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COVID-19 Information


May 22, 2020 2:45 PM

It’s good to be with you again. Can you believe this is our eleventh Corona Corner Chat? So after today, I think that we’re gonna take a little break. I hope you, your family and friends are still in good health. I hope you’ve been able to enjoy some of the wonderful and beautiful weather that we've been having. You know, fresh air and sunshine can do so much good for the soul! And as the weather has been turning, so does our approach to re-engaging in life. I know that there are now parts of Michigan that are starting to move toward re-opening, and there are lots of questions and concerns that you probably have about what that means and what might look like for us as we're thinking about re-opening OU. And I want to assure you that here at Oakland, we have been working tirelessly to develop a safe, and a sustainable plan for our re-opening and for re-engaging with our students. The health and the safety of all our students, our faculty and our staff is the number one priority, and preparations are now in place to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome on our campus. So I'm going to be explaining a lot more about that in just a little bit.

First I want to make a couple of announcements. I am so happy to say that, this fall, Oakland University will be in session. And, this fall we will have no tuition increases. In addition, we will continue our policy as the only Michigan public university that charges no fees — no registration fees, no parking fees, no technology fees, no online course fees, no athletic fees, no lab fees, no fees of any kind. We know that every Michigan family has suffered economic hardship during the coronavirus crisis. And, we know that by freezing tuition, students and families can plan their budgets now. We will also help students by working with you and your families to identify financial aid packages and support that makes your college education affordable. Recognizing that although not all students qualify for financial aid, a typical student at Oakland, on average, receives enough aid that their tuition is discounted by one third.

We’re approaching a critical time of the year when students and parents will make decisions on whether to attend college; if so, where to attend college, and, if you’re already an Oakland University student, you’re deciding whether to return to school this fall. And we believe that working on getting a college education is the best thing you can do — especially now. There is no question that the best jobs will go to those with a college degree. There’s also no question that tomorrow’s leaders here in Michigan, around the country and the world will be those who have pursued college and graduate degrees. We know that you have much to consider as you decide whether, how and where to pursue your education. I also know that you have many outstanding choices of great colleges and universities. Michigan is blessed with many outstanding institutions of higher learning. So, I’d like to share some of the reasons why we think that Oakland University is a terrific choice — especially this year when there is so much uncertainty in the world around us. So I’m going to talk about three main things: your health and safety, your education and your campus life experience.

Let me talk to you about health and safety first. Because we can’t talk about your education if it’s not safe to go to school. And, it’s important for you to know that Oakland University is the third safest college in America and the safest campus in Michigan. We’ve always cared about safety — but, this year, health and safety are especially important. As a pediatrician, a mother, and a grandmother I have had a lifelong commitment to promoting health and preventing disease. And, I want to assure my students, their parents, faculty and staff that we will prioritize the health and safety of our population. Toward that end, we will follow the standards of the CDC, the State of Michigan, and Oakland County, as well as best practices of recommendations nationally. And this will include a range of measures that include monitoring, personal health assessments, social distancing, face coverings, and personal hygiene. In classrooms, cafeterias, offices, social and study spaces, we will enforce social distancing. We will have deep cleaning, sanitization, disinfecting of restrooms, classrooms, common areas, entrances as well as conference rooms, labs and break rooms.

So what should you expect as part of the educational experience this fall? Our primary strategic goal at Oakland is the success of our students. And our faculty and staff are extraordinarily committed to achieving student success. You know in my entire career, I have never met a group of faculty and staff who are more committed to teaching their students. They are tireless in their support of our students. And this fall, we’re gonna focus on teaching as many courses as possible face-to-face. In order to achieve that, we’re gonna reduce seating capacity to ensure social distancing. And, some classes will also be taught online. At Oakland, one-on-one attention and discussion groups are the hallmarks of our learning experiences, and this fall will be no exception. This real-time, personalized environment extends beyond the classroom to sessions with our admissions and academic advisers, counselors, tutors, registration professionals, financial aid advisers and career services team members. Students receive outstanding personal attention and helpful advice, whether it’s in person or virtually, and this is something that I'm just so proud of. Another important aspect of the Oakland University educational experience is the unique, rare and extraordinary opportunity that we give you in the internships and field study placements in your individual field of study. Because of these real-world working experiences, we know that our students get highly competitive job offers upon graduation and they have proven time and again that our students are among the bets prepared in the job market upon graduation.

Let’s talk a little about student life, which is such an important part of the Oakland University experience. This fall, all of our residence halls will be open. But, room occupancy numbers will be adjusted so that we can provide a safe learning and living environment, where social distancing will be enforced. Our food-service delivery stations and dining periods will be monitored at respective residence halls, and our cafeterias. And all food selections will be prepackaged. The popular Oakland Center will be open for students along with the Food Court and “study spaces.” But social distancing will also be enforced throughout the entire center.

We will be creative with our fun, innovative and exciting campus programming and events utilizing a combination of technology, videoconferencing and live-streaming will ensure that engagement occurs while still also ensuring that social distancing will occur safely.

There's no doubt, that the global coronavirus crisis has created uncertainty in every part of all of our lives. My goal today was to try to provide some answers to a few of the questions that I imagine must be swirling around in your mind…what would it be like to go to college this fall? Can I afford it? Will I have support? Will my classes take place? And as you think about your life and your future, I know we can help answer some of the questions that will help you with your decisions about attending college this fall. Please visit or call us at (248) 370-3360 with any additional questions that you might have. We are here for you. And, this fall, we’ll be ready to greet you. I wish you good health and look forward to connecting with you on campus this fall. Go Golden Grizzlies!

May 15, 2020 4:30 PM

Well welcome everyone, it’s hard to believe but this is our tenth Corona Corner chat. And you know as we’ve been visiting together this way, I’ve been getting some feedback from a lot of you. So a few weeks ago I told you that a few of my children that live in New York got sick with Covid-19. And several of you told me that I didn’t tell you whether or not they recovered, so I feel obligated now to give you an update. So indeed they’re better, so I know you’re happy to know that. And last week I talked to you a little bit about one of my brothers, and I got a little bit of feedback about that. And some of you were interested in knowing about the sibling rivalry in my family, and I was asked to tell a little bit more about my family.

So this week I’m going to start my chat by giving you a little bit more information about me personally and about my family. So I know that some of you are aware I’m a widow, and I was married for 31 years to Mark who was a transplant surgeon. And we had a wonderful marriage. And we have three terrific children, and I’ll just tell you a little bit about them. So my oldest daughter Aliza is a lawyer married to a lawyer, and they have three beautiful children all five and under. And you might imagine what it’s like being in stay at home with three children, some of you who have children are dealing with that. Home schooling your kids. And they’re dealing with that too. My son Ari is an architect and he’s married to a surgeon Allison, and they have two beautiful children. And my daughter Naomi is a broadcast journalist, and she’s married to Eric who is a business man, and they just got married last October and they don’t have any children yet.

Well you know those of you who are parents think that we’re the ones that always educate our children. But if you have children, you know that we often learn a lot from our own kids. So over the many years that I’ve been a parent, my children have been teaching me a lot of things. And I have to admit that I have learned a great deal from my children. So this year I have to say that as I’ve been doing more and more interviews about our situation here at Oakland University, and how we’ve been responding to the COVID threat, I’ve been putting to good use a lot of the tips that my journalist daughter Naomi has been teaching me. And this week in particular, some of the media training that Naomi has been teaching me has come in particularly handy because this week I had several interviews that were very interesting. So we had an op-ed that appeared in the Detroit Free Press. And I’ll make sure that our team makes that available to you so that you can see it. And the primary purpose of this op-ed was twofold, the first was to encourage students who are considering taking a gap year to not take a gap year, but rather to go to college. And the reason is because I’m very concerned that students who are thinking about taking a gap year will have very little to do. And that I really think that they’ll benefit so much more from going to college instead. And the second is because I really believe that if they go to college not only will they get a great education, but they will also have the opportunity to contribute to fighting the COVID fight doing many of the things that we’ve been doing so well at Oakland. They’ll have the opportunity to perhaps contribute to finding a cure. They might do things like make face masks or face shields using 3D printers. Maybe they’ll contribute to the contact tracing efforts. So they’ll be on the front lines of the COVID fight. And I think that is just such an extraordinary opportunity. So these are the two things that I wrote about in the op-ed. Well much to my surprise, I also got an invitation to appear on CNN this week based on that Detroit Free Press article. And all of the sudden my media training that my daughter gave me came in very handy.

The Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz joins us now. In addition to being the university president, she is also a medical doctor, specializing in pediatric endocrinology. So Dr. Pescovitz, President Pescovitz let me ask you, you say students come back to school, participate in our community. Dr Fauci yesterday, I’m sure you’re well aware on capitol hill, says if your hope is they’ll be a vaccine ready for students, listen here, won’t be ready in time.

(Crash cymbal) In this case, that the idea that having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far. Even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term. (whoosh noise)

So Cal State says we’re not going to take the risk, we don’t trust that we can have the social distancing, that there will be therapeutics. What makes you confident that you can bring students back to campus in Rochester, Michigan and make it work?

Well thank you John for having me today. And actually I agree with Dr. Fauci. I’m also concerned about having a resurgence of COVID-19 and um that is why we’re actually proposing a hybrid approach to reopening our campuses. That means that for classes that are primarily laboratory based we think that we can do this in a safe way. But for large classes, we think that we’re still going to have to do it in a remote learning kind of approach. So, um I do applaud the California state decision, but for universities like ours that actually have only about 20 percent of our students as residential, we think that we can open in a hybrid way, and we think that that is a safe and effective thing. Those universities that are planning to open like we are, can do it with a combination of testing, contact tracing and also serology testing as well.

And I was read, it’s a, your, your op-ed piece is a bit of a pep-talk if you will. “Students, please don’t sit on the sidelines, we need your talents, ideas and energy. We also need every ounce of your knowledge and expertise as we fight the pandemic and navigate soaring job losses. When the crisis ends, and it will, history shows that the best jobs will go to those will college degrees and advanced skills.” Uh that’s a pep-talk for students, come back or apply if you’re a new student come in. You said you think you’re prepared for this with the right hybrid approach, so what are you doing? I assume you’re walking around campus now, or you have experts walking around campus now in terms of a local right on campus testing infrastructure, or something in coordination with the county or the state? How are classrooms being reimagined to keep people safe?

We’ll we’re working very hard on social distancing. So we know that we can’t imagine a classroom like last fall, and so we’re going to ensure that there is a great deal of social distancing, so that the classes will be spread out. Classrooms that used to have 120 students, this year might only have 30 students. And um we won’t have athletics like we used to have in the fall. We will not open with spectator sports in an arena that used to have, completely be full for a basketball game for example, will definitely not be looking at that this fall either. But we do know that it is important for students to experience the college experience, and that means being around other students. Having Homecoming, and having the opportunity to be around other students in residence halls and things like that. And so we’re trying to imagine how we might do that in innovative and in entrepreneurial ways. So for example, we deferred our commencement this spring, and we’re looking at how we can do that in a novel experience. So we’re looking to that this August, for example through a drive through kind of experience where they can be on campus, but in their cars. So we can be entrepreneurial, and I really think that that’s very important. You mentioned that you looked at my op-ed, there is another component to that, and this is another reason why I really want students to go to college this fall, because I think that they can participate in fighting this pandemic if they go to college this year. Because universities around the country are going to participate in a very important way in the COVID fight. They might be participating in laboratories where their contributing to developing a cure. They might help by making 3D shields, they might make masks, they might contribute to serving the poor. And colleges are going to be on the forefront of this pandemic fight.

Dr. Pescovitz I wish you good luck. Keep in touch as the metrics come in, how many students come back, how many are reluctant to do so, it’s a fascinating experiment we’re going to go through. I really appreciate your time and insights today, thank you. Thanks for having me John.

And I’m looking forward to getting your feedback, and I will be delighted to have you write in, comment, and let us know how you think we did. Thank you very much, and we’ll talk to you next week in our eleventh Corona Corner chat. Good to see you.

