are also working to secure external sources of gap funding for students impacted by COVID-19.

More will be communicated on this in the near future.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as the University responds to this challenging situation. Thank you to all who are working so hard to ensure the safety of our community and the continuity and integrity of our operations.

 Please continue to check the University website (https://www.kettering.edu/covid-19) regularly for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus which may be accessed through our website as well. We will continue to communicate with you as more information becomes available.

Thank you & Warmest Regards,
Dr. Robert K. McMahan
President and Professor of Physics
Chair, COVID Response Team

 

March 20, 2020

(Letter from University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan to Kettering students, staff, and faculty)

This email contains important information about spring term 2020; please read it in its entirety. 

First, I am pleased to let you know that our complete schedule of courses is being delivered smoothly and virtually via Collaborate across all programs without major incident and with no outstanding issues. Final exams will be delivered next week, on schedule. 

Our academic departments report broad participation and satisfaction by students and faculty with the transition, and ASC has continued to help students with advising and their thesis, working with over 200 students this week alone, almost all virtually.  Critical student-facing functions on campus are in operation, and many staff are working remotely, while all areas are supporting core on-campus levels of activity.

Finally, our students on Study Abroad have all been safely returned to the U.S. and all but the last two (who are in transit home in the U.S.), to their homes. We have applied for and received State Department approval for virtual learning for our J-1 Visa holders, ensuring that the status of our students from other countries is not impacted by our move to virtual delivery.  On-campus courses for our students who are unable to study abroad next term have been scheduled and set.

Even our eSports team is going strong, with students still attending practice even though it's virtual and distributed.

Due to everyone’s hard work, flexibility, agility, creativity, dedication, and engagement, we have made these transitions quickly, effectively, successfully, and without compromise to our curriculum or delay in our student’s progress to graduation. Thank you. Together we have made this happen.

Planning for Spring Term

We have accomplished a remarkable amount over the past weeks, and we have done so with great success. As we look forward to next term, it is important that we encourage and assist each other to continue this great work – and given our success so far, I am confident in our ability to provide a comprehensive virtual learning experience for our students well into the spring if it is required.

We have demonstrated our ability to take on great challenges together. Spring term will present new ones. But I am certain that we will be able to build upon what we have already accomplished to meet them.

The COVID-19 Response Team continues to meet daily and virtually, and we have been actively coordinating with Academic Affairs to develop specific plans for the structure of next term. Specifically, we have begun to establish the sequence and decision points around the beginning of the term and the beginning of instruction.

The Provost will communicate to the campus details of the transition plan for next term to faculty and students early next week. In advance of that, I wanted to give you a sense of that plan, along with why proceeding in the way it outlines is important.

Looking ahead, we are going to need to navigate not only the possibility of beginning next semester using virtual delivery, but also how to do so while remaining in compliance with the wide range of federal and state regulations that determine our students’ eligibility, among other things, to receive financial aid. In addition, our accreditors, both HLC and specialized ones like ABET, have content and time standards that they have not relaxed and to which we must conform, even in this time of disruption. These make it impossible for us to change certain aspects of the term, such as the length of our academic year, without their approval in advance. Federal reporting requirements mandate we receive advance approval for many others.

We have no long summer break over which to absorb large shifts in our schedule. And the spring term in particular ends with Commencement, a culminating event in the lives of our students for which our families and we prepare far in advance.

Revised Spring Term Schedule

Taking all of these issues into consideration, I believe we would create far too much disruption for our students (in a time of already so much) if we delay the formal start of the term to April 13. But we can delay the formal start of instruction to April 13 even with an April 6 term start date, by requiring that the 1st week of the term be used for formal academic and preparatory purposes outside of class. And importantly, if we begin the term this way, we will also ensure that there is no interruption in our students' financial aid or changes in their eligibility.

Therefore, we will begin the term (but not direct instruction) officially as originally scheduled on April 6. First week, from April 6-10, will be allocated to academic preparation work, including reading or other virtual assignments by the faculty, but with no class meetings scheduled. All relevant course materials for each class will be available to students on Blackboard no later than April 4 to ensure that the full week is usable.  Over this Academic Preparation Week, we will also confirm our readiness to deliver virtually 100% of the spring curriculum without compromise on April 13.

The end date for the spring term, Commencement (*see below), as well as most deadlines and response dates during it will remain unchanged. We will however, add an additional week to drop/add and the tuition refund date schedule. Changes to some due dates or billing processes have the potential to impact students’ financial aid, and we are committed to act in ways that do not. Any modifications to these along with explanations for them will be communicated directly to students and their families by the University over the next week. 

In summary, next term will begin as follows:

-        We will begin spring term as scheduled on April 6, 2020.

-        The first week of the term will be assigned to Academic Preparation, which means all courses will need to have all relevant materials posted in Blackboard by April 4.

