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Coronavirus Updates and Resources

SAU is actively monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. To date, there has been 1 reported case involving COVID-19 on the Spring Arbor University campus.

SAU’s Coronavirus Planning Team is meeting regularly to review the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and public health organizations. SAU is proactively implementing measures to safeguard the campus community.

We continue to monitor the situation carefully and will update the campus community regularly as new information becomes available.

Considerations for reopening SAU

Preparing for a Safe Return

Partner with Local Health Systems
SAU will be guided by federal (e.g., CDC and OSHA), state, and local health and safety protocols and recommendations. We commit to working closely with the Jackson County Health Department to provide access to professional services (testing, tracing, and treatment) for the members of our community as well as for guidance on best practices for opening and operating our campus safely.

Manage Access to and Navigation around Campus and Sites
SAU will consider the circumstances under which faculty, staff, students, and guests may arrive and remain on-campus. We will rethink how our students get to classes, live in residence halls, access our food services, and generally migrate through our campus and sites. It is imperative that we create new standards to utilize how we access our physical space in ways that promote personal and community health and safety.

Monitor Health and Implement Personal Safety Practices
SAU will endeavor–working closely with our healthcare providers and government agencies–to establish confidential and appropriate screening and testing programs for members of our SAU community. We will procure enough personal protective and safety equipment to ensure that all members of our community will have access to them as needed.

Administer Elevated Cleaning Standards
SAU will adapt, implement, and publish new cleaning and sanitization standards for University buildings that use the most up-to-date guidelines from the CDC. These standards will include implementing new methods of and timelines for cleaning as well as the promotion of sanitation stations at high traffic and residential areas of campus.

Adjust Calendars, Courses, Events, and Experiences
SAU will consider multiple options for the academic calendar, course schedules, and campus events to prioritize safety, to minimize disruption, and to maintain agility in our responses to the unknowns related to the virus. This will require that we creatively organize and schedule courses, lab experiences, guest lectures, domestic and international travel, athletic events, nursing residencies, student group meetings, and all other group gathering activities around campus.

Secure Isolation and Quarantine Spaces
SAU will establish–based on the spread of the virus and the unique needs of our community and in partnership with local healthcare providers–transitional space for anyone who needs to be quarantined. This space will enable SAU and medical professionals to support the health of any residential student who is in need while providing for the health of the community.

Advance Safe and Secure Technology
SAU will continue to ensure technologies are in place to meet the varied needs of learners and instructors, health surveillance and tracing, and confidential management of increasing amounts of personal, health-related information.

Support Mental and Emotional Health Needs
SAU will work to address the impact of this pandemic on the mental and emotional wellbeing of our community. This is a critical time to increase therapeutic options for our students and to provide training and resources to faculty, staff, and students on how to identify those in distress and how to effectively intervene and refer.

Protect the Health of the Surrounding Community
SAU will develop strategies to educate members of the SAU community about being responsible citizens as we interact with those who live in our surrounding neighborhoods.

Establish Training and Enhanced Communication and Signage
SAU will develop a clear understanding of what the macro-level expectations are for our work in each phase of our transition back to normal business operations. Then, we must be sure to train and support those who are responsible for aspects of the transition as they make decisions. SAU will also establish a proactive educational marketing initiative to promote good hygiene-related and healthy personal and community practices related to the virus.

Symptoms and Prevention

Tracking the Illness

If you (1) are showing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, and body aches), (2) have been exposed to someone who may have COVID-19, or (3) have reason to believe you are at risk. 

  1. E-mail (only): holtonhealth@arbor.edu to address your concern. 
  2. Please identify a location for testing near you. Henry Ford Allegiance is now offering testing at One Jackson Square, 100 E. Michigan Ave, Jackson, Michigan. 
  3. Next, you need to notify holtonhealth@arbor.edu that you are being tested, the date of the testing and the expected result date. Following your test, we are asking that you leave campus and go home until your test has come back as negative. If you are not able to go home, please contact your RD (via phone or email) or student.development@arbor.edu. 