May 8, 2020 3:21 PM

Well welcome everybody to our ninth Corona Corner Chat. Last week I was delighted that David Tull, our Oakland University Board of Trustees Chair was able to visit with you. And actually what was good for me was it gave me a week off. But I can’t believe that we’ve been chatting this way for nine weeks already. Well I hope that everybody is staying healthy and safe. And now that spring is here that you’ve been having an opportunity to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Well you know that this, this is actually college decision time. And actually the National College Decision Day has been pushed ahead to June first. And the reason for that is because up to forty percent of perspective college students still have not made a decision about whether or not they’re going to delay going to college this fall. You know it’s not really surprising that they still haven’t made a decision. Because so many students these days fear what college is going to be like this fall.

We do know that we still will not have a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. And so many of the students and their parents fear what college will be like this fall. And of course many universities are still uncertain about what their plans will be. Some students are rightly fearful about their health and safety, and of course they don’t know whether it makes sense for them to go to school out of state. Especially if they enroll for a college out of state with hefty tuitions, and if it means they will be at home with their parents doing online education.

You know I do realize that these are frightful and scary times for many students, for their parents, for our faculty and for our staff. And of course for us here in Michigan, its particularly frightening because of course we’ve been a hotbed for so many COVID infections. But, if you’re thinking about a gap year, how would you fill a gap year? You can’t travel. There’s a lot of record unemployment, so there’s not a very good chance that you’d be able to work. And even the Peace Corps has been shuttered this year. Rather than delay college this year, my recommendation is that this is the perfect time for you to go to college. And I believe that what you should do is think about going to college near home. And Oakland University is the perfect place for you to consider going to school. Because we think that Oakland University, is the university of choice. One of our strengths is that for many of you, we’re near home for so many.

Also we tailor our classes. We have small classes. We give students personalized attention. We have great advisers who really help our students. We have wonderful coaches, we have great counseling. We have terrific mentors, wonderful internships, and when you graduate, more than 97 percent of our students are employed right here in south east Michigan.

Now I know that many students are concerned about what the fall semester is going to look like. And we’ve announced that here at Oakland University we will start the fall semester in a hybrid way. What do we mean by that? What we mean is that we hope that we will have face to face instruction as much as possible. There may be some classes that will still be remote. But for many of them, we hope that we will be able to have regular face to face instruction. But you know, life is going to be different. We will have social distancing. Chances are good we will be wearing masks. And yes, there will be some changes too. I do expect that we will have COVID-19 testing. We may have to do tracing if we detect that individuals are positive. And will probably have serology or antibody testing as well. Our classes will be distributed so that we will have very few students per classroom. Our athletics will be changed too, we probably will not have a lot of spectator sports, certainly not at the beginning of the year. Our primary goal is to ensure the health and safety of our campus.

And we have a great track record in that regard, because just last week it was announced that Oakland University is the safest campus in Michigan, and the third safest of all universities in the United States. So we’ve had a long history of ensuring the safety of our campus. And we will continue to uphold that campus safety record, and it’s of the utmost importance to all of us.

But there is another really good reason why I think that you should consider going to college this fall. And that is this – this is your moment. You know in the few years before I went to college John F. Kennedy stated the Peace Corps because he believed that students all across America should serve the common good. Well in this day and age, this is your moment. Fighting this global pandemic. And I believe that this is your great opportunity now to go to college and make a difference. You know your generation can do what my generation did in making a difference in the world. At Oakland University we’ve mobilized and incredible group of faculty, staff and most importantly students to make a difference. If you’re a student here, in addition to getting a great education, you could work in a laboratory where you might discover the next and most important cure for the COVID-19 virus. Maybe you would participate in being a part of the food distribution effort to feed thousands of needy families. Maybe you’d work in one of our 3D laboratories to help make a face shield. Or maybe you’d work in our costume shop in our School of Music, Theatre and Dance and make a face mask. Regardless, I know you’ll be doing something really important. So students, I want to assure you that you should not sit on the sidelines. This is the year to go to college. We’re going to need every ounce of your knowledge, of your energy, of your competence and of your expertise. And when this crisis ends, and I promise you that it will, the best jobs in America, and the best jobs in Michigan are going to go to people who have college degrees. So whether you choose to go to Oakland University, or to another college, I encourage you: go to college, get a degree and get skills. And when you do, in addition to getting a great education, you’re also going to be able to contribute to fighting this pandemic and making the world a better place.

Now I always like to tell you in my chats about some other things that you might be doing during this time that you’re at home, spending time with your family and perhaps other loved ones. So I know that I’ve shared with you over the time that we’ve been together a little bit about my own family. Some of your know that I am the oldest of four children, and I have three younger brothers, all of whom are more talented and more brilliant than I am. Two of them are physician scientists, and one of them is a rabbi. So my brother whose a rabbi has to talk like this to his congregation online, and he actually gives two talks a week to his congregation. So I listen to him pretty regularly, and I have to say that my father listens to both of us. I will admit that I am my father’s favorite daughter, but I’m probably not my father’s favorite speaker. Because every week my father gives a report on how his children do, he is very critical, and my brother usually gets the best report from the two of us. But I listen to my brother in order to try and see if I can get an “A.” Usually my brother gets the “A” and I get the “A” minus. So I’m trying to get better. So as I listen to my brother speak a couple of weeks ago, he talked about a book that he had recently read and of course it inspired me to read as well. So interestingly, he had recently read a book that I read many, many years ago, actually when I was in high school. And I want to share it with you because I re-read it again, just since I had last visited you. And that was Albert Camus “The Plague.” And I just thought it was so fascinating that I wanted to share it with you as well. Because I think some of you might want to read it too. That book was published I believe in 1947. And it’s so fascinating to read it again today in the context of this global pandemic that we’re experiencing.

It’s unbelievable how Camus wrote about a time when the plague, which at the time was actually the Bubonic plague, was envisioned. And it’s almost like living today with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. People talked about what it was like to be in quarantine. How other people treated people who were infected. How society was impacted. What it was like to be feared. What the government was like. And what it was like to begin to reopen the society. So if you are looking for something interesting to do, I encourage you to think about re-reading it if it, you’ve read it before. And students if you haven’t read it yet, I think you might find it quite interesting to read Camus “The Plague.” So I’m going to leave you with that thought today, and I look forward to seeing you again, next week.

May 1, 2020 4:02 PM

We are truly in unprecedented times. In modern history there have been very few events that have altered our personal behaviors in such monumental ways as COVID-19. As the state of Michigan and the country as a whole make progress in flattening the curve of the Corona, Corona Virus spread, the Oakland University community is fortunate enough to have a number of encouraging factors working in our favor. First, and most importantly, we have you. Our talented, dedicated and caring faculty and staff. You excel in supporting student learning, research, community engagement, and you also act with a genuine concern in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of all campus community members and beyond. This was particularly evident as the pandemic began to take hold in Michigan. A time seemingly long ago when the university community was still learning, working and living on campus. Faculty members demonstrated the depth of their commitment as they remarkably transformed instruction delivery plans from in person to remote formats. Many university staff worked tirelessly to support the success of these efforts.

We are not out of the woods when it comes to the COVID-19 threat. That said, it is reassuring to know that true professionals in every unit on campus continue to work from remote locations. This work is and will continue to help the university move forward with as little risk as possible to the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. Oakland is fortunate to have an exceptional police department, office of emergency management, health center, and Office of Environmental Health and Safety. We can take pride in the fact that these departments have helped maintain our status as the third safest campus in the country, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security. In addition, their efforts in responding to this pandemic coupled with countless contributions of scores of university leaders serving on roughly a dozen distinct crisis response teams have been essential to our success in keeping our community members safe and healthy. These teams continue to work collaboratively to ensure that the university will continue to provide outstanding educational, research and community engagement programs no matter what this virus might throw at us.

As I am sure all of you know, Oakland is blessed with a distinguished and accomplished university president who has instilled new and fervent passion for moving Oakland into a new era of progress. At the same time, Dr. Pescovitz possesses invaluable medical knowledge and insight that will help our community overcome the health crisis before us. There is no one more passionate about contributing to a vigorous vibrant and successful university community than Dr. Pescovitz. For many in the university community, never before has an external threat so dramatically upset the security and normalcy of the world we live in. Perhaps never before has our community had an opportunity to work together so effectively, even while we are apart for the time being.

There is no question in mind that this work will allow us to claim victory over COVID-19. I am confident that we will emerge from this experience stronger and more dedicated to each other and those we serve than we have ever been before. The Board of Trustees is profoundly grateful for all that you have contributed. As well as for all that you will continue to accomplish to move Oakland forward. Rest assured, that the board stands ready to contribute to and support these efforts in every way possible. More than any other asset the university can boast of having, you, the faculty and staff of this community stand at the heart of everything working in its favor. This has never been so true as it is now, it will never be more true than in the steadily improving weeks, months and years that I know are ahead of us. Thank you all for what you do. In your own unique and important ways you are the heroes of this community.

April 24, 2020 4:16 PM

Welcome to our seventh Corona Corner Chat. I know that some of you are beginning to feel cooped up, but I want to remind you that spring is here, and the weather is becoming quite lovely. And you are allowed to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather so do that, and get some exercise.

Well students you made it! Congratulations. I know that this is the end of a terrific but very challenging semester. And I’m so very proud of you. I am especially proud of our seniors. I know that this isn’t the way you envisioned your final year at Oakland University. And I promise, that we will celebrate you in the way that you deserve to be celebrated.

But we’re going to have to wait a little longer before we can all get together and do that in the way that you deserve to be honored and congratulated. But it’s a little ways off, so we’ll just have to patient just a little bit longer.

Faculty and staff we miss you. But it won’t be long before we have the opportunity to get together again. You know your hard work and perseverance are really paying off. And I’m especially proud of all of you for the work that you’ve done. You know not only in the classroom, but in the community you’ve really done great things. And I want you to keep that word great in mind because today I’m going to tell you about a program that we actually launched just before the Corona crisis hit us. We call it “Great” because it stands for something. And “Great” is the Grizzly Engagement Action and Thoughtfulness Recognition Program. And I’m going to use my phone to show you all about this program. So I hope that all of you have a Carrot App on your phone, and I want to tell what you can do with your Carrot App to help recognize people. Now I want to tell you first that our AP’s piloted this program in the fall. And I want to first thank the Oakland University Credit Union for sponsoring this program, for paying for it and for making it possible.

This amazing program allows anyone on our campus, any faculty or staff member, to recognize anyone else up to six times a year. I’m going to show you what you can do. My phone keeps turning off here. But you can download your Carrot app, and right here where it says “Great,” you can do the following thing. Push on your Carrot app, right like this and here you can see that you can pick a person. You can identify someone that you wish to recognize, again, six times a year. Pull their name down. Let’s say for example I want to pick Kevin Corcoran, whose been amazing here during this time that we’ve been recognizing people. He’s helped us with our food distribution efforts and a variety of other things. And I can say that I want him to be acknowledged for helping to feed the hungry. And I can pull that recognition category down, I can write a few comments about what Kevin Corcoran has done, and then I can push submit. When I do that, what’s going to happen for Kevin? Well, he is going to receive acknowledgement and recognition from this “Great” program, but not only that, he is going to get a five dollar gift certificate. Something that he’s going to be able to select from a series of different options.

And he could get acknowledged from any of a variety of different people. Now I’m not suggesting that you acknowledge Kevin Corcoran, you could pick anyone that you think has done some great service here. You know that we have four strategic goals at Oakland. Our first and most important goal is of course student success. Our second goal is research and scholarly activity. But this “Great” program acknowledges our third goal of engagement in our community. And it allows you to acknowledge and support and stimulate and catalyze more engagement in our broader community. And so I really hope that you’ll do that. And of course our fourth goal is diversity, equity and inclusion. And it might let you help promote that as well. So I hope that you’ll get active and you’ll start recognizing people, and maybe somebody well recognize your efforts in community engagement too. I’m really really very proud of it.

