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Mar. 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]

Mar. 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.

Mar. 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.

Mar. 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.

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.

If your question is not answered in one of the sections below, please call the OU Crisis Communication Hotline (248) 556-3330. Someone will be available between Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. to help answer your questions.

Current Coursework
  • Remote learning will continue through the end of the semester (April 25).
  • Students in labs and clinical programs will be contacted directly by their department regarding arrangements for these classes.
  • Students who lack computers to complete coursework remotely should contact the Student Technology Center for information regarding available resources.
  • The following suggestions are offered to students with limited or no internet connection off campus:
    • Check with your internet provider to ensure that their service is working.
    • Check local internet providers for free internet service.
    • For all classwork, use A Microsoft Word or Excel document instead of working on an online document. Save the work and then copy and paste the work into the Moodle or whatever online teaching tool the professor is using.
    • Let your professor know that you have internet access issues and make alternative arrangements to submit assignments.

Potential Internet Connectivity options

    • Review local internet providers for short term options.
    • FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
    • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.
    • Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months.
    • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families.
    • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
    • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
    • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge
  • Students inquiring as to whether course registration fees will be reimbursed following official withdrawals are advised that January 17 was the last day to withdrawal from winter 2020 courses and receive tuition refunds. No tuition refunds will be provided for withdrawals after that date.
  • International students concerned about completing classes at a location in a time zone that doesn’t allow for synchronous class participation should contact their professor(s) faculty to discuss the situation and to find a solution. For additional support, faculty and students should email to
  • Students who are sick should, as always, focus first taking care of themselves and getting well. As they are able, they should communicate with professors about making up work later and/or getting an incomplete grade until course work can be completed.
  • Students who are called to active duty must take care of several academic, financial and record matters prior to their departure from campus. The Veteran Support Services provides detailed information on how to navigate such a situation. Students can also contact the school certifying official at (248) 370-4010 or
  • The University requirement to distribute end-of-semester Student Course Feedback Surveys will be suspended for Winter 2020 for all courses and all faculty. Some faculty members may elect to distribute a feedback survey but students should not be required to submit responses until after course grades have been submitted.
  • The University will not host in-person course exams through June 30. All students are advised to await information from instructors regarding final exams and other learning assessment measures.
  • The University has created a temporary modification to the grading policy for Winter 2020. Undergraduate students will be permitted to convert any undergraduate courses to satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading for this semester. The S/U grades will not be used in grade point calculations. Information about the new grading policy can be found online.

Five tips for transitioning to online learning

  • Email is more important than ever
    • Check your email three times a day (turning on email notifications on your phone can help).
    • Organize emails from each class into separate folders.
  • Routine is key
    • Use Google calendar or planner to create a weekly schedule. Include time for reading, reviewing course materials, working on assignments and studying for quizzes and tests.
    • Create a “study space” free from clutter and distractions.
    • Be sure to add breaks!
    • Set a notification so you don’t forget to log in at online meeting times.
  • Academic support is always available
    • Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction are being delivered online
    • View the tutoring schedule at
    • Schedule a Writing Center appointment at
    • Check for updates from your SI leader
    • Stay in touch with your professor via email and moodle or by “e-visiting” his/her office hours regularly.
    • Reach out to your academic adviser for support and/or to schedule a meeting with an academic coach to discuss strategies for online learning
  • The delivery is different, but the course is the same
    • Staying on top of course material is even more important when you are not able to be physically present with your professor and classmates at regularly scheduled times.
    • Study with the same effort for online classes as you would with in person.
    • Quizzes, tests and assignments will be just as challenging and the time provided could be more limited.
    • Rules related to academic integrity still apply in the online environment.
  • Practice patience and self-care
    • Be patient with your professors and with yourself. This is a big adjustment for everyone.
    • Find time to take breaks, get outside and socialize with others virtually through phone calls, texts, FaceTime, etc.
Student Services
  • On-campus residence halls and apartments will be closed to all students except those who have approved waivers effective at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Resident students with questions should contact
  • We will continue to provide carry-out ONLY dining services.
  • The Oakland Center and all buildings on campus are currently closed for daily use. All services provided to students and faculty are currently being offered in a virtual mode.
  • We strongly encourage the practice of social distancing, self-monitoring for COVID-19, and taking preventive health measures as promoted by the CDC.
  • Counseling services will continue to be provided at the OU Counseling Center, which has been moved temporarily to 2050 Human Health Building. Additional information on resources and available services, including information for students experiencing elevated anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic, is provided at
  • Health and medical services are available through the Graham Health Center. Due to new OSHA temporary enforcement guidance, GHC can not see campus community members with a fever and/or any respiratory complaints until further notice. Those with such symptoms should seek testing at regional testing sites.
  • Undergraduate Admissions, Student Financial Services and the Office of the Registrar are all available to assist you remotely through April 13. Visit their websites to set up telecounseling appointments. All-face-to-face appointments, campus tours and enrollment management events have been suspended.
  • Students with disabilities who cannot attend virtual classes are strongly encouraged not to drop classes. Students with questions and concerns should contact their professor(s) and the Office of Disability Support Services at:
    Phone: (248) 370-3266
    Fax: (248) 370-4327
  • The International Students and Scholars (ISSO) and Global Engagement Office (GEO) continues to support international students and scholars with an array of remotely delivered services. Additional information is available on the ISSO web section.
Future Coursework