The CDC recommends not going to any health center initially, but e-mailing, calling and/or scheduling a virtual appointment with your healthcare provider.

Preventing the Illness

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Please visit The Center for Disease Control (CDC) for information on how to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus.

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick (recommended distance is remaining at least 6’ away from a person displaying symptoms).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You must apply enough hand sanitizer to last for 10 seconds of vigorous rubbing on your hands.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. (LYSOL wipes or CLOROX wipe. Wipe the surface and let dry for 10 minutes).
    • Use credit/debit cards rather than bills/coins as cash circulates through more germy hands.
  • Practice healthy lifestyle behaviors:
    • Sleep 8 hours nightly
    • Eat a healthy diet and exercise
    • Hydrate with 80 oz of water daily
    • Support your immune system by daily taking a multivitamin, Vitamin C 1000 2000 mg, Elderberry (as directed on the bottle)

Campus Events and Facilities

Commencement: 

It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that our in-person May commencement events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are inviting our May graduates to participate in our next scheduled Commencement on Saturday, November 14. Despite the cancellation of the May ceremony, their degrees will be conferred soon after they fulfill their graduation requirements, and their diplomas will be mailed to them. 

The following information applies to students who opted to stay on campus for the spring semester:

Food Service

Food Service will remain in operation, with the required carry out service with the following hours:

Every Day (Sunday – Saturday)

  • Brunch from 11 am – 12 pm
  • Dinner from 5 – 6 pm
  • Breakfast items are available either of the above two times for use the next morning.

Mailing and Duplicating 

Mailing and Duplication (M&D) will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Campus Spaces

The Library, McDonald Field House and Fitness Center will all be closed until further notice.

  • The Cougar Den and Gameroom will be closed until April 13. The primary areas for socialization, then, will be the living areas – your own lounge space (Villages) and your living room (K-Houses). The Villages and K-Houses may not receive guests – these spaces are limited for use only by those students assigned to them.

Student Workers

  • Student work positions will not continue as normal on-campus. Only those positions deemed “necessary to conduct minimum business operations” may continue working on-campus, and area vice presidents will be tasked with making that determination. Do not go to work on-campus tomorrow unless you have communicated directly with your supervisor. Some student worker positions on-campus might work remotely; check with your supervisor to see if that applies to you.

Housing and Dining Costs

Residential students who were no longer living on campus by March 22 will receive a 45% refund of the spring semester room and/or board charges.

  • This refund will be issued as a credit reflected on your Fall 2020 statement.
  • Students with an outstanding balance this Spring will have this credit first applied to that balance, and any amount in excess will be applied to the Fall 2020 statement.
  • Students who are graduating this spring will have their credit posted to their student account by May 15.

Students who petitioned to remain on-campus after March 22 will receive a separate notification about their unique situation. If you have questions regarding this announcement, please contact businessoffice@arbor.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

I moved out in a hurry (or thinking I would be back) and left things behind. Do I still get a refund? Yes, we know that students left at various points of the transition to remote instruction, some prepared to be away for just a short time and planning to return. This refund will go to students both completely moved out or those who still have some items in their rooms but are effectively residing off-campus as of March 22.

How do graduates or transfers receive their refund? Students with an outstanding balance this Spring will have this credit first applied to that balance. Students who are graduating this spring or not returning next fall will have their credit posted to their student account by May 15. Refunds will be issued at the end of the semester once all accounts have been cleared. Refunds should be released no later than June 1.

Will students who purchased meal plans directly through Chartwells receive a refund? Students who have purchased a meal plan directly through Chartwells should work with Chartwells to determine their approach to refunds at this time.

Will I get a refund just for housing, or is meal plan included, as well? Yes, housing and meal plans are included in the refund. The phrase “room and board” is a phrase many use to mean “housing and meal plans.” 

What about a refund for my health, technology, parking, and student fee? At this time, there are no plans for refunds other than housing and meal plans. 

How was the 45% determined? We understand that this is a difficult time for our students.  The University made the decision to refund 45% of room and board semester charges for those who moved off campus by March 23. The refund amount was based on a prorated amount of unused room and board beginning from March 23, the first day that students were required to off-campus.