Pretty soon you’re going to get more details about this, we’ll be promoting it online, we’ll be sending you more information. But I hope you’ll be as excited about this program, and take advantage of it too. Now of course not only are we engaged in our outside world, but all of us today are also engaged in our Oakland University community too.

Even though were not seeing one another publicly, were still socially distant, were really not distant from one another. Were actually pretty close to one another, using of course a variety of novel tools. And I want to tell you now about a way that you can stay engaged in our community. Actually, it’s not one way, there are a variety of ways and I’m going to share with you some things that a lot of people are doing. So I’m going to give you some examples. Let’s talk for a moment about our Athletics department. You know every year we love celebrating our Black and Gold Awards. But this year, Athletics is doing this virtually. So stay tuned to our Black and Gold Awards that are going to be held virtually. I’m going to give you a few other examples. Our Rec-Well department, well you know they are doing virtual workouts. And I hope some of you are taking advantage of that, and making sure that you’re staying fit. Look at my muscles. And I hope that maybe next week I’m going to show you my work out on my elliptical at home. But I hope that your tuning in, staying fit using our Rec-Well work outs. Their hydration ideas, their hydration challenge. And we have faculty and staff from around the entire university that are participating in our OU From Home social media campaign.

For example Dr. David Schwartz who is in charge of counseling at Oakland University, he provides great tips on how to minimize stress. I really recommend that you listen to his advice on how to manage and reduce stress. And respond to some of the difficult situations that many of us are experiencing today. Let me tell you that you could listen to Dr. Emily Spunaugle who reads a wonderful book of “Owl at Home.” Great story, she is a terrific librarian and she’s just wonderful. Dr. Thomas Ferrari from the OUWB School of Medicine who has great techniques also about managing stress and teaches Tai Chi. So those are a lot of great examples.

And maybe I will just end today, to share with you that, I haven’t had a very good experience with this, but I have been trying very hard to learn some new things too from my past. I have been picking up the piano again. I played the piano forty years ago, and I’ve been working hard at trying to revive that so I’m going to share perhaps my failed experiment with you. And I’ll show you what I’ve been working on now too.

Piano playing

April 17, 2020 3:02 PM

Welcome to our sixth Corona Corner Chat. You know if this goes on much longer, I fear that you may end up figuring out the true color of my hair. Well students you know we’re on the home stretch, and you are almost done with the semester. You know you have two major assignments left, the first one is to continue to stay home and stay healthy. And the second is to study hard for your final exams and your final papers. You’ve done amazingly well this semester, and I’m so proud of you. I know that this has been stressful, challenging and difficult, but you have been remarkable in how well you’ve preformed this semester. So hang tight, study hard, and I know you’re going to do well in completing this semester.

And faculty, I am so very proud of you as well. You’ve been entrepreneurial and innovative in the way that you have adapted to the remote learning environment. You have taken teacher certification and provided our students with a remarkable learning experience. And I’m so very proud of you as well. Speaking of you faculty, this week we were supposed to have a recognition lunch for our remarkable faculty who have performed exceedingly well. We were supposed to provide rewards and awards for our faculty who have done amazing things. And unfortunately we were unable to gather together for our awards luncheon to acknowledge those faculty who had been promoted to full professor, and who had received our special awards. So I want to acknowledge all of you now who were supposed to receive these special recognitions and awards and to promise you then when we are able to collectively get together, that we will celebrate you in the proper fashion.

I do want to say that this year we did start a new award called the Community Engagement Award. And our first recipient of that award is Jennifer Lucarelli. And I want to congratulate you Dr. Lucarelli today. You have been doing some remarkable things this year, and I want to thank you for your efforts. You know we have turned the Oakland Center into a distribution site and Dr. Lucarelli has been leading much of those efforts. Today thousands of people have been receiving food and many other things thanks to the efforts that Dr. Lucarelli and many others are leading, and so thank you very much for that. We’re so very proud of you.

I want to give you an update about the COVID situation here in Michigan and what it means for us at Oakland University. As of today there have been approximately thirty thousand people in Michigan who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infections. And approximately two thousand people have died. But what that means is that because the test does not diagnose all of the people due to many false negatives results, and also because many people with the infection have not been tested, we believe that there may be as many as three hundred thousand people in Michigan with the disease. But that also means, because we have a population of ten million people, that up to nine point seven million of us have not yet been infected with the COVID-19 virus. And that means that as many as nine point seven million of us are still vulnerable and still at risk. So what does that mean? That means between now and when an immunization is developed we are still at risk for getting the virus. So when might an immunization be developed? Well that’s likely to take at least twelve to eighteen months. So what are we going to do between now and then? When can Michigan completely reopen? Some of you might know that I am on one of the governor’s task forces, to help advise the governor on that very decision.

When can businesses reopen? When can school go back to normal? When can our lives return? What are we going to do here at Oakland University? Well, there are a lot of things to consider. And helping us to decide will be things like having good testing. We don’t really have that today. Having serologic testing, that’s antibody testing. Being able to do contact tracing, that’s tracing individuals who test positive. And continuing social distancing, and deciding what businesses, functions are high risk, and which ones are low risk. So we at Oakland University are addressing all of those very things. And collectively your leadership, our faculty and our administration with our board are addressing those very decisions right now. Were trying to decide, what are we going to do about our second summer session? What are we going to do about fall? Are we going to go back to face to face learning? Are we going to continue remote learning? Or are we going to have a hybrid? And as soon as we decide, we’re going to share those decisions with you.

But here’s something I want you to know, whether you’re a student or a parent or a faculty member or staff member, or just one of our supporters, why should you consider Oakland University the university of choice. I’m going to give you four reasons. We have the most incredible faculty members, advisers and counselors. And if you come to Oakland University as a student, you’re going to get an incredible education. And not just any education. Even in this era of remote learning, you will get a personalized education by incredible and wonderful faculty who take a true and personalized interest in you. And our faculty are entrepreneurial and innovative. You know just before the COVID crisis occurred, you might remember, that Oakland University became the first division one E-sports university in Michigan. And I want to introduce you right now to Carl Leone, our E-sports coach. And in fact, he is so excited about starting our team this fall, it’s going to be on fire, I promise you. So that’s our first reason. Let me give you a second reason why OU should be your university of choice. Because when you get an Oakland University degree, your assured a really great chance of landing a job. Now I know that many of you are saying Ora how can you say this when so many people right here in Michigan today are unemployed? And that’s true. The COVID crisis has created two kinds of crisis, a health care crisis, our unemployed and an economic crisis. And indeed, many people, including our students are unemployed. But this is going to end. And when it does, there will be a boom to our economy. And those people who get jobs, will have college degrees. And an Oakland University degree will serve you well. Right here in southeast Michigan, our students who have Oakland University degrees stand an outstanding chance of getting jobs. In fact, ninety seven percent of our students who are employed, are employed in southeast Michigan with great jobs that are high paying jobs. The third reason is, we have a unique pricing structure, one in which we’re one of the only universities in the country, and the only one in Michigan with no fees. We don’t charge any fees for registration. We don’t charge any fees for labs. We don’t have a parking fee. We don’t have a technology fee. And in fact now, where everything is on electronic learning, we don’t have an IT fee. And so that’s another really great reason to think about coming to Oakland.

And now I’m going to give you a really unique reason, our fourth reason. Some of your parents will probably remember John F. Kennedy, when he started the amazing Peace Core. Well we’re living today in an unprecedented time, this COVID crisis. And I hope we’ll never experience another period of time in our lifetimes like this, but in addition to getting a great education at Oakland, if you come now to be one of our students, you’re going to have a chance to fight this crisis, today, with us. We’ve created the TEAM, which is the Engagement and Mobilization Team, and if you participate with us you can do a variety of things that will make a difference in the world. You could work in a laboratory where you might help to create and discover a new therapy for the COVID virus. You might participate in a survey, like the one that is being conducted by Dr. Luis Villa-Diaz. And that is a survey of patience with symptoms who have the COVID virus. You might participate in a clinical trial, a diagnostic or a therapeutic trial that is being conducted at Beaumont Health System. Maybe you’ll help Dr. Lucarelli in the distribution of food and other supplies to needy people in Pontiac. Maybe you’ll work in our engineering schools on one of the 3-D printers to develop a face shield. Or you’ll work in our costume shop in our School of Music, Theatre and Dance and create a cotton mask that can be used by people when they go outside to help deliver some food to our people in need.

There are myriad ways that you can contribute to this fight against the COVID virus. And you will be one of the members of our important teams, and you might even get paid to do this work as well. This is a chance to not only learn, but also be a player in the changing of history. A unique opportunity that is offered to you, if you come to Oakland University.

Now I realize that this crisis that we have is a health crisis and an economic crisis, and it’s impacting each of your lives personally, culturally, socially and in every possible way it has up ended everything that we do. And in fact the same is true for the University. And we are very concerned about the economic and financial impact that it will have on the university. And therefore, we are taking certain measure to prepare us for the future. And that is why we are pausing on a number of different projects that are not urgent projects. In addition, we are making some very difficult financial decisions, because we know that the future is somewhat uncertain financially. But there’s one thing that I want to tell you, and that is our values. The most important thing to us here at Oakland are our people. Our students, our faculty and our staff. And I want to pledge to you that I will do everything in my power to keep our people first, and preserve our jobs. And our cabinet, and your leaders have also pledged the same thing. And that is why they have agreed to make a decision that they will take a salary reduction first if needed because of the financial burden that we’re anticipating that we will have to see. We will continue to keep close tabs on this, and we will keep you informed as we learn what lies ahead. It is my goal to continue to be as transparent as possible with you. I’m continuing to keep you updated with these regular Corona Corner Chats, and with other forms of communication. And so please rest assured that we will continue to do that. I hope that every week when we chat, you’ll continue to tell me what you’ve been doing. I hope that some of you are learning new things, and having some new adventures as you stay safe at home. Remember, that at Oakland we have a unique form of compassion, and for us that’s a formula where compassion is empathy plus action. I look forward to seeing you again next week.

April 10, 2020 11:32 AM

Welcome to our fifth Friday Corona Corner Chat. I hope that you’re all at home and safe and healthy. You know students I realize that we’re on the home stretch with respect to the semester. And I know that you’re probably preparing now for your final exams and your final papers, and I realize that this is probably a stressful time period for you and that there’s probably quite a bit of anxiety. I don’t want you to feel alone or particularly stressed by this period. I recognize that this has been a very unusual semester for you and that it has probably been particularly difficult. Please know that we have incredible counselors and academic advisers that are here to help you. And you don’t need to struggle alone if you’re having a difficult time. So please avail yourselves of the wonderful support that we have here at Oakland University. That’s one of the things that we’re particularly proud of. And again, I want to applaud all of our students and our faculty for how adaptable and entrepreneurial and how really incredible you’ve been this semester for how well you’ve adjusted to the remarkable changes that we’ve had to make in the remote learning environment. You’ve really done this in a remarkable way.

The COVID-19 virus which has upended every aspect of our lives has really transformed life as we know it. Today there have been more than 1.5 million infections globally. And here in Michigan as of today there are at least more than twenty thousand people who have become infected and more than a thousand deaths. And so since the majority of those are right here in southeast Michigan, it’s no surprise that members of our own Oakland University community have been impacted. And so that I now know that there are students and faculty and staff members who have actually either have members of their own individual families or loved ones who have become infected themselves or have family members who are hospitalized or home now sick with the virus, and our hearts go out to you.

I have to actually share some of you are aware that I have three children, and three in-law children, and five grandchildren, and two of my children are actually home sick right now recovering from the COVID-19 infection. One of my children and daughter in law who are front line healthcare providers became infected this week and are home now recovering.