-        Formal direct instruction will begin on April 13.

Given the rapidly evolving nature of the situation in which we all find ourselves, we have made no decision at this point if face-to-face instruction will resume on April 13, or if we will continue to deliver all courses virtually for some period thereafter. In either event, direct instruction will begin on April 13. An announcement on when we hope to open Thompson hall to returning students will be forthcoming as well.  

Our University remains open and operations continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of all on our campus and in our community. We continue to monitor and evaluate our situation and will communicate to the campus community no later than April 8 our intent to reconvene and reestablish face-to-face on-campus delivery on April 13.  Please know that we do understand and are sensitive to the fact that the timing of these decisions impacts the ability of our students and their families to make plans for the term and for Commencement.  We will make every effort to communicate our decisions as early as possible, but no later than the date(s) identified.

Please continue to check the University website (https://www.kettering.edu/covid-19) regularly for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus which may be accessed through our website as well. We will continue to communicate with you as more information becomes available.

Thank you & Warmest Regards,
Dr. Robert K. McMahan
President and Professor of Physics
Chair, COVID Response Team

*The date of Commencement is unchanged under this schedule, however, we must all anticipate that the date of Commencement might still change – or even be suspended – if required to ensure the safety of our community under this evolving situation.

 

March 18, 2020

(Letter from University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan to Kettering students, staff, and faculty)

I am so proud of us as a community.

The way that this campus has transitioned to virtual delivery, the way that faculty and staff have adapted so successfully and quickly to new technologies, often having to redraft courses or re-engineer approaches to work in a matter of hours. Absolutely spectacular. Thank you.

But it is also important that we remember and recognize that the work that has made all this possible didn’t start only recently. Many of our colleagues in IT and Kettering Global, in the Registrar’s office, the Library and the Academic Success Center, in International Programs and Student Life – and in many other areas across the University – have been working for years to upgrade our systems, to add capabilities, to enhance student success and implement tools in support of it, and to create whole online enterprises, tools, and training built on standards of excellence. The groundwork they laid and their dedication to our collective future are paying dividends for us all now, and are making a smooth transition to virtual delivery and work possible. Thank you. 

We have more challenges ahead of us. But with the team we have, I know we will get through them, stronger and even better than before for having met them. I can think of nowhere else I would rather be in this moment than here, at Kettering University, with this team. With you. Thank you.

I Would Like to Speak Directly to Students for a Moment about Co-op

I know many of you are watching the impact that COVID-19 is having on the stock market, and many of you have already received specific instructions from your co-op employer on how they intend to manage their operations during this period.

A few of you have also reported to us that some co-op companies have already begun to adjust placements this term as they implement remote work plans and adjust their operations in response to COVID-19. I am sure that you are wondering how these changes might affect your future term co-op placements, too.

The current situation is extraordinary. To navigate it will require agility and flexibility from all of us as our employer partners manage through a truly unique set of circumstances.  Each organization’s response will be different, including their approach to their co-op students. 

I would encourage you to take this opportunity to engage actively with both your co-op employer and with your co-op manager. If you are working now, it is important to understand the policies and guidance of your employer; if you need assistance in this, our co-op managers have experience coaching our students through challenging situations. 

Our co-op managers are in communication with our partners as well. They are, among other things, gathering the latest information on upcoming placements as well as current ones. Your co-op manager will be reaching out to you, but if you have questions now, don’t wait to hear from them.  Start the conversation. 

In general, please check our COVID-19 University website (https://www.kettering.edu/covid-19) regularly for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus. These may also be accessed through our website.  We will continue to communicate regularly with you as more information is available, and, if you haven’t done so already, please read my letter to campus on March 16, which contains specific information.

Preparations for Possible Shelter in Place

At the present time, there remain no identified cases of COVID-19 at the University nor in Genesee County. As the virus continues to spread in Michigan, and as the volume of testing increases significantly (which will reveal previously undiagnosed cases), we may expect this situation to change. There are currently 110 recorded cases in the state, and, sadly, now one death. The Governor of Michigan has been taking a very aggressive stance against the spread of this virus in our state, and we may also assume that this will continue.

If the experience of other states is a guide, we may expect the Governor to eventually issue shelter-in-place orders for some counties in our state to help curb the person-to-person transmission of the virus. In the event such an order is issued, travel will be severely limited, and depending upon the specific parameters of the order, may be prohibited except for very specific purposes, like going to the grocery store. 

At present, even though we have moved exclusively to virtual delivery of courses and many of our faculty and staff are working remotely, a significant number of students have opted to remain on campus in local housing or in Thompson Hall.

Students

Typically, “shelter in place” orders do not prevent students from moving out of student housing facilities to reside somewhere else.  However, a shelter-in-place order, should it come, may be expected to make it more difficult for students intending to ultimately travel home to do so. At this time, we have no direct information that this order is to be issued for Genesee County, or that it is even being considered. But experience suggests we must be prepared for this eventuality, and the order is likely to come, if it does, with little or no advance warning.

