COVID-19 Update: Need to Know Newsletter, Issue 5

   COVID-19 Updates | Posted on April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020 | Issue 5

Good afternoon, Andrews University friends,

Welcome to the first days of a test week that is unlike any other test week any of us can remember. The week ahead includes a full weekend of activities where we can worship together and honor and confer degrees for our spring graduates. As has been true of this semester now drawing to a close, there can and will be Facebook Live and Zoom helping to accomplish all of that.

Here is a reminder and update of how our May celebrations will work, along with other key updates.

  1. The Weekend of May 1–3: Virtual Commencements & A Celebration of Graduates

Plans are being finalized for this weekend’s celebrations, including Sunday’s commencement services for each of our colleges and the Seminary when degrees will be formally conferred.

The busy weekend’s events include a dozen online celebrations by departments (that will continue into the week after commencement) as well as special worship services by Pioneer Memorial Church, New Life Fellowship and One Place Fellowship on Friday evening and Sabbath.

On Friday morning, there will also be an awards and recognition program (often scheduled during the last Thursday Chapel service for the semester).

You can find full details for the virtual services planned for the weekend here; other events may be added to the schedule as we continue to prepare for this weekend.

Once again, we have a special invitation for our spring Class of 2020:

Even as we confer degrees and celebrate together online this May, we want to make sure you know that our invitation stands to invite each one of our spring Class of 2020 graduates back for a face-to-face graduation celebration as soon as that becomes possible.

  1. New “Stay Home, Stay Safe.” Executive Order in place through May 15

The State of Michigan’s most recent “Stay Home, Stay Safe.” Executive Order was announced and went into effect last Friday and remains in effect through May 15.

While many of the previous guidelines remain in place, the new Executive Order also requires individuals to wear a cloth face mask when in enclosed public spaces (like grocery stores). Additionally, starting this week, employers are required to provide cloth masks to their essential employees. Andrews University essential employees are encouraged to contact Campus Safety by Tuesday, April 28.

Thank you for continuing to fully honor these restrictions. It gives each one of us a personal responsibility and opportunity to slow the spread of COVID-19, including in our own Andrews University community.

  1. Spend Your Summer offerings go online

Full details on our Spend Your Summer programs were announced late last week and became the main feature on our Andrews University website front page.

All of this summer’s academic activities and coursework will be offered online; see full details here.

In addition to a full summer (or three separate and shorter sessions) of online courses, May Express will offer up to four credits of online courses at $190 per credit hour. A separate Seize the Summer program from the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities will offer up to nine credits of online general education courses, also at $190 per credit hour (up to seven credits can be taken from Andrews University online general education courses).

A summer science express, a global online offering of intensive English as a Second Language courses, and even a chance for prospective students to visit campus virtually are part of the overall Andrews University Spend Your Summer program.

  1. Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities publishes COVID-19 statement in the Adventist Review

The Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities (a collaboration between the 13 Adventist colleges and universities in the North American Division) released a statement last week regarding how Andrews University, and our sister higher education institutions, are responding to the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and Canada.

You can find the complete statement online, including these thoughts that affirm a commitment by Adventist universities like Andrews to remain rooted in mission, even as we creatively respond with new educational approaches in the wake of this disease:

“Seventh-day Adventist higher education prepares graduates to serve and lead in the 21st century by investing in the development of the whole person. Through rigorous academic study in healthy, faith-affirming environments, students develop their problem solving, creativity, judgment, character, ethical reasoning, and other skills that distinguish them in their careers and prepare them to be contributing members of the church and society. Such an education seeks to restore the image of God in humanity, foster wholeness and healing for people and planet, express the joy of Sabbath rest and hope of Christ’s return, and produce living testimonies to the love of God.

“Although the current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our campuses, temporarily transitioning us to remote education, our mission remains the same. Driven by passionate care for our students, our faculty and staff are innovating to sustain a quality, whole-person education for the duration of this crisis. Such an approach to education is proving to be more relevant than ever, helping our students understand, navigate, and contribute to the global response to this pandemic.”

