ALLENDALE, Mich. — Grand Valley State University's 'stay in place' order for all students living on or off campus in Allendale will expire Thursday night. Officials have announced that a second order will go into effect starting at 12:00 a.m. on Oct. 2.
The university issued the original 'stay in place' order two weeks ago amid a spike in COVID-19 cases among students and staff. Just before the order, GVSU reported the biggest COVID-19 school outbreak in state. The second largest school-related outbreak at that time was at Central Michigan University.
The first stay at home order started on Sept. 17 and will end at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1.
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health said in a release Thursday that it has been conducting surveillance of COVID-19 cases at GVSU and seen improvements. The number of active cases on campus has steadily been going down over the last few weeks. According to GVSU's data dashboard, there are 122 active cases of COVID-19. The positivity rate over the last seven days has been under 1%.
"It is gratifying to see that the partnership with the county and the university community is resulting in a dramatic decline in new cases," GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said. "We understand the need to keep some restrictions in place to keep the number of cases decreasing, and we thank our students for following the direction from the public health officials."
Though there has been a decrease in average daily cases among GVSU students living on-campus and off-campus housing, most cases continue to be among these students and appear to be driven by congregate living and congregate gathering without preventive precautions. To continue a downward trend of positive COVID-19 cases, the OCDPH health officer is issuing a “Staying Safe” Order that will begin October 2, 2020, at 12:00 a.m. and continue through October 16 at 11:59 p.m.
"Our COVID-19 response team has worked closely with the GVSU administrative leaders in the decisions to take action based on the latest epidemiological findings," said OCDPH Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky. "We appreciate all their hard work and recognize the challenges that GVSU students and staff had to endure. Our partnership has made a difference in helping to slow the spread of disease, keeping our communities healthy and safe, and building the trust our community has in both our organizations."
The following preventive actions are to be taken for students living on or near the Allendale campus, including Georgetown and Allendale Townships:
- Up to four guests may visit student living units and residences, while observing strict preventive measures, including social distancing and wearing face coverings. Students living in on-campus housing also must abide by the Housing and Residence Life Guest Policy and Community Living Standards.
- For all indoor common areas on the Allendale Campus, students may not gather in groups greater than four people. This does not include classes or university organized academic activities.
- All outdoor gatherings should not exceed 10 people. All should have face coverings except when eating or drinking. This 10-person-limit does not include gatherings organized by the university.
- Face coverings continue to be required indoors and outdoors. Students who are alone outside may choose not to wear a face covering, but should be prepared to immediately use it when encountering another person.
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