Registration by class standing and earned credit hours began Monday, March 23, for summer 2020, fall 2020 and winter 2021 classes. The Office of the Registrar is available to assist with registration needs via phone, email, instant messaging and web conference. Academic advisers are available to help with planning your semester schedule. Contact your assigned academic adviser by email to schedule an advising appointment.

All summer courses through June 30 and possibly beyond will be held remotely. This change will not be reflected in SAIL. More information will be coming as the summer planning is being developed.

Summer Study Abroad

  • At this point, all summer study abroad programs are under review, and are not canceled.
  • If a decision is made to cancel, students will be reimbursed by the University for any expenses that are not reimbursable from other sources.
  • Students should check with their academic advisor about alternative coursework for the summer.
Future Students
  • At this time, in an effort to support proper social distancing and in accordance with the Governor's order, Oakland University Undergraduate Admissions has suspended all campus tours, events and in-person services through April 13.
  • Admissions advisers remain available to assist future students with enrollment planning and to answer any questions by phone or online. Those interested can contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at (800) OAK-UNIV, (248) 370-3360 or
  • Virtual advising appointments can be made Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Faculty seeking assistance in delivering course content remotely should visit the E-LIS and CETL web sections.
  • Faculty are advised that it is not permissible to end courses early and assign a grade. Classes are expected to continue through the end of the semester.
  • For situations in which students do not have laptop computers on which to complete course work, the Student Technology Center may be able to loan laptops. Students in need should visit the center's web section or e-mail to
  • For situations in which students have limited internet access, the OU coronavirus web section provides information about a number of access options.
  • Faculty preparing final exams are asked to keep the following in mind:
    • In-person course exams are not being held through June 30
    • Students are experiencing a very different learning experience that they did at the beginning of the semester
    • It is recommended that faculty avoid developing an exam that depends on ProctorU. Use of this resource must be approved by a faculty member’s dean and the Provost
    • It is completely acceptable to make final examinations optional this semester and replace the exam with another activity or virtual meeting. Please see the following documents for more information:
  • Although the University is offering students a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option for the winter 2020 term, all faculty will submit A-F course grades to the Registrar's Office following normal process.

    Students will be permitted to convert any of their courses to S/U grading or keep letter grades they earned in the class. S/U grades will not be used in calculating the GPA.

    If asked, faculty are advised to encourage students with questions to seek assistance from their academic advisors.
  • Faculty sabbaticals remain allowed, but approved sabbatical applications involving travel must be conducted in accordance with University and federal travel guidelines. Faculty unable to or not wishing to travel for a sabbatical should submit an alternative plan to their dean at least 60 days prior to the commencement of the sabbatical. The Dean may approve the plan for fall 2020 or a deferral for up to one year with appropriate credit towards the next sabbatical.
  • For additional information on how to navigate academic and work situations during this unusual situation, faculty should contact their department chair dean's office or the Office of the Provost at

How do I know what is going on at Oakland University?