Even under such circumstances, please rest assured that we will keep residence and dining facilities open so long as there is a need to do so, however:

Students still in residence at the University are strongly encouraged to return home as soon as possible and without delay if you are able to do so.

And in the event that a shelter-in-place order is issued for Genesee County:

Thompson Hall will remain open and operational, and students who feel safer in University housing or who have made arrangements to stay in University housing through the break will be permitted to do so.

Our food service will remain open as well, but it may be operated under reduced hours or provide a more limited form of food service.

Faculty and Staff

In the event that a shelter-in-place order is issued covering Genesee County, all faculty and staff will receive emailed instructions on remote work arrangements and procedures. Staff in on-campus roles that support student-facing functions that cannot be offered remotely like housing, dining, the Wellness Center, Campus Security, facilities, custodial, IT, etc. are normally exempt from such an order. 

Therefore, under such an order, our campus would continue to operate on a limited basis, but most University buildings would be closed. The majority of our employees reside in Genesee County; however, we recognize that some employees may live in other areas that themselves may be covered by a shelter-in-place order when Genesee County is not, or vice-versa, and we will manage these situations individually should it become necessary.

Please continue to check regularly the University website (https://www.kettering.edu/covid-19) for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus which may be accessed through our website as well. We will continue to communicate regularly with you as more information is available.

Thank you & Warmest Regards,
Dr. Robert K. McMahan
President and Professor of Physics
Chair, COVID Response Team

 

March 16, 2020

(Letter from University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan to Kettering students, staff, and faculty)

First, let me begin by speaking to you personally. I understand how uncertain you feel about the future of the spread of COVID-19, and about the impact of the changes we are putting in place to address it. I, like you, am experiencing this for the first time, and everything we hear in the media adds to the sense of uncertainty we all feel. It is easy for this uncertainty to become fear, and for fear to arouse feelings of anxiety. It is happening to all of us.

 We are all living this with you. We care deeply for you, our colleagues, and our students, and we are working to do everything we think is wise to protect the health and safety of our community during this unprecedented public health challenge. We are strong, as a community and as a nation, and we will come through this successfully. Social distancing doesn’t mean that we can’t reach out to each other – and I know you are, because I see it every day.

 We know you want answers. What makes us all feel better is finding answers to the questions that are distressing us. We are working hard to provide them, and to do the right thing, in the face of events that are changing very quickly. Sometimes we simply don’t have them, though. Often we do but sometimes changes in the situation happen so quickly that we have to stop writing a communication on an issue in mid-stream because changes require us to completely rethink our approach.

 This situation is extraordinary and it requires action on our part; but it also requires calm and focus. We are a strong community, and we share a passion for the uniqueness that is Kettering and for our students and mission. COVID-19 has not changed that - nor will it. I have seen countless acts of graciousness and caring in our community and throughout our leadership over the past few weeks as this issue has emerged. My trust and confidence in all of us to act in the best interests of our students and each other has only strengthened and grown as a result.

 Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our mission and to our students during this time. I know many of you are putting in many extra hours and assuming new responsibilities to help us as a community to address the many challenges this situation presents. And you are doing this during a time of heightened fear and insecurity, while also managing your own private uncertainties and pressing family issues.

 Through your actions, you have shown abundantly and clearly your commitment to and your passion for Kettering. Again, thank you.

 We have taken many substantial actions over the past weeks, and undoubtedly, there will be more that we will need to take as the situation evolves. Our COVID Response Team, which has members drawn from across the University, has been meeting daily to make sure our response is appropriate and to evaluate all of these approaches.

 A university is very complex and has many moving parts, and we are bound not to get everything right the first time over the next few weeks. You may wonder why we have done certain things and why we have not done others. Given how quickly the situation is changing, we all feel challenged to keep up. But we, like you, are working very hard to get everything right.

 The actions we have taken and are taking in response are substantial, but please know that they are not taken lightly. As the situation in our community evolves, we will continue to change to meet any challenges we face with the safety and success of you, your family, our students, and community kept front-of-mind.

 Today, I would like to announce the following changes to our operations:

 Virtual University Operations

 The work that our staff carries out each and every day is comprehensive and varies widely, and we recognize the work of many of our faculty and staff requires being on campus. There are important on-campus operations that must be sustained to support our education, residential, and research functions.

 However, there are those who are able to work remotely. In order to continue, in the face of an evolving situation, and to act always to protect the health and safety of our community, Kettering is instituting an initial optional remote work period beginning Wednesday, March 18, through Friday, April 3. Further extensions of this period, if required, will be included in future communications.

