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Finlandia University Coronavirus Response President’s Update March 12, 2020

March 12, 2020

Please see the message from President Philip Johnson below regarding recent updates on Finlandia’s Coronavirus Action Plan.

Finlandia Community,

The spread of COVID-19 is a serious concern for all of us. Earlier communication with the campus has provided information for how we, together, can do our part to limit its impact on our campus and in our community. Even though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continue to advise that the probability of serious illness remains low for most people, we need to continue responding in ways that best ensure safety and wellness for our campus and community.   

Two cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed in two counties in Lower Michigan.  In addition, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has, as of 5pm yesterday, March 11, declared a state of emergency and provided recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus.  

Finlandia’s Emergency Management Committee together with other campus leadership continue to monitor the situation and is in communication with local, state, and national public health offices, the Governor’s Office, and Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities (MICU).

In an effort to protect the health and safety of our community from the potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Finlandia is instituting the following actions. However, because of the fluid nature of the situation, it may be necessary to modify these actions at any point. Therefore students, faculty, staff, and administrators are strongly urged to stay informed of future updates and possible changes. Information will be updated through campus email and finlandia.edu/coronavirus. It is important for faculty, staff and students to continue to monitor these sites for continued communication. We will continue to communicate updates and changes as the situation evolves.

Residence Hall

Because the health and safety of our residential students remains a priority: 

Effective today, March 12th, we will begin implementing the closing of Finlandia Hall. All students will be required to vacate the residence hall by no later than Tuesday, March 17th at 5pm. All students are asked to complete this form to communicate their date of departure.  Prior to leaving campus, residents should communicate with Residence Life staff and follow published check-out procedures.

As Finlandia University works to ensure the health and safety of its students by suspending face to face classes, we recognize that many students may face hardship returning home or continuing studies at home, we ask that all Finlandia Hall residents complete this form to help us best know your needs and how we can support you.  

Immediately, there will be no guest visitation permitted in the residence hall. 

Dining services will continue service, however without self-service bars and an emphasis on to-go dining, through lunch on Tuesday, March 17th.

Class Instruction – Transitioning to Online

Face-to-face classes, labs, and clinicals are cancelled Friday, March 13th through Tuesday March 17th. Faculty will transition their courses from face-to-face to Canvas, our online learning platform, during this time period. 

Classes will resume as fully online through Canvas on Wednesday, March 18th and continue through the remainder of the semester. Faculty understand that moving their courses to the online platform can be an unsettling disruption for students. In response, the University is building support tools and processes designed to encourage continuous learning and minimize disruption. Faculty and advisors will continue to work during this transitional time and are available to students through established office hours and electronic communications. 

The delivery of science labs, studios, and clinicals will be determined within the respective department and communicated through their respective faculty or deans. 

Students enrolled in a second half wellness course are asked to speak to their advisors regarding alternatives. 

Graduating seniors are asked to continue working with their faculty advisors as they continue working towards a successful completion of their final year. Deans will be working with faculty to ensure minimal disruption occurs during this final leg of their academic journey. 

Personal Care and Notification

All higher risk faculty and staff are encouraged to seek potential arrangements to work remotely.  This request can be made to the Office of Human Resources at (906) 487-7339 or alyson.delandsheer@finlandia.edu.  

Any student who has been exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or may be exhibiting symptoms of fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing is asked to report to Dean of Students Erin Barnett at (906) 487-7231 or  erin.barnett@finlandia.edu.

Anyone who is ill is asked to stay home.    

Offices and Administration

Administrative and other offices remain open and operations continue. 

Academic support and tutoring will be available via video and teleconferencing.

Students awarded Federal Work Study will receive further guidance in a separate email. 


Effective immediately, campus events are limited to 25 persons or fewer unless otherwise authorized.  

The Honor’s Banquet scheduled for April 17th will not be held as currently configured. Alternatives are being investigated.

Decisions regarding commencement activities will be made by April 3rd. 


All University-related international travel is suspended until further notice.

All University-related domestic air travel is approved on a case-by-case basis.  Guidelines on approval will be forthcoming. 

Any domestic air travel is to be reported via this survey.

The 2020 spring sports season will be canceled.

Mental Health Concerns

It is not uncommon for college students to experience anxiety, and with significant change and health concerns, there may be  an increase in existing mental health condition symptoms or a triggering of new ones. Finlandia students are eligible for free counseling via Northstar and can use this link to request an appointment.  Northstar has counselors across the Upper Peninsula.  


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following for every day prevention:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying at home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash and washing your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using CDC-recommended cleaning sprays and wipes. 
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • For more information on the Coronavirus Disease, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Again, updates will be provided.  Stay informed by visiting finlandia.edu/coronavirus and regularly checking your campus email. 




Philip Johnson


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