Saginaw Valley State University President Donald Bachand has announced plans for reopening the campus for the fall 2020 semester after being closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university is making changes to campus operations under its “Cardinal NEST Plan.” The NEST acronym stands for “New Expectations for a Safer Tomorrow.” University officials said the plan offers an organized response to the potential further disruptions caused by COVID-19 and defines how the campus community will manage new expectations that prioritze health, safety and education of students, faculty and staff.
“We are absolutely committed to providing quality instruction to our students and doing all that we can to ensure the safety of our entire campus community,” Bachand said. “We believe our small class sizes, our caring faculty and staff, and our modern housing and academic facilities provide us with opportunities to make the adjustments necessary for our ‘new normal,’ which includes bringing students back to campus safely this fall.”
The Cardinal NEST Plan includes:
SVSU officials said its plans are being developed in accordance with local, state and federal guidance.
“The primary emphasis of the SVSU experience has always been, and will always be, on student success,” Bachand said. “What our students find appealing about SVSU – our small class sizes, our open spacious campus, and our dedicated faculty and staff – place us in a unique position to accommodate social distancing and to have flexibility to adapt to changing demands for health and safety.”
SVSU officials said the university has a unique ability to accommodate social distancing. The average class size is 23 students and only 5% of class sections have more than 50 students. Many classes are broken into smaller labs and sections of fewer than 25 students.
“Our students want to be back on campus this fall. They are not only telling us that; they are showing us,” Bachand said. “Despite all the challenges students and families are facing, we continue to receive housing deposits at the same pace as last year. We have an obligation to o all that we can to serve them and to establish the proper procedures to allow them to safely return to campus.
“We are doing all of this to ensure students receive a quality education while also maintaining affordability. We already have the lowest tuition among Michigan’s public universities, and I have recommended to our governing board that we freeze tuition for the year ahead. We continue working to expand our commitment to supporting students through scholarships and financial aid, as well.”
Fall classes at SVSU begin Monday, Aug. 31. Students, parents, faculty and staff are encouraged to stay informed of the university’s plans by visiting www.svsu.edu.