“Staying Safe” order lifted, Ottawa County issues “Staying Strong” statement


Courtesy to GVSU

Olivia Fellows, News Editor

Effective Oct. 2-16, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) “Staying Safe” order issued to the Grand Valley State University student community in the Allendale area has been lifted. The order was the second installment following the “Staying in Place” order for GVSU students living in on-campus and off-campus housing in Allendale Township to slow the spread of COVID-19 that was effective from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1. In response to the order’s lifting, the OCDHP has issued a “Staying Strong” approach to continuing to keep the GVSU and surrounding community safe.

Epidemiological data monitored by public health officials and GVSU’s Virus Action Team indicate a continual improvement to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the GVSU community. The OCDPH is working further with GVSU and the surrounding communities to continue to follow regulations and help slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to Lisa Stefanovsky, an OCDPH Health Officer, GVSU went from accounting for 77% of all Ottawa County COVID‐19 cases down to just 4% for the week ending Oct. 10. She said this decrease in cases has been attributed to more students and residents following regulations.

“We fully understand that the required actions were challenging for all involved and I want to share my sincere appreciation for everyone doing their part,” Stefanovsky said in a statement to the community. “GVSU students have experienced a public health emergency and have responded to it with intelligence, integrity and adaptability. By embracing this challenge and adhering to the provisions in the orders and the protocols of GVSU’s administration, they have proved their civic responsibility and you and your team have demonstrated great leadership.”

On both campuses, state regulations regarding COVID, as well as campus policies and practices will remain in effect. The OCDPH encourages community members to continue with prevention measures like maintaining physical distance from others, wearing a face covering and practicing exceptional hygiene, as well as for people who test positive to do their part through paying attention to public health regulations on slowing the spread of the disease and notifying others when they test positive.

GVSU President Philomena Mantella shared a message with the campus community to thank students, faculty and staff for their persistence in following orders and adapting to the many changes GVSU is facing.

“My message to you today is to express gratitude and to encourage continued vigilance in keeping others safe from COVID-19,” Mantella said in her statement on Oct. 16. “Thank you for following all public health guidelines and specifically for adhering to the orders from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health in place for the last four weeks. The Virus Action Team has consistently been reporting lower numbers of positive COVID-19 test results associated with GVSU. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread of the virus. I remain grateful that we are working together.”