The OU Coronavirus website ( ) has the most up-to-date information. The tabs on the page have been created to address the OU constituents'questions. If you have a question that is not answered in one of the tabs, please send an e-mail to

How do we plan for the future? Should my child start planning which courses to take in the future?

We encourage students to look toward the future and not to pause their education. Full-year registration has begun. You and your student can learn more at

  • Each student has an assigned advisor.
  • Advisors are meeting with students in a virtual setting to guide them with choosing classes.

My child has challenges with remote learning. What does OU do to help students with remote/online learning?

OU faculty and staff are aware of remote learning challenges and are taking extra steps to support student learning.

  • If your student experiences challenges, please have him or her contact their instructor directly to discuss the challenges and to identify solutions.
  • OU has developed a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading policy for this semester. Here is how it works:
    • Faculty will submit their course grades (A-F) to the registrar's office at the end of the semester, following normal processes.
    • Students will be permitted to convert any of their courses to satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading for this semester. They also have the option to keep the grade earned in the class. Advisors will work with the students to help them decide on the best option.

My child has challenges to complete or submit homework due to intermittent internet access. How does OU help with that?

OU is providing a list of internet providers that offer free services during this crisis. They are listed under the "Current Classes and Instruction" tab, along with tips for your student on how to handle this challenge.

  • All events sponsored by the University, student organizations and external organizations have been canceled through May 25.
  • For purposes of this suspension, gatherings of 50 or more attendees will be postponed or canceled.
  • In-person meetings have been suspended through April 13, 2020.
  • Where possible, organizers are encouraged to explore ways of conducting events via live streaming or other technologies.
  • The University is planning to host 2020 commencement ceremonies on August 27-29. Additional information is available at
  • A faculty or staff member who believes that they have an essential business reason to hold an event can request a waiver through the appropriate vice president, but such waivers will be rare.
  • All Music, Theatre and Dance performances and events during the winter 2020 term are suspended and/or postponed. Those who have already purchased event tickets have three options:
    • Exchange your ticket: Tickets can be exchanged for admission to an event during our 2020-21 performance season.
    • Receive a refund: if you purchased your ticket online, you will be contacted by our box office manager. If you purchased your ticket in person, please contact the box office at, (248) 370-4578 or visit during regular business hours (Tuesday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.)
    • Do nothing: Your ticket will gratefully be accepted as a donation to the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

    Main website
    Performances and events page
    Community Music (regarding lessons)
    Admission and Auditions (regarding upcoming audition dates)
    MaTilDa Awards

  • Individuals with questions about outside organization events on campus and activities managed by organizations other than Oakland University should contact the event host organization for more information.
State of Michigan Update
Campus Facilities and Services

What happens if the University declares an emergency closing?

See the University Closing Policy 482 which includes identification of essential personnel.

In response to a gubernatorial executive order the following University facilities are closed or providing modified services through April 13, 2020. This does not prohibit essential employees entering the listed facilities while working in their professional capacity.

Closed academic facilities

  • Kresge Library and OUWB Library
    • In response to a state executive order, OU Libraries will remain closed to in-person visits through April 13. Campus community members are encouraged to use library resources online.
    • Electronic materials, such as eBooks and journal articles can be accessed through Library OneSearch and the library databases.
    • Research help services area available via phone, chat, and email. Additional information is available at
    • OU Libraries are suspending late fees and will automatically renew OU materials that have already been checked out.
  • The Educational Resource Laboratory at Pawley Hall will be closed to patrons until further notice.

