Following case uptick, GV encourages students to get vaccinated when eligible


Courtesy / MiBiz

Olivia Fellows, Associate Print Editor

Following an uptick in COVID-19 cases on campus and the announcement from the United States government that individuals 16 and older may be eligible to receive vaccinations by the beginning of April, Grand Valley State University is encouraging students to plan their vaccine when they know they are eligible to receive it.

The GVSU Data Dashboard shows daily new cases of COVID-19 in the GVSU community have been increasing in March. During the past week, the Virus Action Team has reported an average of about six new cases per day, compared to about two cases per day in mid-February. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health notified GVSU on March 11 that the U-K B.1.1.7 variant was detected on campus, indicating variants are circulating within the community.

In response, the GVSU COVID-19 Testing Program is expanding free, on-campus antigen testing for students. Invitations to test will now be sent weekly to students who are taking in-person classes, live on or near campus, or are expected to be on campus in some capacity. The invitation process for faculty and staff will remain the same.

According to the Virus Action Team, the university will not be able to offer vaccines as of right now, but encourages students to reach out to health care providers to learn more about how they can get vaccinate when they become eligible. The university is in the process of looking into options for how to offer vaccines to students.

“We routinely encourage the GVSU community, through our weekly VAT emails and on the Lakers Together website, to register for a vaccine so they will be able to get one as soon as they become eligible,” said Dottie Barnes, GVSU Associate Director of News, in an email. “GVSU does not have the ability to offer vaccines, which is handled by health departments, hospitals and pharmacies. We are working with the local health department in hopes of offering a clinic on campus.”

Health departments have different processes for scheduling and registration, and information on West Michigan vaccination options and eligibility requirements is available at Vaccinate West Michigan. Even if an individual has received the COVID-19 vaccine, they are still required to continue to adhere to all GVSU policies and guidelines regarding the virus. Minor updates were recently made to the GVSU Face Covering Policy and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) preparedness and response plan.

In terms of spring and summer classes, the administration has set the course instruction methods and will not be making changes to instruction for those semesters following additional vaccination availability. Classes for spring and summer have been set in all online formats, and those instruction settings will not change. The university plans on providing more information for the fall semester when it comes closer, pending analyzing COVID-19 case data throughout the summer and vaccination numbers.

For more information on GVSU’s testing program and COVID-19 case incidents,  visit the Virus Action Team’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard and VAT Updates site.