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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dark brown banner with light brown image of COVID-19 and the words Campus Updates.Alma College has activated a coronavirus (COVID-19) task force and is continuously monitoring the threat risk for all college related travel and activities. The health and safety of our students and all in the campus community remains our top priority. We will communicate regularly with the college community through email and this webpage regarding this developing situation. 

We continue to work closely with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Mid-Michigan District Health Department (MMDHD) to monitor coronavirus developments in our region. Additionally, we are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Alma College does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time. If any cases are confirmed, we will communicate that information, as well as the college’s steps in response, to the campus community.

Please keep in mind that the situation changes daily and some timelines or decisions may need to be altered in the coming days, weeks, and months. It continues to be important that every member of our campus community follows recommended health precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them.

The Alma College Advancement Office has created the Coronavirus Mitigation and Student Relief Fund to help enable Alma’s faculty and staff to continue to provide students with extraordinary care and support during this crisis.

Updated May 29, 2020
A message from President Abernathy to the campus community

The college’s leadership team has been planning for the fall semester through these past weeks and months. As previously noted, we plan on returning this fall to what we do best: small, in-person classes in a residential setting. That means a return to campus and the type of face-to-face instruction and learning experience that is at the core of Alma College’s mission. Still, our campus community will look different this fall. We will continue to work closely with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Mid-Michigan District Health Department (MMDHD), follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and take unprecedented measures to ensure our campus is as safe it can be to fight the spread of the coronavirus. While we cannot eliminate risk entirely, we will do all we can to mitigate it.

Our plan for reopening will include screening procedures, comprehensive testing, quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and personal protective equipment measures (including personal safety kits for all students, faculty, and staff), and changes to housing and dining. Additionally, we are actively working on classroom technology improvements.

We will also follow an adjusted academic calendar for the fall semester. We will now begin classes on Monday, August 24, 2020, which is a week prior to our originally scheduled date. The last day of standard classes for the fall semester will now be Friday, November 20, 2020. Finals week will be November 30-December 4, 2020 and final exams may be delivered remotely, if needed. We will share first-year move-in and orientation dates with campus as soon as they are available.

In order to achieve the instructional days needed for this new calendar, Labor Day and the days set aside for Fall Break will now be standard instruction days and all campus offices will be open. It is critical that the campus remain open during this time to keep students engaged and to discourage students from leaving campus during what were previously standard break times. Although Labor Day this year will not be a standard holiday for the campus, staff members may work with their supervisor to utilize vacation time for that day, if desired.

In response to the change with Labor Day and Fall Break, campus will now be closed for the week of Thanksgiving. Staff will not need to report to work that week.

Like many of our plans and preparations throughout the pandemic, this calendar may change if the need arises to comply with state or federal directives, follow guidance from medical professionals, and/or further protect the health and safety of our campus community. 

Previous Updates

May 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our world, and we know that, in many ways, the changes to our lives are just beginning. While signs of spring are returning to campus — daffodils are in bloom as are many of the trees — it still feels empty without students, games, conversation, classes and meetings. We are all spending more time indoors, away from face-to-face meetings with our friends and loved ones and many of our families face incredible hardships.

Students, staff and faculty alike will return to campus in the months ahead and we will go about the incredibly important work of being Alma once again.

During this challenging time, faculty, staff and students have been living our mission — “to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly” — in ways we never could have imagined. We have devised creative ways to learn from home and show our work to others. So many of us have given back to the Alma community, which needs us now more than ever.

Although this is a time of great uncertainty for so many things, we are planning and anticipating our return to what we do best: small, in-person classes, in a residential setting, this fall. That means a return to campus and the type of face-to-face instruction and learning experience that is at the core of Alma College.

We plan to welcome students back to campus this fall as originally scheduled. Things will of course be different: your safety is our top priority and so we will put protections in place that will require all of us to change our daily habits. Although campus may look a bit different in these ways, I look forward to the Alma community coming back together. We will continue to communicate additional details and plans for the fall as they become available.

Until then, remember that we will come back from this. And when we do, we’ll be better and stronger than ever.

 

May 1, 2020

Many have been asking about plans for this summer in response to the on-going pandemic. College leadership met this week and, with an abundance of caution, decided on the following.

College Sponsored Travel

The travel policies below will be in effect until August 15, 2020.

