Virus Action Team encourages community to self-assess


The GVSU Virus Action Team conducts the Daily Self-Assessment survey for COVID-19. (GVL / Britney Watkins)

Katherine Arnold, Staff Reporter

At Grand Valley State University, the Virus Action Team has quickly become a group that every student, faculty and staff member has come to know during this time of COVID-19 uncertainty. Recently, they cooperated with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) when OCDPH issued the Staying in Place order Sept. 17. Another reason everyone might recognize their name is because of the financial incentive announced on Sept. 18, which stipulates that students who fill out their daily assessments at least 90 of the 95 days left in the semester will be eligible for $200 towards the winter semester.

The Virus Action Team replaced the work done by the Incident Management Team in early August, and have taken charge of GVSU’s health and safety monitoring phase as students head into their second full month of classes. Their job is to monitor the health and safety in the Grand Valley community, as well as the surrounding region, in order to report to the Senior Leadership Team. These two groups work together in order to create and design new health and safety strategies whenever new pandemic information arises and new information is gained through the pulse surveys, daily self-assessments, contact tracing and testing.

“The self-assessment enables GVSU to provide intentional outreach to students,” said Greg Sanial, Vice President of Finance and Administration and Interim Director of the Virus Action Team. “This is why it is very important for students to fill it out daily. The information we gain through the self-assessment allows us to address student-specific concerns.”

VAT oversees the administration of COVID-19 interventions and initiatives, and monitors the spread of COVID-19 in the community. They also track regional health metrics to determine what approach would be best for the GVSU community, in addition to maintaining open communication between both on and off campus groups about the any COVID-19 issues that will impact the university. Their efforts in this regard can be tracked through their Data Dashboard, which keeps track of the current active case at Grand Valley and how many more are confirmed each day.

It can be hard to visualize just how significant their research is to the decisions and initiatives that GVSU has made regarding the pandemic and how to best address students’ needs and concerns. The financial incentive was proposed to encourage students to complete the self-assessments, but even without it, the motivation to complete them daily is part of our dedication to the safety and health of our community.

“Whether you are a student, faculty, or staff member, we ask for continued vigilance in the upcoming weeks,” Sanial said. “You matter, and your health is important.”

There are several resources available to students who want to learn more about how to stay safe and healthy, tips and advice for living in quarantine or doing virtual work, as well as information about testing and contract tracing clinic rules and regulations. Information can be found at on the websites of Student Wellness, the University Counseling Center, the CARE Team (Coordination, Assistance, Response, and Education) and Lakers Together.

“We would like to thank students, faculty and staff members for all they are doing to keep the Grand Valley community safe,” Sanial said. “We will get through this together.”