So I know first-hand how difficult this is for those of you who maybe on the front lines. We know that here in southeast Michigan now thousands of healthcare providers have become infected. And as we talked last week they are heroes for taking care of patients and putting themselves and their families at risk. And so we applaud their efforts. And as we have been talking so many members of our Oakland University community have done so much and so selflessly to help support others. We talked about our team “TEAM” the Engagement and Mobilization Task Force that is doing yeoman’s work to support our local community. And this week I just want to share with you a few examples of some of the tremendous work that is happening just right here at Oakland University. So this week I’m just going to share a few examples, and I want to highlight the work of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. And I’m so proud that our medical school created a novel course, they have developed a course for COVID-19 which is unique uh in the country. Our medical students are also now participating in helping to develop and design clinical trials which are both involved in the diagnosis and treatment for new therapies for uh COVID-19 which will really transform both how we diagnose and treat the disease which will make a huge difference in bringing an end to the this plague that is really so adversely impacting us. And our medical students are also very actively participating in supporting patient care, food distribution, tutoring and many other things. Other members of our great volunteer teams are doing lots of other things like again supporting food distribution. We have a mighty team of volunteers who are sewing masks, and again I want to remind you that while we want you to stay at home if you do go out in public, please wear a mask. And if you are one of our volunteers who is helping us to sew masks we are very happy to accept your masks here at the Oakland Center. You may drop those off on Friday afternoons between one and three p.m. And we will help distribute those to others who need those.

We left you some instructions on how you can make those masks and you can drop those off. I’ve also become aware that our community is in great need of a few additional things that you can also drop off at the Oakland Center from one to three p.m. on Fridays. And that includes disposable diapers, wipes for babies and formula. And we have a great need for that as well and you may drop that off. As you know because we have talked about this, our own community is also in need and we created a COVID-19 relief fund for students, and we told you about that in the past. But now we have also become aware that staff and faculty as well as our greater community also have become needy. And our relief fund extends to all of them as well.

So if you find yourself in need, please visit our website and apply, and there are some funds now available. And we want to be there to help our broader community, so please let us know what you need and we will do our best to make funds available. And now I really want to thank our generous, generous community. We have had hundreds of people provide us with philanthropic support for our relief fund. And the power of this support is so extraordinary.

So thank you if you have been one of our donors. We’re still accepting gifts too, so if you are able to provide us with support, we thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts. You know compassion is a very interesting phenomenon. It’s a combination of empathy, which is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and feel what they might feel. But it’s not just that alone, it’s that feeling but coupled with action. And that in my mind is what’s so unique about our Oakland University community. We don’t just feel what other people feel, we feel what they feel and then we act on it. And in my mind, that is what’s so remarkable about Oakland University. Last week I got a great note from one of my sisters in-law and I thought I would share that with you today, and here’s what she told me.

She wanted to share her diary with me and she called it her “self-isolation quarantine diary.” And she said on day one she was examining her strawberries. She said “Ora, some of them have 210 seeds, and some of them have 220, 235 seeds, who knew? On day two at eight p.m., I removed my day pajamas, and I put on my night pajamas, oh my goodness. On day three, I tried to make hand sanitizer, but it came out as Jell-O shots. On day four, I got to take out my garbage, ugh I was so excited I couldn’t decide what to wear. On day five I was laughing way too much at my own jokes. On day six I went to a new restaurant called “The Kitchen.” You have to gather all of the ingredients and make your own meal, and I have no clue how this place is still in business. On day seven, I struck up a conversation with a spider, he seems nice, he is a web designer. On day eight I discovered that isolation was hard. I swear my refrigerator just said, “what the heck do you want now?” On day nine, I realized why dogs get so excited about something moving outside, going for walks, or riding in cars, and I think I just barked at a squirrel. On day ten, I watched the birds fight over a worm. The Cardinals lead the Blue Jays three to one. On day eleven, does anybody else feel like they’ve cooked dinner about three hundred sixty five times this month alone?” Well, that’s what my sister in law said that in being at home for such a short time feels like.

Well I know that it’s been rough being at home so much. But you know, today is good Friday and this Sunday is Easter and spring is here. And I just want to say that I think we have the most amazing community, and with spring being here, I think this is the season of hope, renewal and new life, and I do see a lot of hope on the horizon. So I just want to thank our fantastic community for being so wonderful, and I want to applaud you for following our instructions so well, and I know I’ll be seeing you again, next Friday, at our next Corona Corner Chat. See you then.

April 3, 2020 4:08 PM

Welcome everyone, this is our fourth weekly Corona Corner chat. And I hope that you’re all home and staying safe and healthy.

I have to say that it’s now the end of the third week of remote learning, and by all accounts that I’ve received, and I’ve heard from so many of you, you’ve done a remarkable job of adapting to remote learning. I’ve heard from faculty and students, and by all accounts its going really well, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Uh it’s really terrific to hear that you’re so innovative and adaptable. I want to remind you that registration for summer and fall is open and ongoing.

And so please if you haven’t yet registered, make sure that you do that. And I also want to remind you that progress towards getting your degrees is also continuing, and please don’t forget to do that because this is really a terrific time to get on board and continue to make that important progress. It’s a great time to make sure that you get your degree.

I also want to remind our students and our faculty and our staff as well as our many thousands of supporters that we’re still open for business, even if we’re doing it remotely. And we’re here for you. And we want to support our people in every single way, and in every step of the way. So please know that we have thousands of people working remotely to help you.

And in that regard, I want to applaud our staff and team for setting up the student relief fund. It’s been a very significant success, and already a number of students have availed themselves of the student relief fund, and are getting support.

And again I want to thank those of you who have given generously to the student relief fund, and students who have taken advantage of the student relief fund, I want uh you to know that it is there for you too.

You know the COVID crisis is continuing both worldwide, nationally, and of course here in Michigan as well. Already there are more than one million people around the world who have fallen ill with the COVID infection. Here as of today in Michigan, there are more than eleven thousand people who have become infected with the COVID-19 virus. And many hundreds have already died.

And so since the majority of those are right here in southeast Michigan, it really should come as no surprise that our OU family has also already been impacted. And so, I have learned already that our family, the Oakland University family, has already been impacted. And what I mean by that is, that we know that we have members of our community who have already become ill with the COVID-19 virus, and members of their families have already died.

And so I want to now extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to those members of our extended OU community who have had loses. Our hearts ache for you, and we are so sorry. And if there is anything at all that we can do, we want to reach out to you and let you know that we are together as one community, and we want to embrace you, and we’re there to comfort you as a general community.

Michigan of course is a hotspot. And that is one reason why I want to remind you to please adhere to our rules and instructions to stay at home, and to maintain social distancing. But when you must go out, for example for exercise, or to go to the grocery store, or to pick up medication at the pharmacy, I want to also tell you that there are new recommendations that are likely to be coming out this week, probably from the CDC.

And those include the suggestions that I think will come to recommend wearing a mask, and I will support those recommendations of wearing a mask. Now general masks are not readily available, so these are probably going to be homemade masks. And if you can sew, there are all kinds of ways to learn how to sew homemade masks, and I’m going to recommend that you consider doing that.

But I want to also again emphasize, don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary, or for your daily exercise. And don’t take a mask from health care providers.

And I again want to tell you why you’re going to wear a mask, it’s not really to protect you, you are not going to be protected by wearing a mask, it’s to protect others, and that’s what the recommendations show. And the reason is because we don’t yet know who is infected.

You could be an asymptomatic carrier of the COVID-19 virus, and that’s the reason that we’re recommending that if you go out to the grocery store, or if you’re going out for a walk, again maintain social distance, but a mask is now recommended.

We will have information on this that you could actually access and talk to one of our chats with one of our people at Oakland, and you can get this information on Engage OU,, if you send a question there, we will be able to have someone answer you.

Clearly we are living in unprecedented times, and most importantly we care about the health of our people, both the physical health and the emotional health, and the health of our economy.

And we understand that this is really a time of great strain, both for the health of our people, and the health of our economy. And yet, during this time there are incredible, amazing, and inspiring stories, and we have just the most amazing heroes.

So I want to talk now about three types of heroes. Our heroes are clearly the frontline heroes that are the healthcare providers, we have heroes who are the volunteers, and we have heroes who are all the rest of you.

So now I want to read a letter from one of our healthcare providers, an alum of our School of Nursing, one of those who is on the front lines, and her name is Alyssa. And we just got this letter from Alyssa, and Alyssa is a brand new nurse, who has a BSN and an RN from Oakland University, and here is what she wrote us.

My name is Alyssa, and I am a clinical instructor and lab instructor. I am also a full time nurse working in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Currently, my unit is housing more than half of our census with COVID positive patients. I wanted to share with you what it’s like for my peers and for me.

Going to work every day gets scarier and scarier. I have to get to work almost an hour before my shift to get a parking spot. And then I stand in a line with other employees to get screened. There is security at the entrance as well as employees who are asking questions about symptoms and taking your temperature.

I’ve been taking my temperature at home every morning and night, since I’ve been taking care of COVID positive patients. If you pass, you get a dot sticker on your badge. Then you get some foam hand sanitizer and go to your unit.

Lately, when we start work we’re already low on PPE, personal protective equipment. And we’re waiting for supplies to be replenished. My unit has been lucky enough to have to respirators and face shields. Currently the respirator doesn’t fit me, so while I wait for a smaller size to be ordered, I am wearing N-95’s.

Most of the patients are intubated. All of the doors are shut. I just can’t imagine how scary and quiet it is for the patients. At the beginning, we were met with a lot of anger from families because of the visitor restrictions. Lots of name calling, threats, the people are scared.

Since the second week, people have been more understanding once they realized how serious it is. We are out of our normal isolation gowns. The procedure to get in the room is as follows.

Foam, put on a gown. Foam. Gloves. Respirator. Eye shield. Foam, put on your gloves. Do what you need to do. It’s hot, you’re sweaty, and the patients, they just get sicker, and sicker and sicker, it’s physically daunting.

The patients their getting sick fast. At the beginning of the pandemic, one of my patients told me she would tell whoever is up there good things about me. So that when she gets to heaven, she’ll see me there. She made me cry.

Luckily, she was able to move out of the Intensive Care Unit, but she was so scared and so fragile. And I couldn’t do anything to help her with that. And that’s the worst part about this, we’ve never seen this before, and we don’t know what to expect. We’re doing our best, but it might not be good enough. I cry a lot.

I am a huge fan and an advocate for a good death. A good death is being around loved ones, family that can comfort you. But with these deaths, family can’t be at the bed side because of the restrictions.

This was my first year teaching, and I’m so sad that it was cut short. I miss my students every week. I don’t have the answers. I don’t think anyone does. But I hope that this won’t scare people away from the nursing profession, because nurses do some really great things, and I know they will once this is over.

I want to thank Alyssa, an Oakland University recent grad for sharing her story with us. Because nurses are doing really great things, and I want to applaud the heroes on the front lines.

We have other volunteers too, and they too are our second heroes. And I know that last week I told you about our “TEAM” team. That’s the Engagement and Mobilization Task Force, and I want to tell you about some of the incredible things that their doing.

We’ve been partnering with Lighthouse, which is a major Pontiac non-profit organization, that’s providing for the homeless and those living in poverty.

Today, 43 percent of Michiganders do not have basic necessities, and we’ve been partnering with 33 organizations who are now providing help and care to thousands of people in Michigan.

And I’m going to take you on a walk through to show you what we’re doing here in Michigan so you can just see what we’re doing for them. Also, this week we opened up Hillcrest Hall, a 750 bed residence hall to healthcare providers at Beaumont, and at Ascension Health and for Auburn Hills, so that they could use our facility.

Again, these are heroes, volunteers from around Oakland University, our staff, our faculty and many others, in order to help them do more.

And finally, I want to conclude by telling you that you are heroes too. If you are adhering to social distancing, and you are staying home, you too are a hero. I know that this week, we are actually about to celebrate holy week, and many of you are preparing for the holiday of Easter, and getting ready to celebrate special holidays.

And it will be different from the way you’ve ever celebrated in the past. For me and my family, we will be celebrating Passover. And this table is the table that I usually celebrate my family Seder, a big event where we have sometimes up to forty family members. But this year, our Seder will be canceled because of a plague. Normally we talk about the ten plagues, but our ten plague celebration will be canceled because of the COVID plague.

But were going to have a Zoom Seder, and I hope that you’ll also be having your family celebrations by Zoom, or some other method, where you’ll be able to stay in touch with your loved ones, by staying home, and continuing to be heroes too.