  • All college-sponsored international travel is canceled.
  • There will be no college-sponsored student travel.
    • Remote internships, internships local to a student, and other approved experiences that do not necessitate travel may still utilize approved college funding. Questions should be directed to Carla Jensen at jensencr@alma.edu.
  • Faculty and staff domestic travel must be approved by the sector Vice President.
    • Faculty who have mission-critical professional travel scheduled for the summer months should contact the Provost’s Office.

Per Mid-Michigan District Health Department guidelines, at this time, individuals who have traveled via airplane internationally or domestically must self-quarantine at home for 14 days before returning to campus.

Summer Programming 

Decisions about summer programming, such as camps and on campus research, will be made in phases. Alma College camps currently scheduled to run prior to June 15 should be postponed for a later date. Camp directors should contact Kari Yerington at yeringtonks@alma.edu to reschedule.

As a reminder, the following policy changes were put in place earlier this month:

Alma Venture Grant

Recipients of Alma Venture awards for spring or summer 2020 experiences that have been cancelled due to COVID-19 have been offered the following options.

  1. If your Venture experience has been postponed for a future spring term or summer, you can defer your Venture grant and apply it to that future term without re-applying.
  2. You may decline your award. You would then be able to re-apply for a different Venture experience in the future. This may include applying for support for domestic internship experiences during summer 2020. The application will remain open through July 2020.
  3. Graduating seniors may also apply for Venture support for a qualifying summer or fall 2020 experience (internship, service, research), as an exception to the Venture requirement that recipients be Alma students at the time of their Venture. This eligibility extension is valid through December 31, 2020 for graduating seniors only.

Posey Global Fellowships

P-GLOBAL awards issued for summer 2020 may be deferred to summer 2021. As a one-time exception, award recipients who will graduate before summer 2021 will still be allowed to defer until summer 2021.

March 27, 2020 

To ensure the safety and well being of our campus community, and to abide by state and federal guidance, Spring Term 2020 courses will be held exclusively in an online format. Together with the Provost’s Office and Information Technology Services, our faculty have designed courses that maximize student interaction and learning within the focused, one-month term that Alma offers each spring.

 

As always , Spring Term is a terrific opportunity to dive deep into a subject, led by expert faculty and closely connected with classmates. I especially encourage first-year students and sophomores to seize this opportunity to move one step closer to fulfilling graduation requirements in just a few short years.

 

To view all Spring Term 2020 courses, please visit Student Planning by logging into Inside Alma then selecting Self-Service (www.alma.edu/gateways/students/). You will find all courses within the “Catalog” block or within the “Schedule and Plan” option in Student Planning. Whenever possible, we have offered an online course with the same instructor that meets the same requirements as a previously scheduled in-person course. 

 

Students, we will support you in the following ways based on your previous registration status: 

  • If you were registered for a Spring Term course that has a corresponding online alternative, the Registrar’s Office has pre-registered you for that course. You can view this within your “schedule” inside Student Planning.
  • If you were registered for a canceled or postponed Spring Term course, you will receive priority registration from now until Tuesday, March 31 at 8 a.m. At that time, online registration will remain open for all students to add or adjust their chosen course. Dr. Janie Diels, Associate Provost, will reach out to you shortly to assist you in selecting a new course.
    • If your course was canceled, your Spring Term deposit for travel expenses will be applied to your account and apply to all current charges. The credit will automatically roll forward to fall 2020 if you do not request a refund. If you are a graduating senior we will automatically process your refund and mail you a check.
    • If your class was postponed until 2021, your deposit will be allocated to Spring Term 2021.
    • If you are a graduating senior, and you were approved to use Venture funding for a now-canceled travel Spring Term, you may utilize your Venture funding for Spring Term 2020 tuition. This is a one-time exception to college policy. Please contact Carla Jensen at jensencr@alma.edu or (989) 463-7421 to use this option.
  • If you would like to register for Spring Term for the first time, or make changes to your schedule, open registration will begin Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 8 a.m. through Student Planning.

March 24, 2020

A message to Alma College students who remain in on-campus housing:

In response to the stay-at-home executive order that Governor Whitmer announced yesterday morning, we will make the following changes to our campus operations. The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 24 and is set to last until at least April 13.

  • Starbucks and the Bookstore are closed until further notice.
  • The mailroom will remain open. Please use the side door (off the parking lot) to enter the building as the main door will be locked.

