Letter to the Editor: Thank you, GVSU

Courtesy | GVSU

Courtesy | GVSU

John Kilbourne, Professor of Movement Science, GVSU

Thank you, GVSU.

I write to share my appreciation for the efforts Grand Valley State University has made to make in-person instruction a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thank you President Mantella and your administrative team, the Virus Action Committee, and the employees of Facilities Services at the university.

As a faculty member who is coming to campus five days per week and teaching mostly freshman students face-to-face, I feel very safe during my time at the university.  During the first five weeks of the semester, I actually taught my classes under the safety of an outdoor tent.  There is no place on campus more protected.  I feel safer at the university than I do filling our car with gasoline or shopping at the local grocery store.  I commute to campus on the new Laker Line bus that also seems very sanitary and safe.

In my department, approximately 30% of the faculty is actually coming to campus.  Many students have come up to me after class and shared their joy in actually having a “live” professor.  Most of their comments, some bringing me to tears, affirm my commitment to being present for our students.

Yes, being in-person and face-to-face requires the added important responsibilities of teaching masked-up, making sure students are masked-up, taking time each day to complete a health assessment, and scheduling and taking a weekly COVID-19 test.  I am more than happy to meet these requirements to insure that the university can continue to provide in-person instruction for our students.

It is also important to acknowledge that by having in-person classes, the faculty and staff that come to campus provide the structure that supports many university employees including janitorial staff, food and service staff, student workers and even campus security.  There is limited need for full campus security if there is no one on campus.

An important indicator of the success that Grand Valley State University has exhibited in managing the COVID-19 pandemic is the information shared on the GVSU COVID-19 Data Dashboard.  I check the Dashboard daily.  The important indicator for me is the current number of active cases.  As of Oct. 22, there are 61 active COVID-19 cases in a community of 28,000.

It is important that the public hear positive news on and about what is actually happening in the trenches at Grand Valley State University.  From my in-house perspective, the first eight weeks of the semester have been a moving success.

John Kilbourne, Ph.D. is a professor of Movement Science at Grand Valley State University.