Cancellations sweep university as it closes for COVID-19


Courtesy | Maryland Department of Health

Nick Moran, Editor-in-Chief

This story may be updated as additional cancellations are announced. Please check back for updates. 

Update 3/12/2020 – 6:55 p.m.: In an email sent via LakerLink to student organization officers and advisors, the Office of Student Life noted that student organizations would be affected by the cancellations as well. In addition to barring all on-campus room reservations, they strongly encouraged organizations to cancel or postpone any off-campus events, gatherings or activities. In the email, which was penned by Assistant Director of Student Organizations Eric Stevens, the office also said that the Student Life funding process and travel support with both canceled as well.

Grand Valley State University administrators provided more information to the Lanthorn regarding on-campus cancellations. These cancellations are spanning from classes to on-campus events to facilities.

Effective immediately, Provost Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Maria Cimitile said some campus dining locations will remain open (including Kirkhof’s Lobby Shop, Kleiner, The Common’s Fresh Food and The Connection in Allendale, and The DeVos Center’s Plaza Cafe on the Pew Campus), as well as the University’s libraries.  Cimitile said that student employees on work study should contact their supervisors.

As of March 12, students living on campus are feeling one of the largest effects, which was the news that Housing & Residence Life were closing residential buildings by Sunday, March 15. In doing so, these students were told to either return to their permanent residences or fill out a request form to stay on campus due to extenuating circumstances. As of the morning of March 12, President Philomena Mantella told the Lanthorn that there were approximately 500 students who requested to stay on campus.

Also feeling special pressure from the shift to online classes are members of nursing, health or science majors, whose in-person labs are not easily transferable to online education. Cimitile said that deans in each of those colleges are still exploring the best ways to teach those classes.

Those conversations are reflective of university-wide planning for a shift to digital classes. Cimitile said that all faculty have experience with Blackboard, but those who need additional training in online education are taking intensive lessons March 12-13.

“Our faculty care deeply about the quality of the education of our students and I am confident they will do everything they can to ensure a smooth transition to an online format for students,” Cimitile said.

The University’s latest update on cancellations includes large-scale events planned throughout March. These events include: The West Michigan Healthcare Ethics Conference and the DeVos Medical Ethics Colloquy scheduled for March 16 at the Eberhard Center, The Michigan Humanities’ Great Michigan Read with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, sponsored by GVSU’s Kutsche Office of Local History and Grand Rapids Public Library, scheduled for March 24 at the DeVos Center, and The Region 12 Science Olympiad Tournament scheduled for March 28 on the Allendale Campus.