Alma College is your home and we will, of course, continue to be available to support you. Please note the following reminders about available services:

  • All dining services are provided at Joe’s Place from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday - Sunday. (These hours may be adjusted but we will notify you in advance.)
  • The Wilcox Medical Center is open Monday-Thursday for appointments from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and from 1-5 p.m. Please call (989) 463-7181 to make an appointment. Counseling staff are available at (989) 463-7225 or by email for phone counseling and support.
  • If you have concerns related to housing facilities, please call Facilities and Service Management at (989) 463-7162 between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. or submit a work order.
  • Campus Safety is available to respond to safety concerns 24 hours a day.  Please call (989) 463-7777.
  • The Administrator on Duty (AOD) is also available 24 hours a day to respond to safety and wellness concerns  ; call (989) 560-5972.

If you have any questions, please contact Housing and Residence Life at (989) 463-7251 or residencelife@alma.edu.

March 19, 2020

Welcome Home 

We are thrilled to share that all Alma College students traveling on study abroad programs are now back at home with their families. Welcome home! 

 

Bookstore 

The return period for rental books has been extended to May 26. You can feel free to ship your rental books back to: 

Alma College Bookstore
  328 W. Superior Street
  Alma, MI 48801 

 

In the coming weeks, the Bookstore will also open a book buyback on campus. We will share more information as soon as it is available. If you have questions, please call Rob DuVall, textbook manager, at (989) 463-7497. 

 

Housing and Meal Reimbursement Reminder 

As we previously shared, students who complete proper checkout procedures will receive a reimbursement of $25 per day from the date of checkout through April 17 for room and meal charges. These funds will be credited to your Alma College account within two weeks of checkout. If you are a graduating senior, we will mail you a check in the amount of any credit balance on your student account. 

 

Joe’s Place to Provide All Dining Services 

Beginning March 20, Hamilton Commons is now closed and all dining services will be offered through Joe’s Place. Please see the revised schedule below for hours. 

 

Hamilton Commons: Closed 

Joe’s Place: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Sunday 

Starbucks: 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 

 

Library 

The Alma College Library will move to online services only beginning Thursday, March 19 at 12:30 p.m. All electronic resources will continue to be available. 

A librarian will be available for assistance via the Library’s chat service at https://www.alma.edu/library/. Books can be returned via the book-drop box just inside the front door.

Please contact Matthew Collins, library director, at collinsms@alma.edu with any questions.

 

Mail and Packages 

The Mail & Print Center will begin the process of forwarding mail and packages to your home address listed on the portal. If an item cannot be forwarded, we will reach out to you via email with options. Please note that forwarded mail and packages can take 7-10 days to reach you. 

 

If you have questions, please email mailprintcenter@alma.edu or call (989) 463-7066.

March 17, 2020

Thank you for your patience as faculty and staff have been working to prepare online courses, which begin tomorrow. Student safety remains our top priority as we deal with the changing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 virus.

Many parents, families and students have written to ask about student housing during this period. Federal and state guidance has tightened as COVID-19 virus cases have escalated across the country. In response, we have changed our plans. Students who are able to move home to their families must do so as soon as possible and by no later than Thursday, March 19 at noon.

We, of course, will support those students and families whose circumstances prevent a move home. Some international students, for example, cannot safely go home, if at all, and some domestic students live in parts of the country with high numbers of cases. If your student’s situation prevents you from leaving campus by March 19 at noon, they are required to contact Housing and Residence Life at (989) 463-7251 or residencelife@alma.edu to receive permission. The staff can also answer any questions you may have about housing and dining.

We recognize the challenges you are facing and thank you for your cooperation in this difficult time. Please contact Housing and Residence Life at (989) 463-7579 or residencelife@alma.edu with any questions.

March 16, 2020

Updated March 16, 2020

New Housing, Dining and Library Policies 

Housing and Dining 

Housing and Residence Life announced the following enhanced policies today, which are effective immediately: 

  1. Lounges, lobbies and all public areas in all housing are closed.
  2. No outside guests are allowed on campus, with the exception of those helping a student to move out.
  3. By the end of this week (ending March 20, 2020) the college may begin to consolidate students into housing best suited to health department recommendations, so students still residing in housing should be prepared to move.

Students who violate these enhanced policies or any other campus policies may be asked to move out of the residence halls and will not be eligible for the housing and meal reimbursement of $25 per day.

Students should continue to use the approved check-out process when leaving the residence halls: https://www.alma.edu/live/files/3888-check-out-instructions-wi-2020pdf.

If you need transportation to the airport, please sign up online for shuttles on Tuesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 19: https://www.alma.edu/offices/student-life/transportation/.

In accordance with Governor Whitmer’s executive order, seating will be closed at all of our dining options (Hamilton Dining Commons, Joe’s Place, and Starbucks) and we will transition to a take-out only service beginning at 3 p.m. today, March 16, 2020, until further notice. 