And now, I’m going to take you on a tour to see our regional food distribution center in the Oakland Center, so you can get a glimpse of some of the great work that’s happening here by your colleagues and your friends. Have a good week, and I’ll see you again next Friday.


0:05 Welcome
0:20 Remote learning
0:53 Registering for classes
2:00 Student Relief Fund
2:40 COVID 19 impact on Michigan and OU community
4:30 Advice and tips to help stop the spread
6:30 Engage OU
7:55 Reading of a letter from an OU nurse
12:56 OU volunteering in the community
14:50 Celebrating the upcoming holiday virtually
16:00 Sign off
16:25 OC food distribution center clips

Oakland University considers it an utmost priority to support every community member’s mental and emotional health. Whatever the cause, the loss of a loved one is a difficult life event that requires dedicated time to grieve and to support family and friends.

Students experiencing difficulties in the grieving process are encouraged to seek support services from the Oakland University Counseling Center or through their health care provider. Students should also remember that they can and should take advantage of a bereavement leave from their studies.

The Unum Employee Assistance Program provides OU faculty and staff members and eligible family members access to licensed professional counselors, work/life specialists, a broad array of informative and support resources, and 24/7 phone support services. Employees interested in learning more should visit or call (800) 854-1446.

March 27, 2020 12:00 PM

[President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.:]
Hello everyone. As you can see, I'm talking to you today from Sunset Terrace which of course is the President's home at Oakland University, and I know that all the rest of you are home too. I hope that all of you are healthy and safe. Perhaps a few of you are a little bit bored, and maybe some of you are getting a little overwhelmed by some of your children or your spouses or your loved ones, but most importantly, I hope that you're healthy and safe. It feels like a long time since I last spoke to you, but it's only been a week, and for some of you I know that it's been a trying and challenging week, but I want to applaud our amazing Oakland University community because during this week, you've learned to live and to learn in novel ways, and our incredible students, faculty and staff have done some truly remarkable things. Our entire community is knee-deep now in remote learning, and they've done it remarkably well, and it has been a Herculean task, but I am so impressed with how well it is going. It has required entrepreneurial and innovative ways, and I'm just so proud of all of you for how well it has gone. In addition, nearly all of our students have moved out of the residence halls, and again, that has been difficult and challenging for so many, but that too has gone really, really well, and yet life moves on, and some things that are an ordinary part of what we do every day also go on, and so last week, we were thrilled to celebrate Match Day for Oakland University William Beaumont Medical students, and again we had a phenomenal, phenomenal match and so many of our wonderful medical students ended up matching for their residencies right here in Michigan. Many of them will become residents at William Beaumont Health System, others in the Ascension Health System, others at the University of Michigan and others around the state. As we know, because of the COVID crisis that we’re all experiencing, we're so delighted and proud that many of our medical students will be here to help us in Michigan, and again, we're so very, very proud of them. Now, I know that while many of you are at home, there is a lot of stress, anxiety, and maybe even some grief that so many of you might be experiencing as you're going through this new reality of stay home and stay safe, but I want to applaud you for doing just that. It is so very important that you're doing this and following these mitigation procedures. You know, some of you may have heard of Viktor Frankl, who survived the Holocaust and went on to teach us about the meaning of life, and one of the things that he told us is that we can't pick the difficult circumstances that we might find ourselves in, but we do have a choice about how we respond to the difficult circumstances that we might find ourselves in, so that choice is really up to us, and I do know that all of us today are facing an unprecedented difficult circumstance, so how we respond to this difficult circumstance is definitely up to us, and I recommend that we respond with courage and compassion, and I recently published an OpEd talking about just that. I believe that our Governor has responded with those two traits, and you can too, and I've given you a prescription about exactly what I recommend you do. Three things. First, make sure that you're taking care of yourself. Second, make sure that you're taking care of those that you love, your immediate family and your close friends. And third, make sure that we're taking care of our community, those around us that need us to help take care of them, and you know that our community, Oakland University, is doing just that. You've probably heard that we have offered our campus to those that might need us, our health systems that are currently under stress, crippling stress, and we've offered our Oakland University campus to those health systems should they need us, and it looks as though they will be calling on us to do exactly that, but in addition, we’ve offered our people, and I'm so very, very proud of our people. You can visit our website to see whether you, too, can volunteer, whether you can volunteer your resources philanthropically, or your time, and on our website, we’ve talked about our team TEAM. TEAM stands for The Engagement and Mobilization team, and already, we have some people doing remarkable things, and I'm just going to give you a few examples, but there are many more. So, we have students like our Upward Bound and honor students who are doing some incredible things. For example, they are tutoring students from their homes and helping them to learn. It's amazing. And we have volunteers who, in a healthy and safe way, are using their own resources to deliver food and other important supplies to individuals who can't leave their homes, and can't get them themselves in underprivileged areas, and our volunteers are doing so much more. So, if you want to figure out how you can help either with financial resources for our own Oakland University community, or for others in need, please think about visiting our website. We're so proud of what our Oakland University community is doing. It's just beyond remarkable. Now, if you listened to my message last week, you might remember that I promised you that there was going to be a special surprise this week. Well, I'm not going to disappoint you, so I want to tell you that our remarkable students from our School of Music, Theater, and Dance, specifically the Oakland University Chorale, under the direction of Mike Mitchell, our amazing, amazing professor, have done something truly remarkable. They have composed and written the lyrics to a novel and unique composition, and now you have the good fortune to hear it for the very first time. Here it is: the Oakland University Chorale singing Oakland Strong.

[Oakland University Chorale:]
[separate windows show cymbal, piano, guitar, and bass being played during instrumental intro]
[female vocalist at microphone wearing headphones:]
[Verse 1:]
Through trial and tribulation
Asking “What did I do wrong?”
When faith begins to fade,
Feeling hopeless and afraid
[male vocalist with earphone wearing OU jacket:]
Realize you’re not alone
The answers will be shown
I’ll be with you till the trouble’s gone
And we’ll see the face of dawn
[approximately 27 students tiled picture-in-picture in three rows all singing simultaneously]
We are Oakland strong
Standing Oakland tall
We will carry on and rise above
In unity and love
we will sing this song
steadfast all day long
lift our heads to the sky
As this storm passes us by
[Verse 2:]
[male vocalist in OU hat and t-shirt with headphones singing as bass and piano players shown:]
When everyone feels miles away
And there’s just no end in sight
Every choice feels like a mistake
But it’s a sacrifice we have to make
[female vocalist singing as guitar player appears in separate window:]
When all you can do is cry
Yesterday’s mist in your eye
You do your best to survive
But if we stick together we will thrive
[27 chorale members all appear together again, each in separate window:]
We are Oakland strong
We are standing Oakland tall
We will carry on and rise above
In unity and love
we will sing this song
steadfast all day long
lift our heads to the sky
As this storm passes by us
As we lift our heads
We are strong as we
Oakland strong
[female vocalist as music slows and becomes less dense:]
When the noise becomes deafening
And it seems that we’ll lose everything
Let our light lead the way
and our love will rule today
Love will rule today
[the heads of all 27 members singing together again from their homes:]
We are Oakland strong
We are standing Oakland tall
We will carry on
Rise up in unity and love
We will sing this song
All day long
lift our heads to the sky
As this storm passes by us
As we lift our heads
We are strong as we stand here
Oakland strong
Yes we stand here
Oakland Strong
[credits display as: Music by Caleb Wayman, Lyrics by Lily Belle Czartorski, Jarell Cunningham, and Parish Roberts, Solos in order of appearance: Gillian Tackett, Kellan Dunlap, Kevin Cornwell II, Cassidy Singelyn, Lily Belle Czartorski, Caleb Wayman, piano, Terry Herald, instruments.]
[end slide message reads: To support the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund, visit]

March 20, 2020 2:00 PM

Good afternoon. It's hard for me to believe that it's been just one week since I last spoke with our Oakland University community. In that one week, so much has changed in the way that we learn and the way we live, but I've got to tell you that I can't believe how amazing our community has been. Our students, our faculty and our staff have been so courageous, so resilient and so brilliant in the way that we have adapted to the changing world around us. Our students have learned to learn in a brand-new way, and our faculty have learned to teach in novel ways. They've learned to teach our students in a way that has previously been unprecedented, and everyone has come to the fore with courage, with an ability to be innovative and entrepreneurial, and I am just so proud of how adaptable everyone has been. It really is remarkable and shows what kind of an incredible community Oakland University is, and I want to thank each one of our students and our faculty and staff. I want to give special applause to our faculty, and to our academic community and to the Provost's office for working so hard and so diligently on this incredible effort. It's really been truly outstanding. And now I want to say a special word to those students who are Seniors, to their parents, to our graduate students, to our masters students, and doctoral students who are graduating this spring. You know that we are living in unprecedented times right now and because of the times that we're living in, we are going to make some difficult decisions. We've already had to make some very difficult decisions. I want to applaud you for what you have done so far. You've worked so hard to get to the point that you are today, and your education is one which is extraordinary, and we will never be able to take that from you, but because of the times that we're living in, we have decided that we will have to postpone your commencement ceremonies. But, we want to celebrate your exceptional achievements, and therefore we've made the decision that we will honor you and that we will celebrate you with commencement ceremonies in August of this year and we will have those ceremonies over the weekend of August 27th through August 29th at the arena just like we ordinarily do, and we want you to bring your families and your loved ones to the same kind of a ceremony that we ordinarily would have had this spring. I know that this is a very disappointing thing for many of you, and yet we want you to know how very proud we are of your achievements and accomplishments. I recognize that this is disappointing and I just want to tell you but I'm disappointed for you too. In fact, I'm going through one of my own disappointments this spring too because this spring I was supposed to go to my own 40th reunions from my own graduation at Northwestern and I'm canceled as well. So, I share in your disappointment but I'm really looking forward to celebrating with you in August of this year, and I can't wait to be with each one of you and with your families as we look forward to that exciting celebration in the arena this fall. So get ready for that. Now remember that last Friday I spoke with you about the state of affairs of the Covid virus in our country, and I talked with you about that curve, and how we were working so diligently to try to flatten that curve. So today I want to give you a bit of an update on what we believe is happening in the country with respect to the state of viral infection. Unfortunately, there are many many infections around Michigan and around the country, and if you look at the epidemiologic data, it does not appear as though we are doing a very good job of flattening that curve just yet. That is why I am so pleased that here at Oakland University we put into place aggressive mitigation measures, but I am concerned that we have not yet put into place sufficiently aggressive measures. Let me try to give you an update of what the epidemiologists, the physicians and the scientists are concerned about today. As of today, the concern is that here in America, we are worried that up to 160 million Americans, or maybe more, will become infected with the COVID-19 virus. This is a very worrisome outcome, and I am personally very concerned about that. Furthermore, the prediction is that would that happen, up to 10% of those infected with the virus will require hospitalization, and if that happens quickly, that means that up to 16 million patients will need to get hospitalized in our health systems, and as I explained to you last week, that would overwhelm our hospital systems because many of those patients will require intensive care units, and our current hospital systems are poorly equipped to handle that many patients in a rapid onslaught of patients happening quickly, and furthermore, somewhere between 1 to 2% of those patients might be expected to die, meaning somewhere between 160,000 to 320,000 patients might die. So these are very concerning numbers. I don't present these numbers to you to frighten you, but these are realistic predictions based on the best estimates that experts are presenting to us. Now why do I share them? I share them because I believe that we have a responsibility to act on behalf of our own safety, and our own health, and the health of those around us. So what do I want you to do now? Well, you've already done a really great job, but there are several additional things that I want us to do. We've already moved away from face-to-face learning to e-learning, but now I want to ask our staff to do more, and I want everyone in our community, if they can work from home, to now work from home. This means that I want everyone to meet with their supervisors and see what kind of work can be done from home. If you don't need to be at work on our campus, I don't want you to be on our campus. This is going to require from many of you some reorganization of the work, but I want that to happen as quickly as possible. We want you to do this for your own health and safety, and for the health and safety of others. So please try to work on this as quickly as possible starting today. It's very important to me and to all of those who share in our shared responsibility. What else can you do? Well, there are several things. We already talked last week about several mitigation measures. Two of these are particularly important and I'm just going to remind you of them right now. One of them is frequent hand-washing. Please don't forget to do that, and the other is a term that you've heard a lot about - it's called social distancing. It's a term which really is very disturbing because obviously, some of us are very social people, and those of you who have gotten to know me know that I'm one of the most social people, so I really hate that term social distancing, but just because we talked about social distancing, that we want you to be distant socially, so there are probably a lot of other ways that you can get close to people even if you are at home, and there are three things that I want you to think about doing while you're at home. So let me talk about those three very important things. First, I want you to take care of yourself. How can you take care of yourself? The first thing I want you to do is to eat well. I don't mean eat a lot. I mean eat in a healthy way. The second thing is I want you to sleep well. Those of you who know me know I don't practice that too well, but I want you to do better than I do. So get a good amount of sleep. I want you to exercise, and even though we're telling you to stay at home, you are allowed to go outside to exercise as long as you maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people, so exercise, that's very important. And there are a lot of other things that you can do at home. You can start a gratification journal. Every day, you can write down one thing that you feel grateful for, or more things. You can start a lot of things that you might be interested in. I have downloaded a meditation program on my app and I'm planning to start doing that this weekend. You can download exercise programs as well. You can start reading new books or listening to fun videos or movies, a lot of fun things that you can do for yourself while you're at home to stop being bored. There's a lot that you can do for yourself while you're taking care of yourself, and it's very important that you do that, and I don't want you to be distant from others, so the second thing I want you to do is to care for people that you love. That's your friends and your family. I want you to stay in touch with them. There are so many ways that we can do that now through social media, through phone calls, through texts, and a variety of different ways. Please stay in touch with those that you love. I worry about my 93 year old father who lives in an independent facility for the elderly. He's not allowed to have any visitors. I try to stay in touch with him. Think about people like that that need you to stay in touch with them, care about those people that you love and make sure that you're doing something for them. I'm sure there are people who are more bored than you and you've got to worry about caring for them as well. And then finally, what about our broader community? What can we do for them? I've already mentioned the fact that our hospital systems in our local community are likely to feel overwhelmed. Yesterday, I spoke with John Fox, the CEO of our local Beaumont hospital system, and we are very concerned about them becoming overwhelmed, and I asked him how we at Oakland University and the OUWB School of Medicine can be of greatest help to our important hospital partner. I've offered the Oakland University community and our campus to be of assistance. We've offered our facilities, our parking lots, our buildings to the hospital system, and we believe that we will be able to help as the hospital becomes overwhelmed and overloaded, but we also believe that our people can be of help, and so we have created something called TEAM, The Engagement And Mobilization task force, a 15-member task force which will be made up of volunteers from our entire Oakland University community, and we invite all of you if you are interested to volunteer your time and your service to help our partners in our hospital systems in Macomb County and in Oakland county in a variety of different ways that might be needed to help others. Maybe you can help participate in a call center, maybe you can help deliver food to others, maybe you can sit at home and read a book to a child whose in need. There are a variety of ways that we believe that we can help our broader community. If you want to learn about what you might be able to do to help another person, please visit our website at, look at the Coronavirus website, and there will be a place on that site for you to sign up under TEAM, and you will see whether or not you might be able to help someone else. So don't forget to take care of yourself, don't forget to take care of others you love, and if you're interested, think about whether you can help others in our broader community. So let me end today by telling you how incredibly proud I am of each one of you individually, and of all of us as in Oakland University community. Next week, I'm going to have a special surprise for you, so I hope you'll tune in, and again, I'm here with all of you. See you next week.