Closed recreation and entertainment venues

  • Meadow Brook Hall
  • Meadow Brook Theatre
  • Oakland University Art Gallery
  • Meadow Brook Amphitheatre
  • Varner Hall performance spaces
  • The Habitat
  • Recreation Center, including fitness court and residence halls gyms
  • Grizz Dome
  • O’Rena
  • Golf and Learning Center indoor simulator

Other Facilities & Services

  • Students leaving University Housing for the remainder of the academic year are asked to cancel their housing contract by submitting a Contract Release Form.

    Due to the nature of current circumstances at the University, the cancelation charge will be waived for students who choose to cancel their contract at this time. Any remaining housing charges for the remainder of the academic year will be removed from the student's account accordingly once their key has been returned, and their contract release has been processed.

    University Housing recommends that students contact Student Financial Services prior to determine any negative impact the need to vacate campus housing will have on financial aid, grant or scholarship funding. Student Financial Services can be reached at, or by calling (248) 370-2550.
  • Campus Cleaning cleans and disinfects all high-touch areas on campus on a daily basis. For additional information on cleaning services being performed as part of the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Facilities Management web section.
  • The Oakland Center is currently closed for daily use. Many services typically provided in the building are currently being offered online.
  • The Oakland University Food Pantry To protect the health and safety of our community and in response to the executive order issued by the Governor to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective March 25, 2020, the food pantry is not operating due to the closure of the Oakland Center.  If there is a food insecurity emergency, please email for assistance or visit
  • There have been no changes in overnight parking rules on campus and enforcement will continue as normal. For parking information, visit the University's online campus map.
  • Faculty and staff who are not receiving campus mail due to office closure should contact Mail Services to make arrangements for mail delivery or pickup.
  • Campus community members engaged in research initiatives are advised to visit the Research Office web section for updated guidance on conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
University Employment

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

Do I need to report to work?

All non-essential employees are not to report to campus effective with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order on Monday, March 23. Employees should contact their supervisors regarding essential personnel status and remote work opportunities.

All employees experiencing coronavirus (COVID-19) related health issues, needing to manage childcare issues and/or elder care issues will have the option to work remotely or make other work accommodations with approval of their supervisor. This provision is being offered until school, daycare and/or elder care services resume.

Due to circumstances tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees will not be required to fill out Flexible Work Arrangement request forms. Further instructions on how to fill out SAIL leave reports or Ultratime time sheets appear below.

The following information addresses the University's intentions on any leave related to COVID-19 circumstances. It is expected that the following provisions will have no impact on time-off accruals. Employees with questions or concerns regarding this information should contact University Human Resources at

Effective immediately a COVID-19 category will be added to SAIL for employees to document COVID-19 related absences or remote work.

Modifications to these guidelines will occur on an ongoing basis as needed. The University will update employees as needed.

Work Time Management

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.
  • Under the “Note” field of leave reports and time sheets, employees will indicate what category they fall under:
    • Exposure to someone with COVID-19
    • Symptoms aligned with COVID-19
    • Individuals with a compromised immune system and/or older adults – CDC Guidelines
    • Child care provisions/restrictions
    • Other, with explanation

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.
  • Under the “Note/Description” field, supervisors will indicate what category they fall under:
    • Exposure to someone with COVID-19
    • Symptoms aligned with COVID-19
    • Individuals with a compromised immune system and/or older adults – CDC guidelines
    • Child care provisions/restrictions
    • Other, with explanation

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.

Temporary and Casual Employees

Temporary and casual employees will have the option to work remotely or make other work accommodations with approval of their supervisors.

Work-Study and Student Employees

Unless approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs, students will not be allowed to work remotely. Please fill out this form to request an exception.

UTS Remote Work Recommendations
  • 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.
  • Remote Work:
Leave Reporting

How should an employee report 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 following 5 reasons to record time not worked due to the Coronavirus.

  1. Child care
    • Use for time away from work due to child care issues as a result of K-12 or daycare closures
  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.

If you are working remotely due to the Coronavirus, it will be recorded as regular work time. If this situation applies please note it in the comments field.

How should a supervisor report time on the bi-weekly timesheet in Ultratime for COVID-19 situations?

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.

  1. Child care
    • Use for time away from work due to child care issues as a result of K-12 or daycare closures.
  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.