Are we refunding course fees? Course fees cover many instructional-related items. We have looked at each of the course fees and determined which ones need to be refunded, or partially refunded based on the supplies or activities that those fees supported. Most of the refunds that we are giving were based on field trips/travel that could not happen. 

What about a refund for parking fees? The funds generated from our parking permit (which we strive to keep significantly lower than other schools) provide more than merely the rental of a parking spot. They support campus Safety and Security, a function very much active right now, despite many students’ departure from campus. It covers costs for vehicle maintenance, patrols, campus lighting, installation of security cameras, etc. None of this stops, even in our current situation. For that reason, Cabinet has determined this will not be included in any pro-rated refund.

Admitted and Prospective Students

Visiting Campus

With guidance from campus leadership and in compliance with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, SAU has decided to suspend all campus visits until further notice. In the meantime, we encourage you to connect with your admission representative and take a virtual tour of our campus!

Financial Aid

Our Financial Aid office is serving students and their families through our financial aid phone line which is open from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Students with financial aid questions can call 517.750.2900 or e-mail financialaid@arbor.edu.

Class Registration 

The class registration process has been significantly altered to better serve students during this time of disruption. Our first two large group registration events that were scheduled for March 28th and April 18th have been canceled. In their place, we are scheduling individual registration appointments where students meet remotely with their advisors for a one-on-one registration. Orientation will take place at a later time, and will be communicated by the Admission Office and the Office of Student Life. Please visit arbor.edu/registrationday to sign up for individual registration or e-mail admissions@arbor.edu with any questions you may have.

University Related Travel

For SAU students, faculty or staff who have traveled internationally and visited countries that the CDC has listed as Level 3 (South Korea, Italy, Iran, and China), we ask that you e-mail holtonhealth@arbor.edu. A provider from Holton Health and Wellness Services (HHWS) will review the message and get back to you. Please isolate yourself in your room or at home until you have received a response from HHWS.

In addition, the CDC has been screening travelers at the airport when they arrive from countries listed as Level 3 risks. If the CDC asks you to voluntarily quarantine for 14 days, please let us know by emailing coronavirus@arbor.edu. We will help coordinate things with your instructors and develop a plan for continuity of instruction. If you live nearby, it would be ideal if you spent that time at home. If you live on campus and do not feel like you can isolate yourself, please let us know by emailing coronavirus@arbor.edu.

In light of the outbreaks in the Seattle area, New York City, Toronto, and California, those who have traveled to, from, or through those areas should pay careful attention to any symptoms that might develop and be prepared to isolate. Please communicate with holtonhealth@arbor.edu and/or your primary care physician with any medical concerns. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please email holtonhealth@arbor.edu before visiting in-person. If you have any general questions about SAU’s plans and responses to the Coronavirus outbreak, please email coronavirus@arbor.edu.

CARES Fund Disclaimer

Student Relief Funds

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided Spring Arbor University with $790,634 for Student Relief Grants. The funds are being distributed to students to help cover their expenses related to the disruption of face-to-face campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Department of Education (ED) set specific criteria regarding our distribution of the funds and the criteria for eligibility. The requirements for eligibility based on ED’s guidelines include:

·   Student must have been enrolled in a face-to-face program as of March 13 that met at one of our regional sites or main campus. Programs that met online or through Zoom are not eligible for these funds.

·   Student must be eligible for federal student aid as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

·   If the student was in a face-to-face program and met the criteria above, and had not completed a 1920 FAFSA, a complete FAFSA must have been filed by Wednesday, May 27 in order to be considered eligible for these funds.

In accordance with the regulations set forth by the US Department of Education, the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

All students were notified via e-mail on 5/22/2020 of the University approach to the disbursement of CARES Act funds. Students receiving a disbursement received a follow-up email from the Financial Aid Office providing specific details on how to receive the funds.

The process for distribution to qualified students is a block rate based on the combination of student experience (part-time, full-time, resident, and commuter status) as of March 13. As of May 29, 2020, the institution has disbursed $772,875 to 1,183 eligible students.