For more information on COVID-19's impact on the community.

March 13, 2020 5:30 PM

I want to speak to our Oakland University community. I know that we are now living in an unprecedented time both for our community here at Oakland University within the State of Michigan, and across our entire nation, and I know that this week we put out an announcement that indicates that we suspended our face-to-face classes, and a series of other mitigation measures that I know have really challenged our entire community. Some people have been extremely concerned, and in fact I know this might have created a sense of panic for some members of our community, and others have really questioned whether all of these measures are necessary, and so today, I thought it would really be good if I spent some time talking to our community and explaining why we are doing the things that we are doing. I think it's important to note that all fifteen public universities in Michigan have done something very similar to what we have done and have suspended classes, and in fact Governor Whitmer today announced that all public schools should also be closed across the state of Michigan, and I know across the country, many public gatherings have also been suspended, and there are many other measures that are being taken across the country. So this is really a scary time for so many people, and I thought that as your President, and also as a physician, that it might be an appropriate time for me to explain to you several things. First and foremost, it is not a time for anyone to panic, or to fear this very unusual COVID-19 virus, and yet it is a time for us to take these measures very, very seriously, and I thought I might talk to you a little bit about why that is. This virus has caused a pandemic. What is a pandemic? A pandemic is an infection which is occurring across the entire world, and that means that it is something that is very serious. Why is it so serious? It's serious because we do not have a treatment for it, and we do not have an immunization for it, and it is one of the most infectious kinds of viral infections that we've ever seen. Now, we know that the case fatality rate, which is called the CFR, is somewhere around one to three percent. That means that one to three percent of the people who get infected with this virus are believed to die. Why don't we know with certainty what the fatality rate is? The main reason we don't know is because we don't actually know the denominator. We don't really know how many people are diagnosed with this virus, and that's because we don't have enough diagnostic kits. People who feel ill can't always be diagnosed, and that is the reason we don't actually know the number of people who die. But even at the high end, that means that ninety-seven percent or more of the people who do get ill with this virus survive, and that's one of the reasons that there is no real reason to panic, and the people who are at greatest risk for this infection are the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. On the other hand, we want to stop this virus in its tracks and we want to mitigate against future infections, and that is why we are moving so aggressively to try to stop this virus from infecting additional people, and that is the reason why we took the measures that we took here at Oakland University when there were only two cases that were identified here in Michigan. We were preparing for this for several weeks, and I want to applaud the Corona Task Force here at Oakland University. People on our campus, your leaders, that have been working day and night to prepare for this for several weeks, and if you meet people like this on our campus, I want you to thank them for the work that they are doing. One way to know that this virus can and is spreading rapidly, is that within the two days since the original two cases were diagnosed, we now know that there are at least ten additional cases right here in Michigan, and I personally believe that there are many more, but because we are underdiagnosing them, we just don't know how many there are. So, if you have symptoms of a viral infection, I encourage you to contact your health care provider, or if you are a student here on campus, please contact the Graham Health Center and let people know, but don't panic, just let us know, and we can get a test kit here at the Graham Health Center, and please do that because it is very important. Also, please follow the measures that we have identified on our website. If you aren't certain what those are, they're at and we have a special page for the coronavirus, and please look at that, and that reviews everything that we want to tell you. I want to now explain why it is so important that we stop this virus in its tracks, and I'm going to show you a chart that some of you may have seen if you're looking at the news, watching any of the television stations, or reading the newspaper, and this is a chart that you may have seen that is called Flattening the Curve, and we are very concerned about this. So, if you've looked at any of the newspapers, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, or if you've watched this on TV, you will see a chart that looks something like this, and if you see right over here, when the virus was first diagnosed in the United States, when we saw the first cases that came in to the west coast that came from that cruise ship, there were only a few cases right over here. What we're concerned about is that as the virus multiplies exponentially, there will be this [chart showing daily number of cases at left axis and time since first case on bottom axis with spike in center representing cases without protective measures with horizontal dotted line near bottom representing health care system capacity] huge spike of cases, and if there are no mitigation procedures, this spike can overwhelm our health system. This is what is happening right now in Italy, and if you're reading about what's happening in Italy, you understand that there is an overwhelming number of cases that is impacting the health system there, and the health system in Italy is unable to keep up with the number of cases that are being diagnosed, so the medical system there, including the health professionals, are getting sick, and there are more and more cases that cannot be adequately treated, and this is something that we want to prevent here in Michigan and across the United States. That's what happens if the virus is not stopped quickly, and that is what we're seeing here with this very rapid spike. [same chart with an additional curve flattened below original curve with arrows showing the daily outbreak peak at the top and the reduction in peak of outbreak at top of additional curve] We believe that we can flatten the curve by these very aggressive mitigation procedures that we've implemented here at Oakland University, and that Governor Whitmer has recommended across the state, and that others are suggesting across the United States. All of the measures that are on our website and that we outlined earlier this week, and that's what you see here in this curve that is the example that's called Cases with Protective Measures. We don't think that we will reduce the total number of cases that will actually occur. People will still get sick with the coronavirus, but they will happen over a longer period of time. Why is that a good thing? Because here the health care system will be able to treat those cases, and that will allow us to not overwhelm our health care providers. We will have more ICU beds, we will have more health care professionals, the health care professionals themselves will not get sick, but there are three additional good things that can happen by allowing this to take place over a longer period of time: One, we hope to have immunizations by twelve to sixteen or eighteen months from now; two, we hope that there will be antiviral medications that will also treat this disease if these cases get sick in a longer period of time; and three, we again hope that the health care system will be able to adapt, and that is the reason why these mitigation procedures are so so very important, so these are the reasons why it is critical that we do all the things that we have outlined. Wash your hands, keep a distance, don't have gatherings, that is why we have moved away from face-to-face instructions, face-to-face classes and instruction. All the things that we have told you to do. So, I hope you understand some of the reasons why we feel that all of these measures are not excessive, and we feel that they are appropriate. I want to take a couple minutes and talk about a few other things that really matter to me and that I think are so important. I've heard about a few very disturbing things that happened on our campus, and they are not consistent with the Oakland values, and this really is very disturbing to me. You know that the first cases of this virus occurred in China in Wuhan, and I have heard of one or two cases where individuals who came from Asia, or who look Asian, were discriminated against on our campus. I find this hard to believe, because Oakland University is known for being a warm and welcoming place where everyone is considered a part of our family. I certainly hope that during this challenging and difficult time that we will remember that everyone here at Oakland University is part of the Oakland family, and that we will not exhibit any racist, intolerant behaviors against any individual or any groups. This is a place where we exhibit values of tolerance and where we welcome all, and this is particularly important to me during this challenging and difficult time. I also want to talk about a few other things that are particularly important to me. Additionally, I want to remind everyone of our values of community engagement and service. This is a very challenging and difficult time for so many people. We're asking people to adapt and do new things. We're asking our faculty to learn how to teach in new ways, and I want you to be patient with them, and with us as administrators. All of us are going to make mistakes. Our students have to adapt and learn new things, we've asked our students to learn in a new way as well. Some of our students have left our campus, but others are still here, and although we have suspended classes, all of our services are still open, but we're changing things, and so I'm asking people to be patient with us as we're trying to do things in a new way, but we know we're going to make mistakes. Tell us when you think we can be better, and we'll do our best to do that, and I hope that people will be understanding. It's a great opportunity for us to come together as a community and to do our very best. We are truly a resilient and a capable community, and I know that it's also a time for us to also help others. Think about who in our community is most vulnerable, and how we can help those. The people most at risk for this virus are the elderly. So, who can you help? Is it your parent, or your friend's parent? What do they need? People are going to be asked to stay at home. Are there people who are particularly lonely? What might you do for them? And now that schools are closed, what does that mean for parents of young children? People who have to now work at home. Now that schools are closed in innercities like Pontiac and Detroit, many of those children have depended on the school system for food and some of them don't get a hot meal if they aren't at school. Can you do something to help them? And there may be some who are dependent upon work for income. Think about ways that you might be able to help others. I'm certain that while this is an enormous challenge for every single person in the Oakland University community, there is someone who has it worse than you, and I ask that each one of us think about that. I want to thank everybody for your patience, for the work that you do, and I want to again thank the coronavirus task force at Oakland University for everything that you've done today, and I know that you'll be hearing from us again soon, and I want to really acknowledge how outstanding each one of you is, and I want to thank you for everything you've done to help me during what has been a challenging few weeks. Thank you.