 

If you have questions, please contact Virginia McKenzie at (989) 463-7504 or mckenzie@alma.edu.

Library

All areas beyond the front lobby and desk of the library are now closed. 

During business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., students, faculty, and staff can request items at the library’s front desk. 

 

Library users can also use the “hold” option in the library catalog. Staff will retrieve the item and keep it at the front desk for pick-up.

Cyber Scams

Reports of cyber scams related to COVID-19 have increased. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends caution when handling email with a COVID-19 related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink. 

 

CISA encourages individuals to take the following precautions: 

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments
  • Used trusted sources for fact based information about COVID-19
  • Do not respond to email solicitations for personal or financial information
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations.

More information is available from CISA at: 

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2020/03/06/defending-against-covid-19-cyber-scams 

 

If you are unsure about any email you receive, please contact the Alma College ITS help desk at (989) 463-7303, helpdesk@alma.edu, or https://helpdesk.alma.edu.

March 13, 2020 

All of us in the Alma community are grieving for those around the globe affected by the COVID-19 virus. At a time such as this, we know the importance of community, and we are grateful for the efforts of so many here at Alma who are working hard to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

As we noted last night, given recent developments, we have decided to end in-person classes for the remainder of the winter term as of 5 p.m. today, Friday, March 13. Classes will resume through online delivery methods on Wednesday, March 18.

To help our faculty prepare to move coursework online, we will not hold classes on March 16 and 17. All courses will continue through the end of the winter term.

As we have already announced, we have canceled all international academic travel. We will share additional decisions on Spring Term courses by April 1.

All other campus operations will continue and offices will remain open. 

Residence halls will remain open through April 17 for all students who choose to stay on-campus. Students must notify Housing and Residence Life of their departure from campus by completing the form they will receive by email today. When students move out of their residence hall rooms, they must complete the checkout process through their Resident Assistant. Checkout procedures can be found on the housing and residence life website at https://www.alma.edu/live/files/3888-check-out-instructions-wi-2020pdf. These procedures will also be emailed to each student.

Students who complete proper checkout procedures will receive a reimbursement of $25 per day from the date of checkout through April 17 for room and board charges. These funds will be credited to each student’s Alma College account within two weeks of checkout. Students who check out of residence halls may not return to student housing during the winter term.

Dining services will remain open with changes in serving procedures and hours; to-go containers are available upon request. Dining Services has also temporarily stopped continuous dining hours so that proper cleaning and sanitizing can take place between meals.

All NCAA athletic practices and competitions for Alma College teams are canceled as of Monday, March 16.

We deeply regret that, given current circumstances, we will not be able to hold Commencement on April 18. We hope that we will be able to reschedule Commencement in May; we will communicate plans by April 8. Likewise, we have canceled Honors Day on April 2.

Within the next week, the Registrar’s Office will contact each graduating senior impacted by these changes and provide an individual plan to graduate on-time.

March 13, 2020

All of us in the Alma community are grieving for those around the globe affected by the COVID-19 virus. At a time such as this, we know the importance of community, and we are grateful for the efforts of so many here at Alma who are working hard to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

As we noted last night, given recent developments, we have decided to end in-person classes for the remainder of the winter term as of 5 p.m. today, Friday, March 13. Classes will resume through online delivery methods on Wednesday, March 18.

To help our faculty prepare to move coursework online, we will not hold classes on March 16 and 17. All courses will continue through the end of the winter term.

As we have already announced, we have canceled all international academic travel. We will share additional decisions on Spring Term courses by April 1.

All other campus operations will continue and offices will remain open. 

Residence halls will remain open through April 17 for all students who choose to stay on-campus. Students must notify Housing and Residence Life of their departure from campus by completing the form they will receive by email today. When students move out of their residence hall rooms, they must complete the checkout process through their Resident Assistant. Checkout procedures can be found on the housing and residence life website at https://www.alma.edu/live/files/3888-check-out-instructions-wi-2020pdf. These procedures will also be emailed to each student.

Students who complete proper checkout procedures will receive a reimbursement of $25 per day from the date of checkout through April 17 for room and board charges. These funds will be credited to each student’s Alma College account within two weeks of checkout. Students who check out of residence halls may not return to student housing during the winter term.

Dining services will remain open with changes in serving procedures and hours; to-go containers are available upon request. Dining Services has also temporarily stopped continuous dining hours so that proper cleaning and sanitizing can take place between meals.

