SAULT STE. MARIE — Lake Superior State University is currently planning its route for the fall semester.


“Once a state of emergency was declared on March 13, President (Rodney) Hanley immediately convened a task force that initially met daily and continues to meet regularly to evaluate and assess the status of our operations and make plans for our continued operations utilizing the tools and protocols necessary to operate in a safe and secure manner,” said Fred Pierce, dean of admissions and marketing. “We have elected for summer courses to be online so that we can have both time and perspective on how we approach the fall.”


Lake State is currently taking all of the necessary steps to deliver instruction face-to-face this fall. The administration is adopting practices to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff in the delivery of campus operations. Pierce said the school has already adopted daily health screenings for campus employees and will move toward the future mindful of protocols like social distancing, sanitization, masking, testing and more.


He added, “We will be creating more spacing in class rooms and housing arrangements, utilizing some spaces on campus that give us more spacing flexibility and it may impact the way we move about campus, but it will be in a thoughtful and supportive manner that enables us to continue to create a sense of community. Also we will have the ability to migrate any individual student from face to face to online should they become symptomatic and need to stay in place so that we can protect the larger student body and campus. The emergency response team continues to evaluate the situation, make recommendations, and communicate to campus as the President and the leadership team prepare for safe, secure, and sustainable operations. The overarching principle driving all of our adjustments and preparations is the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and the Sault Ste. Marie Community. We have to be prepared to operate in a safe manner until a point when a vaccination is deployed.”


The university is in continuous dialogue with all of the city, county, state and federal entities not only as a partner for the local and regional community, but to ensure the health and safe functioning of Lake State continues to be an active and robust partner in protecting the Sault Ste. Marie economy and region.


Hanley addressed the university community in a statement on April 24.


“Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-59 today, Friday, April 24, 2020, and it is in immediate effect,” he said. “I encourage each of you to read the order in its entirety and do your part to adhere to it through its end date of Friday, May 15, 2020. This updated order continues many past practices and safeguards to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus including, but not limited to, maintaining 6 feet of social distance, prohibition of public gatherings of any size, and conducting work remotely as previously determined. Employees should therefore continue the same schedule and work practice as under the previous order unless notified otherwise by their supervisor. I want to thank all of you for your ongoing cooperation with the demands of the executive orders as they are issued. This is a difficult time in our lives and in our University’s history; it calls on each of us to be at our best. We are in this together, and so together we will get through it.”


For more information on Lake State and its response to the coronavirus, visit lssu.edu/coronavirus/.