A chart showing daily number of cases at left axis and time since first case on bottom axis with spike in center representing cases without protective measures, and a horizontal dotted line near botto

To see more information on the COVID-19 Flattening the Curve.

March 11, 2020 1:52 PM

Oakland University leaders are meeting to enact our coronavirus action plan. Stay tuned to OU’s website, social media platforms and other official University communication channels for updates throughout the day.

March 3, 2020 9:59 AM

To all campus community members and visitors,

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is a serious and growing public health concern here in the U.S. and across the globe, and epidemiologists advise that this concern is not likely to wane anytime soon. Oakland University is committed to taking all measures within its power to protect those on our campus from this public health threat.

Several teams of academic and administrative leaders from across campus are closely monitoring, responding to and planning in light of this developing situation. This web section is designed to provide co nvenient access to reliable information resources regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in general, as well as timely information specific to the University’s response and planning efforts.

COVID-19 Cases on the OU Campus

Individuals with concerns about COVID-19 cases on the Oakland University Campus should refer to the Graham Health Center web section.

As Oakland University's Emergency Response Team (ERT), we are committed to sharing the most up-to-date, relevant information regarding OU's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check this page frequently as facts and information is changing rapidly.

Stories of unity and strength: OU responds to COVID-19

During this unprecedented time, we have witnessed remarkable ingenuity and goodwill within the Oakland University community. A new COVID-19 Response online magazine shares these stories and proves that while times continue to change, the OU community will remain Oakland Strong.

University Employment

Faculty and Staff
COVID-19 Work Guidelines

For information regarding employment services related to the COVID-19 pandemic, view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act information sheet.

Do the 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave apply to temporary and casual employees?

Yes. Part time employees, however, are only eligible for the number of hours of emergency paid sick leave that they work on average over a two-week period.

Are we all coming back to work or will we continue to work remotely if we are able?

A University representative will contact each employee when he or she is either required or permitted to return to work on campus. In the meantime, employees who are able to work remotely should continue to do so until further notice.

What happens if I have not and cannot work remotely?

During this time, employees may be eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and/or Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLA), please contact for assistance.

As of June 1, 2020, University employees who are not working remotely or on campus must use EPSL and/or EFMLA (if eligible), accrued personal, or leave time until they return to work or their leave balances are exhauste


Can I use a few hours a day if the 80 hours of COVID-19 leave if needed on an intermittent basis? ? How would I go about that?

Yes, if you are planning to use COVID 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave on a periodic intermittent basis due school closure, day care closure or not having a suitable person to care for your child, you need to submit supporting documentation to your supervisor (please see the documentation necessary for that reason, noted below) and report those hours on payroll.

How long will work from home be an option?

In light of the various state and local executive orders, it is not clear when all University employees will be allowed to bring all of its employees back to campus. In addition, the University has not yet determined whether some employees may be allowed to continue working remotely even after the University is allowed to bring all of its employees back to campus.

If I am asked for documentation for my time off under the COVID 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave what do I need?

An employee must provide his or her employer documentation in support of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave. Such documentation must include a signed statement containing the following information:

  1. The employee’s name
  2. The date(s) for which leave is requested
  3. The COVID–19 qualifying reason for leave
  4. A statement representing that the employee is unable to work or telework because of the COVID–19 qualifying reason.

An employee must provide additional documentation depending on the COVID–19 qualifying reason for leave. An employee requesting paid sick leave related to quarantine/isolation must provide the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the employee is subject. An employee requesting paid sick leave related to self-quarantine must provide the name of the health care provider who advised him or her to self-quarantine for COVID–19 related reasons.

An employee requesting paid sick leave to care for a qualifying individual must provide either

  1. The government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the individual is subject or
  2. The name of the health care provider who advised the individual to self-quarantine, depending on the precise reason for the request.

An employee requesting to take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to care for his or her child must provide the following information:

  1. The name of the child being cared for
  2. The name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that closed or became unavailable due to COVID–19 reasons; and
  3. A statement representing that no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of requested leave.

Can supervisors ask employees the reason for their absences?

Yes, supervisors may ask employees the reason for their absence. A supervisor may ask an employee if they are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms, but the supervisor must maintain all information about employee illnesses as a confidential medical record.

What should department heads do if they become aware someone on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Send the employee home and notify the Graham Health Center immediately at (248) 370-2341 or Any confirmed cases will be followed up through the Oakland County Health Division.

What do I do if I suspect that I have been contaminated with COVID 19?

Graham Health Center’s website has all the information you need for this situation. Check the website for up-to-date information.

Who do I notify if I have been diagnosed with COVID19?

If someone tests positive, the Oakland County Health Department will interview the patient and notify the contacts as indicated. Also, contact the Nancy Jansen Director of the OU Graham Health Center at 248-370-4375, e-mail:

Leaves from Work

The following information addresses COVID-19 leaves, which will have no impact on time-off accruals. Employees with questions or concerns regarding this information should contact University Human Resources at

Monthly Employees (APs, Clerical, AA, Deans, Executives, SOM Faculty)

  • The COVID-19 category will not apply to current FMLA leaves or sick time accruals.
  • Employees with non-COVID-19 related illnesses will continue to follow current sick leave/FMLA policies (e.g. maternity leaves, surgery).
  • Any questions/concerns regarding COVID-19 related illnesses should be directed to Graham Health Center.
  • A doctor's note is not required for COVID-19 related activities.

Bi-Weekly Employees

  • It will be the responsibility of supervisors to track COVID-19 vs. sick time reporting. Supervisors should record COVID-19 related absences under the COVID-19 category.
  • The COVID-19 category will not apply to current FMLA leaves or sick time accruals.
  • Any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 related illnesses should be directed to Graham Health Center
  • A doctor's note is not required for COVID-19 related activities.

Full/Part-Time Faculty

Faculty will be compensated as normal through this semester. Faculty should contact their department chair and follow established sick time processes as necessary.

Leaves Reporting

How should an employee report leave time on the monthly leave report for COVID-19 situations?

Monthly Employees should use the COVID-19 leave code on their Leave Report or Time Sheet in SAIL and in the comments field enter one of the five reasons below to record time not worked due to the Coronavirus.

Supervisors of Full-Time Bi-weekly Employees should use the COVID-19 (SI9) code in UltraTime and in the message field enter one of the following 5 reasons for time not worked due to the Coronavirus.

Five Reasons for Time Not Worked

  1. Child care – Use for time away from work due to child care issues as a result of K-12 or daycare closure
  2. Elder care – Use for time away from work to care for parents or other older adult dependents with high risk factors for COVID-19
  3. COVID-19 Absence – Use for time away from work due to COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure
    • COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician for you or a member of your household
    • COVID-19 symptoms for you or a member of your household
    • If you or a member of your household had exposure to someone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis
  4. COVID-19 High Risk – Use for time away from work due to increased COVID-19 risk factors for yourself or a member of your household
  5. Other – Use for time away from work for reasons other than those listed above. Please provide additional details in the comment.
Benefits and Services
  • Blue Cross is providing updated information to its health care plan members regarding a wide array of COVID-19 related information and services online.
  • Priority Health is offering its health care plan members a wide array of COVID-19 related information and services online.
  • Benefits-eligible OU employees, their spouses or domestic partners, their dependent children and their parents or parents-in-law can take advantage of the Unum Employee Assistance Program, which provides access to licensed professional counselors and work/life specialists, web access to a broad array of informative and support resources, and 24/7 phone support services. Employees interested in learning more should visit or call (800) 854-1446.
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) holders can now seek reimbursement for over-the-counter drugs and medicines without a note of medical necessity or prescription from a physician. Expenses incurred after December 31, 2019, qualify. To learn more, visit the BASIC website.
  • The CARES Act allows employees to access retirement plan funds with favorable tax implications through December 31, 2020. Prior to making any decisions regarding retirement funds, the University strongly encourages employees to discuss their options with a tax preparer, financial advisor or representatives of TIAA and Fidelity.

Can students work remotely?

Student employees are not permitted to work remotely in response to the COVID-19 work arrangement.  Supervisors must complete the appropriate Remote Student Employment - Exception Request Form if you are seeking an exception.  All requests will be reviewed by the Vice President for Student Affairs & Diversity.  You will be notified if you are granted an exception and your student employee is permitted to work remotely.  Fall semester request forms are valid August 24, 2020 through December 27, 2020.  If your student employee needs VPN access to accomplish their job duties (e.g. Banner, Argos, Percussion, and shared drive access), the supervisor must complete the appropriate VPN request form:

As a student employee, am I eligible for sick pay related to COVID-19?

You may be eligible. Refer to H.R.6201. If you have any questions, please email

Will student employees who are out of work until this COVID-19 is controlled be able to apply for unemployment?

Yes, you need to apply with the local unemployment office, which determines who is eligible for unemployment benefits.

How many hours can student employees work during this time?

Student employees may work 40 hours per week through the end of the Winter 2020 semester. International students however can only work up to 20 hours per week.

Temporary and Casual

Will I be able to work remotely?

Yes, you will have the option to work remotely or make other work accommodations with approval of your supervisor.

Am I eligible for sick pay related to COVID-19?

You may be eligible. Refer to H.R.6201. If you have any questions, please email

If I am out of work due to COVID-19, will I be able to apply for unemployment?

Yes, you need to apply with the local unemployment office, which determines who is eligible for unemployment benefits.

New Hires

For New Employees

As a new faculty member, how do I complete my I-9?

Contact Emily Block at (248) 370-3486 or at to set up an appointment.

Are there any changes being made to faculty searches?

To limit on-site interactions, the use of video conferencing to conduct interviews should be used. The expectation is that the interview schedule will remain largely the same.

For Hiring Supervisors

Are staff positions still being processed?

Staff requisitions are still being processed and applicants are still being sent to the hiring supervisors as they apply. Continue to work with the Employment Services Office on your open positions.

What are applicants being told?

An announcement has been added to our job site indicating: "We appreciate your patience as we strive to minimize any effects of the COVID-19 emergency. While operations will continue, it is possible that delays may occur in recruitment and selection processes on campus."

How should new staff employees process their new hire paperwork?

Each new employee should work with the Employment Services Office to complete their paperwork. University Human Resources staff remain able to process paperwork and work with employees to set up accounts and emails. Confirmation that hiring processes are complete may be sent by email or phone, and new employees will receive information regarding next steps at this point.

How should new casual/temporary employees process their new hire paperwork?

New hires needing to submit paperwork should contact Employment Services at (248) 370-3480 or email to to arrange a drop off time.

Remote Work
General Information
  • Anything currently accessible off campus will not change, including Google Suite applications and email, SAIL, MySAIL, Moodle, E-Space etc.
  • Faculty teaching in Moodle or using Google Meet or WebEx do not need to use a VPN.
  • For work that needs to be completed utilizing VPN – such as access to shared drives, Banner Admin, ARGOS, or other systems currently not accessible off campus – users need to connect to While capacity has been expanded to 2,500 concurrent sessions, faculty and staff are advised to use VPN connections only when necessary.
  • Running MS Access, ODBC connections will have to be done through VPN and remotely connect to your computer at work.
  • Software – whether free or not – that has not been vetted through UTS and the Office of Legal Affairs cannot be used. For example, signing up for Zoom or other software requiring the user to initiate a work session is not approved.
  • OU Desktop computers can be taken home with supervisor approval if no laptops are available. Supervisors are responsible for tracking OU equipment.
  • Personal computers can be used with VPN to remote into an OU workstation if done in accordance with Remote Work guidelines.
  • Please see and discuss Policy #860 Data Management and Information Security and Policy #890 Use of University Information Technology Resources with your manager.
  • More information about remote work can be found at

What if a "remote worker" doesn't have a laptop/computer?

Work with your supervisor to determine your options. Desktop computers may be taken home or laptops may be available for loan.

I don't have internet at home, can I still stay home?