All NCAA athletic practices and competitions for Alma College teams are canceled as of Monday, March 16.

We deeply regret that, given current circumstances, we will not be able to hold Commencement on April 18. We hope that we will be able to reschedule Commencement in May; we will communicate plans by April 8. Likewise, we have canceled Honors Day on April 2.

Within the next week, the Registrar’s Office will contact each graduating senior impacted by these changes and provide an individual plan to graduate on-time.

We will keep you apprised of further developments. We appreciate your patience while we work to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information. We will send additional updates to faculty and staff this afternoon.

March 12, 2020 

Since we made our announcement yesterday, much has changed. Presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan have increased from 2 to 12. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered the closure of all K-12 schools across the state for three weeks, beginning Monday, March 16. Additionally, other closures have escalated across the country.

Given these developments, we cannot wait to move to online classes as planned. In-person classes for the winter term will end as of 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and classes will resume through online delivery on Wednesday, March 18.

C amp us offices, residence halls, and dining services will remain open .

We will follow up with additional communication to the campus community throughout the day tomorrow. We ask for your patience as we work to gather accurate information to answer the numerous questions we know will follow.

Please keep in mind that the situation changes daily and some timelines or decisions may need to be altered in the coming days, weeks, and months. It continues to be important that every member of our campus community follows recommended health precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them.

Housing

  • Students who are able to move home to their families must do so as soon as possible and by no later than Thursday, March 19 at noon.

    We, of course, will support those students and families whose circumstances prevent a move home. Some international students, for example, cannot safely go home, if at all, and some domestic students live in parts of the country with high numbers of cases. If your student’s situation prevents you from leaving campus by March 19 at noon, they are required to contact Housing and Residence Life at (989) 463-7251 or residencelife@alma.edu to receive permission. The staff can also answer any questions you may have about housing and dining.

    We recognize the challenges you are facing and thank you for your cooperation in this difficult time. Please contact Housing and Residence Life at (989) 463-7579 or residencelife@alma.edu with any questions

International Students 

  • We recognize international students face particular pressures right now. International students may choose to stay on campus through the summer; should they choose to return home, they will maintain their current visa status, as SEVIS has confirmed. Graduating seniors should contact Amanda Duval at duvalal@alma.edu to discuss options.

International Travel and Spring Term 

  • All international travel prior to June 1, including Spring Term, is canceled.  We will work with faculty and staff leading those trips on next steps, and we will determine what course accommodations can be made.
  • Domestic Spring Term travel will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • We will work closely with seniors who need Spring Term credit to ensure that they can complete their degrees on-time.
  • We continue to evaluate summer international travel (beyond June 1) and will make a decision at a later date. We will use the approval process previously outlined for all other travel.

Study Abroad

  • The US Department of State global travel advisory (level 3) that was issued  triggers travel restrictions under our travel policy for students currently studying abroad. We are assisting these students with their return to the US.

Athletic and Academic Travel 

  • All NCAA athletic practices and competitions for Alma College teams are canceled as of Monday, March 16.
  • Athletic teams and academic groups may continue to travel for competition in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. However, if the competition is outside of that region, the travel will be permitted only if it is on a national championship track; such travel may only include essential students and personnel.
  • All college sponsored travel by faculty or staff (such as conference or recruitment travel) must be approved by the President’s Office and should be sent to Amanda Slenski (slenskiar@alma.edu) and Cassie Tennant (tennant@alma.edu) for review.
    • At this time, only travel critical to the college’s operations will be approved.
    • We also ask faculty and staff to be cautious about the domestic travel they undertake.

Social Distancing and Upcoming Events 

  • In accordance with Governor Whitmer’s executive order, seating will be closed at all of our dining options (Hamilton Dining Commons, Joe’s Place, and Starbucks) and we will transition to a take-out only service beginning at 3 p.m. today, March 16, 2020, until further notice.
  • All athletic events and performing arts events have been canceled for the remainder of the semester. 
  • Commencement has been indefinitely postponed. We will reach out with a new date as soon as we are able.

Special Accommodations

  • Students who have a health provider’s recommendation to limit exposure should contact Rhonda Linn at linnrm@alma.edu for accommodations. Employees with similar concerns should contact Amanda Duval at duvalal@alma.edu.
  • If you have any concerns about exposure or have traveled internationally or on a cruise ship since January 1, please contact the Wilcox Center at (989) 463-7181 or email Anne Lambrecht at lambrechtak@alma.edu before returning to campus.