 During this period, area supervisors have the option and broad flexibility to establish work schedules and remote or on-campus work requirements under criteria approved by their respective Vice President. Individual remote work decisions, schedules, and assignments for staff will be made by area supervisors; reporting requirements for these decisions will be established by their respective Vice President.

 Your supervisor will be in direct contact with you this week about how your unit or functional area will manage your specific responsibilities during this period. Laboratory staff will receive specific direction from their deans and department chairs. For those in key, on-campus operations that must continue, your supervisor in these areas will communicate directly with you to ensure that these services continue.

 Staff pay and benefits during this initial remote work period will not be affected. Supervisors have broad discretion to create strategies appropriate to their area, including staggered on-campus and virtual assignments, etc. I am suspending any need for staff to execute a formal Remote Work Agreement during the period, however, you and your supervisor must agree on work expectations and communication protocols if you are working remotely.

 With many staff working remotely, does this mean that campus is closed? No, Kettering will not cease all operations and there will be members of the community living on campus and staff engaged in operations that must continue. During this time, we will continue our cleaning, disinfecting, social distancing, and other best practices to keep our campus safe.

 And again, if you are ill please stay home and if you become sick at work, especially with respiratory illness, please leave work and contact your health care provider.

 Changes to Group Meetings Policy

 Consistent with the CDC's recently updated guidance on large meetings, we are modifying our group meeting restrictions as follows, effective immediately:

• ALL on-campus events over 50 persons are cancelled. This applies to both University affiliated or externally organized events. All exceptions must be approved by the Office of the President, regardless of the current state of planning or commitments made.

 Dining Hall and Recreation Center Closures

 Earlier today, Governor Whitmer issued a broad Executive Order1 ordering the closure of a wide range of public accommodations and facilities. Our dining hall, recreation center, and FIRST Center appear to fall under the Governor’s definition of a public “educational” accommodation as defined in the order.

• Effective 3 p.m. today and continuing through 8:00 a.m. on April 1, 2020, I am closing the Recreation Center, the FIRST Center, and all in-dining seating in dining areas.

• The Sunrise room is to operate take-out only, and BJ’s and Einstein’s are to close. The seating in BJ’s and the area itself will remain open for use, but there will be no food service at that location.

• All access to any of our facilities by members of the public, meaning those without a university affiliation, is withdrawn until further notice.

• Subject to future announcement, we are currently evaluating the ability of Einstein’s to offer take- away dining only, and if feasible, Einstein’s will remain open during the prescribed period under this restriction, in compliance with the Governor’s order.

 Please continue to check regularly the University website (kettering.edu/covid-19) for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus which may be accessed through our website as well. We will continue to communicate regularly with you as more information is available.

 Thank you & Warmest Regards,

Dr. Robert K. McMahan President 
Professor of Physics
Chair, COVID Response Team

 

March 13, 2020

Neither the University nor Genesee County have a known case of COVID-19 at this time.

The General Information Section below contains important information about our current operations and restrictions in-place.  The University’s COVID Response Team continues to meet regularly to monitor developments and decisions made that impact our students, staff, and faculty.

In-person Classes Suspended

As of 6 p.m. March 13, all in-person classes have been suspended and will be replaced for the remainder of the term with other alternative or virtual learning and examination options.  Our students have been encouraged to return home if possible. A majority of our residential students have either already left campus or made arrangements for lodging off-campus.  For those remaining, all campus facilities, including residence and dining halls, will remain open and available.

Employees and University Operations

Our University remains open and operations continue with measures in place to protect the health of all on our campus and in our community. We will maintain normal operations unless otherwise indicated, and faculty and staff who are not experiencing symptoms of illness are expected at work as usual.

Late Thursday (March 12), Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the three-week closure of all public and private K-12 schools throughout Michigan starting Monday, March 16. We recognize this decision will impact many of our employees and will be sharing communications over the next few days with our faculty and staff that address this and other COVID-19 related issues. This information will be shared with our employees via email and posted on the my.kettering.edu intranet.

The work of many of our faculty and staff requires being on campus. However, for those who are able to work elsewhere remotely, we have asked that they coordinate with their supervisors to  begin preparing for remote work should this become necessary in the weeks ahead.

University Dining and Housing, Facilities

Residence halls will remain open until March 28. Students remaining on campus will be supported as usual in our residence halls and dining facilities.

The Sunrise Room has moved from self-service to full-service. The take-away (“Grab and Go”) of normal portions will be permitted without penalty to encourage individual diners to disperse and not congregate in large groups in the dining room.

Students who are unable to return home and who wish to remain on campus in the Thompson Residence Hall must contact the Office of Student Life (or the Office of International Programs for international students) to obtain approval to remain beyond March 28. As this situation continues to evolve, residential, university, and dining programming on campus may be limited after March 20.

Extra cleaning and sanitation of all areas has increased, in particular in areas of high usage including the dining facilities and library.

 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Current Status: Neither the University nor Genesee County have a known case of COVID-19 at this time.