  1. Our friends in Bon Appétit/Dining Services continue to serve a hungry community.

As we’ve reported in earlier issues of Need To Know, Chef Linda and our campus Bon Appétit/Dining Services team have creatively responded to the realities and challenges of COVID-19 on our Andrews community. That’s included creating care boxes of food for University apartment families (an initiative that continues) and their new “A.U. Eats” meal delivery service to individuals within five miles of campus (including staff, faculty and students with an active Cafe account). You may not be surprised to learn that their Sam’s Chicken lunch last Thursday inspired orders for more than 180 home delivered meals!

Chef Linda’s team is also trying to find new and creative ways to help care for our student families in the University apartments, including many families who have no source of income with employment furloughs in place across the U.S. and here in our community.

They’ve developed a new program where they can offer individuals the opportunity to sponsor a $20 box of fresh fruit (with strawberries, pineapple, grapes, oranges, lemons and more) and/or a $30 box of fresh vegetables (celery, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, potatoes and more) for these families in need. If you’re interested in joining in those efforts, please send an email to Chef Linda and she’ll share further details about how you can help with this outreach.

  1. Andrews Speaks podcasts continue to explore a world of change.

The final episodes of a special season of Andrews Speaks: Thriving Together Remotely are now being released by Jeff Boyd, research specialist in the Office of Research & Creative Scholarship.

The series includes a full video recording of last week’s timely 8th Annual Summit on Social Consciousness: “COVID-19: Understanding and Breaking the Socio-Economic and Racial Disparities.”

You’ll also find a new episode featuring Jay Brand, professor of leadership and higher education, who talks about how “play” fosters creativity and innovation.

The series, found through the “Andrews Speaks” banner on the page, is available in both audio and video forms.

  1. Caring for those affected by COVID-19 in our extended Andrews community.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our world, country, state and community, we will continue to hear about and know individuals in our community or connected closely to our community who have tested positive for COVID-19. Here in Berrien County, COVID-19 testing ability through Spectrum Health Lakeland is now expanding significantly and will offer us additional information on the impact of this disease here in Berrien County.

Last week, we shared some specific details on the journey of our friend Dr. Lowell Hamel who has been in an Intensive Care Unit for treatment of his COVID-19 infection. Following the ongoing use of convalescent plasma transfusion therapy to help Dr. Lowell Hamel battle this disease, we were excited to hear late last week that his condition was significantly improving and he had been successfully weaned from his ventilator (you can read more about his recovery process and convalescent plasma transfusion therapy here).

As we’ve shared before, please let Andrews know if you are part of our community and you have tested positive for COVID-19. We want to be there for you and your peers/colleagues.


Our Favorite Comment About Answered Prayers

“Good news in this difficult world.
Thank you God for answering our prayers...”

Instagram post on the news that our good friend Dr. Lowell Hamel
(also a local physician to many of our campus employees), who had been
hospitalized and on a ventilator as a result of a COVID-19 infection,
had responded positively to convalescent plasma therapy and,
as a result, had been weaned off the ventilator
(and able to talk to his family by video chat)


Again, it's amazing to realize that we are now in the last week of this remarkable and unexpected spring semester and are preparing for a truly global celebration of our graduates, reaching out to students, their families and friends, wherever they live.

We invite your prayers for those graduating students (who we will invite back for the joy of a graduation celebration in person as soon as we can) and for all of our students who are completing their spring semester studies right now.

You are in our prayers, whether you are a student, parent, teacher or staff. We are grateful for your commitment to this complicated journey, and we welcome and pray for your involvement as we move forward in this changing world.

There’s never been a more urgent, relevant and critical time for Andrews University to embrace the specific goal and mission of World Changers Made Here.

As is always true for our journeys as children of God, we are called to these specific times and we rely on God’s power and wisdom as we move forward.

May God bless this final week of studies, this weekend’s celebration of graduates, and all that awaits us as we seek to understand and fulfill His will.

Andrea Luxton

Christon Arthur