If you are working remotely due to the Coronavirus, it will be recorded as regular work time. If this situation applies please note it in the message field.

If I am working remotely due to the COVID-19 situation do I record my time differently?

Report remote work time as regular time worked and include a note in the comments field indicating Remote Work.

I am pregnant. What if my doctor puts me off work because she doesn't want me to be around anyone? Do I need to use my sick time?

You will claim COVID19 on your monthly leave report. Remote work where available. However, once your doctor has medically determined you need to be off work due to the pregnancy you would follow the existing sick time policies and complete FMLA documents.

During the COVID-19 situation, can my supervisor cancel my leave request that has already been approved?

Each situation will need to be reviewed by your supervisor. It would be the intent to allow for your leave request but due to the circumstances difficult decisions are going to need to be made at times.

Employee Recruiting

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.

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 Ofice 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. In-person orientations are suspended until further notice to follow social distancing guidelines tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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?

Employment Services has cancelled all casual/temporary employee orientations until further notice. 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

Can employees work remotely?

Remote work is possible for employees based on supervisor approval. It's important to have the presence of necessary staff during regular working hours.

Can students work remotely?

Students may be able to work remotely if their supervisor has gained approval from the Vice President of Student Affairs. A supervisor who deems that remote work is feasible must be able to provide adequate supervision for the student. Students are not allowed to connect into OU's Faculty and Staff VPN.

What if my job duties can only be performed on campus, if I get sent home will I still get paid?

This will be determined on a case by case basis and will require your supervisor's approval. If you are sent home you need to be on call and be prepared to come back to campus if necessary. It's important to have the presence of necessary staff during regular working hours.

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 Issues

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.

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.

Health Status

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.

If I am an employee who is not considered an "Individual with a compromised immune system and/or older adult" but live with and take care of a parent/spouse with health issues, will the University allow me to stay at home and not charge my sick accrual?

You will need to get approval from your supervisor. If approved, and you are at home and not able to work remotely you would record those hours under COVID19. The CDC is now referencing employees 65 years and older and particularly those with underlying conditions as high risk. Please refer to CDC information referencing older employees.

If someone in your office (CT/AP/Casual) is currently immunocompromised or has respiratory issues, can they work remotely?

Employees will need to follow their doctors’ advice as to whether they should work, even remotely. If you can and your supervisor approves remote work you will only record sick pay for COVID-19 related issues on your timesheet. You do not need to report your hours that you worked remotely.

What are some examples of underlying health issues?

Refer to CDC Information regarding underlying issues and more.

I am hearing that older employees may be vulnerable to COVID-19 is it true?

Refer to CDC information referencing employees 65 years and older especially those with underlying health conditions.

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:

Student Employment

As a casual/temporary/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 casuals/temporary/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.

Presidential Message

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.

The Engagement and Mobilization (TEAM)

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.

Oakland University volunteers worked to pack up supplies for people in need

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

Mar. 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

Mar. 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.

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.

COVID-19 Information and Support
General information on the COVID-19 coronavirus

For general information on the COVID-19 coronavirus, Oakland University recommends the following resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • How does COVID-19 spread?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What are the prevention measures?
  • What is the treatment?
  • Is there testing?

World Health Organization

  • Additional questions and answers on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Situation Updates

Local, Regional & State Sources

Support Resources
Illness Prevention Measures
General Prevention Recommendations
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or a bent elbow. Immediately throw tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Keep all age recommended vaccines up to date including an annual flu vaccine
  • Follow the CDC's specific guidance for travelers.
Recommendations for Individuals with Elevated Health Risks
  • OU employees are urged to follow recommendations outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Oakland County Health Division and Beaumont Health.
  • Older employees with underlying medical issues (chronic bronchitis, emphysema, hypertension, heart failure, diabetes or weak immunity) should take extra caution and avoid public gatherings, if possible.
  • This group is among those who have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, according to a range of health organizations.
  • Faculty and staff in this group should consult with their supervisors or department chairs regarding available prevention arrangements.
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.