Our COVID Response Team formed in late January has been meeting regularly since then. Over the past week it has been intensely evaluating a wide variety of sources of information on the spread of the virus in our nation and incorporating guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

Unlike many of the public institutions in Michigan which are currently on spring break, or returning from it, we are in a critical time in the academic term – 9th week. Next week, 10th week, our students normally are completing final work in all of their courses, and in many cases A-Section seniors are completing final requirements for graduation. Often the work in 10th week is capstone in nature and therefore has a disproportionately large weight in the calculation of final grades. And finals week follows in 11th week.

Disrupting the delivery of courses at this time cannot be done casually and must be done reflecting the true nature of the risks involved. We are committed to acting on objective evaluations of data and not the emotions of the moment or media pressure, to using the best factual information available to us, and to incorporating the mission and particular nature of our institution.

This means we do not do what other institutions are doing simply to conform but only if our evaluations and the information available to us merits a similar response. We recognize that the response of a large public university with 47,000 students is not necessarily appropriate for us, but neither do we discount it.

 We have been evaluating the spread and virology of the COVID-19 outbreak since January, and our response to date has reflected these evaluations and this philosophy.

 Above everything else, in this situation we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our community by minimizing the potential spread of the disease while honoring the commitments we have made to our students to deliver an educational opportunity without compromise. We also prioritize maintaining campus access to the greatest extent possible, especially for students who must complete requirements to receive their degree this spring.

 There are no cases of COVID-19 on our campus or in our community at this time. Given our current understanding of the distribution and spread of the virus in the US, we believe that in the future there will most certainly be cases in our area, however. In that event, we are mindful that the student population in universities represents one of the least vulnerable to developing severe coronavirus illness, but it also represents one of the most conducive to its spread. So, we also have considered that the presence of a large cohort of students, who themselves may be at low relative risk for serious disease, may represent through spread a much greater risk for our faculty and staff.

 Today we are announcing a series of changes that reflects these priorities with the goal of limiting the interaction of large groups of people, following updated guidance from the CDC and the State Department.

 Study Abroad

 On March 11, 2020, President Trump issued a broad set of restrictions on travel to and from Europe.

 These restrictions apply to foreign nationals only, and they specifically limit travel to the US by residents of 26 countries. On March 11, the CDC issued a Level 3 declaration for all countries in Europe.

 In response, and consistent with the criteria for our travel restrictions, we are making the following difficult but necessary decisions:

 • All Study Abroad programs scheduled for the Spring term 2020 are cancelled.

 • All Incoming Student Exchanges are cancelled (except for in-country students, see below).

 • All overseas Kettering students and U.S.-based faculty and staff will be returned home as soon as possible.

 We understand the disappointment of impacted students with this decision; however, we are acting to ensure your safety and well-being, and we are committed to doing everything possible to help you with this transition. We have developed individualized plans for each of our impacted students, and the Office of International Programs will contact each student individually over the coming days to discuss their specific situation and mitigation plan.

 And consistent with State Department Recommendations:

 • Incoming in-country exchange students will be permitted to remain and continue the program in the spring as long as they have observed our quarantine requirements.

 We have students currently overseas in programs in a number of countries. The needs of each of these students are unique and we are making plans for each student individually to ensure that they return safely and that there is minimal disruption to their academic progress.

 Campus Events and Visitors

 On March 11, 2020, the University issued the following restrictions, effective until further notice:

 • If you are planning a large (>100 person) university event on or off campus in March or April, you must notify the Office of the President (president@kettering.edu) of that plan.

 • ALL on-campus events over 100 persons are cancelled. This applies to both University affiliated or externally organized events. All exceptions must be approved by the Office of the President, regardless of the current state of planning or commitments made.

 • The Science Fair, scheduled for the campus this weekend, has been cancelled.

 Visitors to campus are asked to respect our efforts to protect the health and well-being of our community and to not come to the campus if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has either traveled to a CDC identified Level 2/Level 3 country or is ill.

 Campus Response

 Our University remains open and most University operations will remain unchanged, with the following exceptions (subject to future modification) that take effect Friday, March 13 at 6p.m.:

 Guidelines for the Remainder of the Term

 To our faculty, we realize these changes ask you to shift how you deliver your courses very late in the term, if not in some cases completely rethink how you teach. We are making these changes, however, to minimize the risk of promoting the amplified spread of the COVID-19 virus across the Kettering community:

 • At 6 p.m. on Friday, March 13, all in-person classes on our campus will be suspended, to be replaced for the remainder of the term with other alternative or virtual learning and examination options.

 • All resident students are encouraged to return home if it is possible depending on their personal circumstances. Students who have already left, or will be leaving, should not plan to return to campus until further notice.

