Emergency Stay-Home Order Issued For Grand Valley State After COVID Spike

The school has about 25,000 students.

WWJ News
September 16, 2020 - 1:43 pm

(WWJ) The Ottawa County Health Department has issued a stay-at-home order for Grand Valley State University students on the Allendale campus after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Greg Sanial, who heads the university's virus action team, outlined the situation on a zoom call: Students in town should stay in their on-campus housing and cannot return to their home address unless it's for an emergency. The order is per the recommendation of public health officials.

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The school has about 25,000 students, who began the fall semester Aug. 31. They're offering a mix of in-person and virtual classes.

There have been more than 600 coronavirus cases tied to Grand Valley since Aug. 23, when many students returned to campus, according to the health department. 

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“Control of the COVID-19 pandemic is necessary to protect the health of Ottawa County communities,” said Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County public health officer, in a release.

“Based on epidemiological data and the expertise of public health officials, the increased numbers of GVSU cases may adversely impact other communities, services and businesses in the county. This could include the Ottawa County Court system and K-12 education based on the state’s mandated thresholds for in-person interactions.”

The release adds that except for the following exceptions, all students are to stay in their on-campus residence. Gatherings or group activities are prohibited under the order. 

Students can:

  • Attend in-person classes, including labs and physical education classes with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Leave their room or residence to pick up food and other basic needs, go to medical appointments, pick up medication, attend religious practice activities or to obtain COVID-19 testing with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Attend work with the approval of the employer if the work is essential and cannot be done remotely with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Have clinical rotations, student teaching or other off-campus experiential learning assignments to continue only with approval from the college dean and disclosure to the organization of placement and renewed approval by that organization with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Leave their room or residence for purposes of physical activity in groups of no more than two with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Although strongly discouraged by health officials during the term of this order, if GVSU specifically authorizes students who are associated with intercollegiate varsity sports, they may attend practices provided a currently licensed physician is present during the entire process, actively supervises the team’s COVID-19 mitigation activities during the practice and has the final authority to suspend the practice if he or she believes COVID-19 mitigation practices require that result.