Yes, if you have a condition that falls under the communication sent out. OU's COVID-19 information page will be identifying options for WIFI access. under Current Classes and Instruction. Check with local providers to see what options are available for short term access.
Technical Information

Can I run MS Access ODBC database off campus through OU's VPN?

You can run MS Access ODBC database by connecting to OU's VPN then remote desktop connecting to your work computer. The UTS web section provides additional information.

Can I have my work phone forwarded to my home phone or cell phone?

No. OU's phone capacity cannot support off campus forwarding.

Can I have my voicemail sent to my email?

Yes, send an email to with your name, phone number and email you want voicemail forwarded to and it will be provisioned.

Can I hide my personal phone number when calling students?

Yes. Faculty and staff wanting to mask their personal phone when calling students can use the *67 feature.

Who can connect to the campus VPN?

By default, all Oakland University Faculty and Staff have a VPN account. See the UTS web section for additional details.

Can students connect to the campus VPN?

Access to the campus VPN is limited to Oakland University faculty and staff. Student employees will not be able to utilize the campus VPN in order to work remotely. Students who have been told to access course software via VPN may continue to do so. See the UTS web section for any additional details.

What systems do I need the campus VPN to access?

You should use the campus VPN to access Banner Admin Pages, Argos, university shared drives and Ultratime. You would also need to use the VPN to remotely connect to your work computer that is still located on the Oakland University network if you are running Microsoft Access with ODBC. See the UTS web section for additional details.

Do I need anything installed on my computer in order to connect to the campus VPN?

Yes, you do need to have the VPN client installed on your computer in order to access the campus VPN. See the UTS web section for additional details.

Can I install the VPN client on my computer?

Please work with your local DTS support personnel or one of the many University help desks in order to install the VPN client onto your computer. If these areas are unable to help, review these instructions. See the UTS web section for additional details.

Should I stay connected to the campus VPN all day?

We recommend that you should disconnect from the campus VPN when you are no longer accessing services that require the campus VPN. Supervisors are advised that VPN usage cannot be used as a tool to monitor employees. See the UTS web section for additional details.

What should I do if I am experiencing issues connecting to the campus VPN?

We recommend that you should contact your local DTS support personnel or one of the many University help desks first in order to resolve your issues. If they are unable to resolve your issue, please submit a ticket to UTS by emailing with details about your issue. See the UTS web section for additional details.

Presidential Message

Grizzlies Protect Grizzlies: Healthy Together. That simple, straight-forward phrase is at the heart of Oakland University’s plan for the fall semester. It’s a plan that’s based on trust, knowing what to expect, and having a clear understanding of what is needed from each of us. “Grizzlies Protect Grizzlies” is designed to maintain the highest level of safety standards, while allowing for agile responses if the COVID-19 risk level changes. The five-point plan includes: Limiting Person-to-Person Spread of the Virus, Lowering the Risk of Virus Outbreaks on Campus, Fostering a Culture of Compliance, Modifying the Learning Environment, and Redefining the Student Experience. Details on each one of the sections of the plan are on the OU website.

I would like to now give you an overview of how, through vigilance and teamwork, Grizzlies will protect Grizzlies. And I hope that you’ll find that our plan takes every precaution in maintaining a safe campus. Everything that we’re doing is to protect individuals, prevent transmission of COVID-19 to avoid outbreaks, and to safeguard our vulnerable populations. We’re determined to keep our campus safe and healthy so that students can maximize learning and have a wonderful and rewarding college experience.

First: Limiting the spread of the virus requires each one of us to be vigilant. We’re asking students, faculty and staff to abide by OU health and safety measures, including taking a daily health assessment to determine any infection-related symptoms. We are requiring that face coverings be worn, social distancing of at least six feet be honored, and regular hand washing. We’ll have face coverings available if someone has forgotten to bring one to campus, and will have hand sanitizers in every building.

Second: Lowering the risk of outbreaks requires a comprehensive and innovative approach to monitoring, assessing and testing. We are offering a state-of-the-art wearable device for monitoring and detecting abnormal temperature, heart and breathing rates. This cutting-edge device is called the BioButton. And we highly recommend that all students, faculty and staff wear the BioButton, which will be provided at no cost to you. Only the wearer can view their detailed health data. An algorithm will trigger an alert to notify the wearer and the OU Graham Health Center if the BioButton detects symptoms of a potential COVID infection. In addition, the BioButton can uniquely be used for contact tracing. We’re the only university in the country that is using this state of the art technology.

Third: We all must acknowledge that we must follow safety measures. A campus-wide education campaign will inform students, faculty and staff of the paramount importance of abiding by infection prevention practices. Student ambassadors will be an important part of this campus wide education campaign.

Fourth: Across the nation, work places, business and social environments have all been modified, and of course, it’s no different with universities like Oakland University. Classrooms will be sanitized regularly with antimicrobial treatments. And we’ll offer a mix of face-to-face, online and hybrid classes. Webcams have been added to support live-streamed lectures. In-person instruction will take place in our classrooms that have been designed to meet strict social distancing requirements. We’ve enhanced our help desk support so that our students will feel comfortable with online learning. Faculty and advising office hours are virtual, and the OU library is open and ready to assist our students.

And finally, fifth: We have taken measures to help make sure campus is safe, and whenever and wherever possible, we want to preserve the “college experience” that our students have come to expect. Occupancy in residence halls will be adjusted. Prior or during move-in, all residential students will be tested for COVID-19, and OU will help coordinate testing for students who need assistance with this. Also prior to moving onto campus, residents will be asked to identify the plan of action they will enact if they become ill with COVID-19. Identifying a permanent isolation location is an essential part of each plan. And on-campus rooms have been set aside for emergency or for short-term isolation or quarantine. Sanitization has been increased in all areas of the residence halls. And for 2020, visitors are allowed only in public lounges. Student life on campus will look different than in the past. Food-service delivery stations in residence halls and at the Oakland Center will be monitored to ensure social distancing and face coverings will be required. Public lounge furniture will be arranged to promote social distancing. And the number of participants at campus gatherings will be limited. And, whenever possible, meetings will be held virtually.

So I hope that you now have a good idea of what you can expect when you return to campus, and also what’s expected of each of you. In these challenging times, we all must remember that each one of us is a part of a community. And as members of the OU community, we each have an obligation to one another to work together so that all of us can be safe, and all of us can be healthy. We pledge to you that we will continue to remain vigilant and be prepared. Our success requires that every one of us pledge in return to follow all of our important guidelines. When everybody does their part then as a community we can come back to a great campus experience. Campus life is important, so let’s show that Grizzlies do protect Grizzlies and that way we will all stay healthy together.

The Engagement and Mobilization (TEAM)
Community Engagement & Mobilization Volunteers Needed

While now is the time to take precautionary safety steps and practice the preventive measures recommended by the CDC, it is also a time, for some of us, to think about what we can do to be helpful to those in need.

Being mindful that it is of paramount importance to maintain good health and social distancing, we have established The Engagement and Mobilization (TEAM).

Working in conjunction with state, county and local agencies, TEAM is supporting the delivering of service to those in need of healthcare, food and housing, and social support, among other immediate needs.

All necessary precautionary health measures will be taken to protect volunteers, and virtual opportunities are available.

If you are interested in volunteering please send an email to: You can also call the communication hotline (248) 556-3330. Operators are available 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Volunteers can visit The site coordinates a network of volunteers throughout Oakland County with a range of community organizations and agencies, all working to connect people with resources.

Current volunteer opportunities include:

  • Working at Pontiac High School to distribute food to school children.
  • Collaborating with OUWB SOM students to provide groceries to families who visit the Burstein Clinic.
  • Delivering food and supplies to people's doorsteps
  • Assembling boxes of food and supplies in warehouses
  • Volunteering at community food distribution sites/events
  • Providing social support through phone and/or video calls
  • Virtual tutoring of kids
  • Collecting and/or sorting books for kids
  • Staffing phone lines
  • Provide child care for “essential” workers
April 18, 2020

RCO Engineering is using the OC to assemble 1,000 face shields/wk to meet the increasing demand. Their company worked with Ford Motor Corp to re-tool their Roseville facility to temporarily manufacture face shields and they have orders for one million+ face shields from around the country. The face shields assembled in the OC will be donated to people requesting them and in the quantity they need (i. e., the smallest quantity that can be ordered from the plant is 50 and many people only need 1, 2 or 10). This will get them in the hands of people who need them immediately. Volunteers will assemble and anyone can request them through

Example of a completed face shield

Volunteers building face shields at Oakland University

April 10, 2020

Oakland University is doing a wide variety of things related to Coronavirus response in the community.

Once we realized that there was going to be a food emergency for people who rely on the emergency food system we were able to partner with Oakland University to utilize the Oakland Center on Oakland University’s campus.

Most folks already have little to no financial margin with no access to transportation. Pontiac is considered a food desert, we have very few grocery stores in Pontiac.

The willingness and the enthusiasm of different organizations to partner has been just tremendous. We’re all in this together so it makes sense for us all to just work together for a common cause.

We’ve got pallets of food that have been purchased or donated through Lighthouse. We’re trying to remain as flexible as we can and just help people by prioritizing the most dire needs first.

I’m really happy to be able to say that we’ve wholeheartedly embraced this challenge.

We’re helping more people than we’ve ever helped before.

By reducing the number of food trips a household has to take is directly reducing the threat of this disease.

We are literally saving lives by helping people to stay in their homes.

The community’s response has been absolutely beautiful to see and it’s just been unbelievable and heartwarming given the current situation.

I just say thank you to the larger community that is supporting this both as donors, as volunteers, it means a lot.

The fact of the matter is is that we all need to eat at the end of the day so we want to help protect people through every aspect of the emergency food system.

April 8, 2020
Food and supplies packaged and ready to go in the OC

Food and supplies packaged and ready to go in the OC

Another view of food and supplies packaged and ready to go in the OC

Food and supplies packaged and ready to go in the OC

April 6, 2020 2:00pm

Oakland University volunteers spend Monday afternoon packing up boxes

April 3, 2020

Supplies ready to be packed by Oakland University volunteers

March 27, 2020 2:30 PM
  • The Golden Grizzlies Pantry donated their individually-sized hand sanitizers to OUPD and Auburn Hills Police Department
  • The Student Program Board and Grizz Gang donated their Hoo-rag bandanas, intended to be giveaways to OU students, to the Auburn Hills Police Department
  • Pallets of boxes have arrived for us to stuff with community good

March 23, 2020 9:45 AM

A woman driving a car that is full of boxes of food

Lucarelli delivering boxes of food from OU

Three Grizz Pantry workers standing behind an SUV full of boxes of food with the tailgate open

OU (Grizz Pantry) and Chartwells contribute to food needs in community

Please watch for more postings.

Volunteers continue to pack the food court in the Oakland Center for food distribution.

Questions and Concerns

Campus community members with questions and concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak that are not answered within this web section are encouraged to submit them to the University’s response and planning teams using the button below.

Travel Information
  • The university is suspending all university-sponsored domestic and international air travel effective immediately until further notice.
  • A faculty or staff member who believes that they have an important business reason to travel by air can request a waiver through the appropriate vice president. But, please be advised that such waivers will be rare.
  • The university strongly advises to avoid personal travel to areas with documented cases of the COVID-19 virus. If you do travel, you might be required to be quarantined.
  • Faculty and staff with questions about reimbursement for canceled University sponsored travel should review the Travel Reimbursement FAQ document.
  • What are the protocols for faculty and staff who have recently traveled?
    Refer to the Graham Health Center web section or contact Nancy Jansen at (248) 370-2341 or at
Strongly discouraged destinations for personal travel

(Based on Centers for Disease Control and U.S. State Department recommendations)

The University strongly discourages all campus community members from proceeding with personal travel plans to any area affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Those planning to return to campus from these areas are advised that the University is implementing an honor system for reporting such travel to Graham Health Center (GHC). This includes a mandatory health screening at GHC prior to taking part in any other campus activity and engaging in voluntary quarantine and/or self-isolation as deemed necessary by a primary care physician or GHC.

Additional international travel resources

The University strongly recommends review of information and registering trips with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.