 • Faculty and instructors should inform all students in their courses how they intend to manage this final two-week period. The Provost will issue guidance shortly to the faculty on how to manage this transition, and incompletes or other deferrals of requirements for completion should not be used.

 • Faculty are encouraged to use all available virtual and alternate technologies to complete the final week of the term, and to modify their grading policies if required to accommodate the disruption of delivery in 10th week. All faculty will receive an email from Provost Zhang addressing a variety of academic issues that follow from the decision to move to alternative instruction.

 • Students will receive information directly via email from their deans and/or specific faculty regarding any specific information for their courses.

 • Given the hands-on nature of many of our classes and project completion requirements for degree completion, individual deans will communicate specific course completion requirements and expectations to their faculties as appropriate.

 • More details, including those covering the final learning experience, will be provided by the

Provost’s Office

 All campus facilities, including residence and dining halls, remain open and available to students during this period.

 Final Exams – 11th week

 • Final exams will be delivered consistent with instructions provided by the Provost.

Spring Term 2020

 • The start of Spring term 2020 will be delayed by one week to April 13.

 • No decision has yet been made to move the campus to virtual course delivery in the Spring term. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and communicate to the campus community no later than April 8 on whether the University will reconvene and reestablish face-to-face on-campus delivery on April 13, or if we will transition to a period of virtual delivery of coursework and assessments for some portion of the Spring term.

 University Dining and Housing, Student Communications

 • Residence halls will remain open until March 28. Students remaining on campus will be supported as usual in our residence halls and dining facilities.

 • The Sunrise Room will move from self-service to full-service. The take-away (“Grab and Go”) of normal portions will be permitted without penalty to encourage individual diners to disperse and not congregate in large groups in the dining room.

 • Students who are unable to return home and who wish to remain on campus in Thompson Hall must contact the Office of Student Life (or the Office of International Programs for international students) to obtain approval to remain beyond March 28.

 • Residential, university, and dining programming on campus may be limited after March 20th.

Student Extracurricular Activities

 • Effective March 13, all student extracurricular activities including university travel, competitions, events, programs, performances, intramurals, meetings, etc., both on and off campus, are cancelled through Monday, April 13.

 Employees and University Operations

 Our University remains open and operations continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of all on our campus and in our community. We will maintain normal operations unless otherwise indicated, and faculty and staff who are not experiencing symptoms of illness are expected at work as usual.

 • Kettering Dining Services and University Housing will remain operational.

 • We have been working closely with local health care providers to ensure that we are prepared to transfer individuals suspected of having COVID-19 to local health care facilities, and we have in place processes to aid in the timely delivery of assistance for our students and employees. We have emergency response protocols in place, and have proactively ordered supplies and developed plans for handling potential illness on the campus.

 • We recognize the work of many of our faculty and staff requires being on campus. However, for those who are able work elsewhere remotely, please work with your supervisors to begin preparing for remote work should this become necessary in the weeks ahead.

 Human Resources will be sending out an email to all staff in the near future to provide additional, more detailed guidance on work-related questions you may have.

 We know many questions remain unanswered. We appreciate your patience and understanding as the University responds to this challenging situation. Thank you to all who are working so hard to ensure the safety of our community and the continuity and integrity of our operations.

 This is a rapidly evolving situation, so it is important to continue to check regularly the University website (www.kettering.edu/covid-19)  for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus which may be accessed through our website as well.

 We will be publishing specific points of contact for questions on the website in the near future, so please look for those, and we will continue to communicate regularly with you as more information is available. The situation is evolving, and we will continue to make any changes to our operations to support the health and safety of our community.

Thank you & Warmest Regards,
Dr. Robert K. McMahan
President and Professor of Physics
Chair, COVID Response Team

 

March 11 Update: COVID-19 Coronavirus

Neither the University nor our county in Michigan (Genesee) have a known case of COVID-19 at this time.

As of late Tuesday night, two presumptive cases of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) were identified in Michigan (one in Oakland County, the other Wayne County/Metro Detroit). According to Governor Whitmer, these cases still need to be confirmed by the CDC, but we must presume that regardless, we will soon see active cases in Michigan and the region.

Thank you for the calm and care that you are demonstrating as we work together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.

Our COVID Response Team formed in late January has been meeting regularly since then. During that time, it has been closely monitoring the latest information on the novel coronavirus and taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health and safety of our community consistent with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The University also has academic and business continuity plans that will be activated if needed.

The University is following the advice of Public Health authorities and at this time classes and events on campus continue. Regular updates will be posted on the University’s website and communicated internally to the campus. This is a rapidly evolving situation, so it is important to continue to check regularly the University website (https://www.kettering.edu/covid-19) for updates in addition to public health advisories on the virus which may be accessed through our website as well.

We will continue to communicate regularly with you as more information is available. The situation is evolving, and we will continue to make any changes to our operations to support the health and safety of our community.

Health Services

The University, including the COVID Response Team and the President, are in regular contact with area medical experts and local health care facilities. The University has in place action plans to provide support for students, faculty, and staff if and as needed.

All of the Kettering community is asked to continue to self-monitor for signs of the flu/influenza or COVID-19. We ask any student, faculty, or staff member who meets the CDC criteria for concern (found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html) to self-isolate and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care.

For faculty and staff, if you are concerned about someone in the workplace who is ill and exhibiting flu-like symptoms or have concerns about safety in your workplace, please speak with your supervisor. Employees in the workplace who are ill with flu-like symptoms should advise their supervisor, stay home, and seek appropriate medical advice.

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and the flu is through prevention:

•             Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer

•             Sneeze and cough into your sleeve or a tissue which you use only once before discarding

•             Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

•             Avoid contact with people who are sick

•             Stay home if you are sick

If You Feel Sick

Call ahead before visiting your health care provider or the Wellness Center. Do not go to campus, work, or public areas or use public transportation. Students should call their primary health care provider or the Wellness Center on campus at (810) 762-9650; faculty and staff should call their primary health-care provider.

When you call, tell your provider that you have or suspect you may have COVID-19. This will help them direct you appropriately as well as to take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. 

Campus Events and Visitors

As the outbreak progresses, it may become necessary to move to a broader implementation of social distancing practices across our campus. The COVID Response Team is currently assessing upcoming events on campus for impact on our community.  If you are planning a large (100+ person) university event on or off campus in March or April, please notify the Office of the President (president@kettering.edu) of that plan.

Otherwise, previously scheduled events on campus have not been canceled or postponed. This is subject to change as the situation evolves.

Visitors to campus are asked to respect our efforts to protect the health and well-being of our community and to not come if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has either traveled to a CDC identified Level 2/Level 3 country or is ill.

University Response, Alerts

If we find it prudent to suspend on-campus activities in whole or in part, you will be notified through the University’s campus-wide alert system, Kettering Alert.  Please review your notification settings on the Kettering Alert my.kettering.edu webpage to make sure your settings are correct.

Kettering Alert will also be used to inform students, staff, and faculty when there are updates to existing programs and/or significant changes to the status of COVID-19 in the region. The alert, which will come in the form of an email and text will not be used unless there is important information the entire campus needs to know.

Alternative Instruction

While it is not possible to predict exactly what will happen, we can use the experiences of other campuses in our planning. In more heavily impacted areas of our country, such as the Pacific Northwest or New England, we are aware that a number of universities and colleges have announced forms of physical closures and moves to virtual learning, but many institutions in those same areas remain open.

We will also see larger institutions in Michigan do this as well, as they represent large concentrations of people in an environment where social distancing may be especially difficult. Smaller institutions like Kettering are fundamentally different in nature, however, and our response will not simply mimic the response of others, but will be developed taking those differences into account. If the experience of other states is a guide, we may see large public institutions in our state close, while many smaller private ones, located in different areas of the state, are able to remain safely open.

We are preparing for this eventuality, but do not believe such action is warranted at this time at Kettering.

Our faculty and students have asked about possible impacts to instruction and what steps they should take. As we have continued to monitor the progression of COVID-19 in Michigan, we have also been developing and implementing a broader plan to account for a variety of scenarios, including actively training and supporting our faculty to offer all courses virtually in the event that we find it prudent to suspend campus academic operations.  Our faculty have responded to this challenge unreservedly and are moving quickly to create course images in Blackboard for all courses while also refreshing their skills in using the asynchronous and synchronous collaboration tools provided by the University like Collaborate.

Obviously, ceasing on-campus face-to-face instruction will have profound disruptive effects on our students that simply moving to virtual instruction will not mitigate, and we are mindful of this in our planning. Laboratory and project-based classes may have to be delayed and the progress of students impacted. Moving to a fully virtual course delivery model in short order for an institution that is founded on personal face-to-face attention is a formidable task. Fortunately, over the past several years we have built a world-class virtual capability in Kettering Global, and through Kettering Global we have resources to help faculty and students work remotely in the event of an unexpected campus closure. Members of the Kettering community are presently working tirelessly to support such a transition.

But keep in mind that even without a formal closure, brief interruptions to our operations for cleaning or other targeted response is a likely scenario.

We know many questions remain unanswered by this communication, and we are working to provide answers and scenarios covering all of them in this rapidly evolving situation. We appreciate your patience and understanding as the University responds to this challenging situation. Thank you to all who are working so hard to ensure the safety of our community and the continuity and integrity of our operations.

As our plans and approaches mature, in consultation with medical and public health experts, as well as our own academic affairs team, we will keep you informed. Even as we face a rapidly shifting and evolving range of issues to address, I know that our shared commitment to the well-being of our community will always guide our actions. 

 

March 4, 2020

Kettering University’s top priority is always for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff – on and off campus.

As of March 4, 2020, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported at Kettering University nor are we aware of any in the state of Michigan, however, the University is closely monitoring relevant developments and reports for changes in status. University leadership has been engaged in planning on multiple levels to ensure that the University is prepared and has appropriate measures in place to prioritize safety, provide alternative instructional opportunities and more.

Upcoming on-campus events that have been previously announced will proceed as scheduled at this time, though the University asks anyone intending to visit campus to be mindful of their own health status and considerate of others. We ask that anyone who has traveled to identified areas of concern or who is experiencing symptoms of influenza or COVID-19 not attend any on-campus event or visit campus.

As part of the University’s commitment to the safety of its community, President Robert McMahan has announced the following effective immediately and until further notice:

University-Sponsored Travel

• The cancellation of all University-sponsored travel for faculty, staff and students to countries the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies as Level 2 and Level 3 risks for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Countries currently at these levels are China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan.

• The cancellation of all University-sponsored travel to all identified Level 2 or Level 3 countries in the future upon the date of identification by the CDC regardless of the state of planning or the nature of any commitments made in support of that travel. Previously issued approvals for any travel falling under this exclusion will be rescinded.

• These restrictions also apply to all in-transit travel through affected locations.

• Any student, faculty or staff member planning future University-related travel overseas (irrespective of CDC status) must follow existing approval processes as outlined by the Office of International Programs (OIP), observing any temporary restrictions imposed by the University, even those applied after plans have been made and confirmed.

• All University-sponsored visits by individuals, including visiting scholars and students, originating in or travelling through a listed country must be cancelled and rescheduled. This applies to all visits and visit types regardless of the stage of planning.

• Any student, faculty or staff member who has returned from a CDC identified Level 2 or Level 3 country within the last four weeks or who has been exposed to someone who has traveled to one of those locations should contact the Office of International Programs for specific instructions.

• Faculty or staff travelling to countries added to the list while they are in country will be required to self-quarantine in a University prescribed manner for a minimum of 14 days upon their return and before they will be permitted to return to campus.

While Kettering’s policies do not regulate personal or non-University-sponsored travel, they do regulate the conditions upon which individuals will be allowed to return to campus afterward. All members of the community planning to travel internationally are strongly urged to carefully consider their travel plans.

Any faculty or staff member engaging in personal travel to or from any Level 2 and Level 3 country, including Italy, Japan, South Korea, China and Iran (1) is required to report that travel to the Office of International Programs prior to departure and (2) will be required to self-quarantine in a University prescribed manner for a minimum of 14 days before they will be permitted to return to campus.

Any faculty, staff or student on University-sponsored or personal travel to countries designated as Level 2 or Level 3 by the CDC while they are in country will be required to self-quarantine in a University prescribed manner for a minimum of 14 days before they will be permitted to return to campus.

Faculty and staff are asked to consider limiting discretionary domestic travel until further notice, including conference travel.

Students are strongly encouraged to avoid personal travel to these areas as well. 

Students who do choose to undertake such travel will be required to self-quarantine in a University prescribed manner for a minimum of 14 days before being permitted to return to campus.

Study Abroad Programs and International Students

At this time our travel and study abroad programs to Germany and Spain have not yet been impacted. But this may change as circumstances warrant. Students in these programs who have concerns about their status should contact the Office of International Programs in AB Room 3340 or via international@kettering.edu or (810) 762-9869.

To date, our partner institutions in Germany and Spain have not communicated any concerns to us regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their operations or student programs, and at this time they do not expect to make any changes to their program plans or availability as a result. In the event that some or all of our programs are ultimately cancelled or postponed, the University will work with all impacted students to develop appropriate continuation options for them for the term(s) they were scheduled to be on exchange.

The University will continue to monitor and evaluate official recommendations and information regarding the spread and nature of COVID-19 and will not hesitate to cancel a program if assessments indicate doing so is warranted.  Cancellation considerations include whether to cancel programs pre-departure or after departure. In the event that changes impact students already abroad, the University will determine whether to bring students home or assist them in remaining in place, based upon the recommendations of these official sources. If there are changes, all participants will be notified immediately.

Provisions and plans coordinated by the Office of International Programs also are in place for international students and colleagues currently in residence at the University.

Influenza

The Kettering community is encouraged to familiarize themselves with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommendations for preventative actions to reduce the risk of developing influenza, which has similar symptoms to COVID-19. The CDC recommendations as well as additional information on the current influenza season may be found on the CDC website at:  cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2019-2020.htm  

All Kettering students, faculty and staff are asked to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others by adopting habits to prevent and slow the spread of influenza. Self-monitoring for symptoms of flu, social distancing, diligence in prevention, and if directed by a healthcare professional, self-quarantine are all essential to disrupt the transmission of influenza. Information and support on these are available at the University Wellness Center located on campus.