By Walter Kraft
YPSILANTI – Reacting to concerns about physical distancing and creating safe spaces related to COVID-19, Eastern Michigan University has announced the “EMU Single Room Guarantee” for students enrolling and living in campus residence halls for the fall semester. Under the plan, a single room without a roommate will be available to every student who wants one. Students who wish to have a roommate will continue to have that option.
“We are pleased to be able to offer this important safety feature – a single room for everyone who wants one,” University President James Smith. “Student safety is our number one priority and keeping students farther apart from one another is an important component of our #EMUSafe initiative for the fall semester.
“We have heard from many students and parents about this issue. They question how students can practice safe physical distancing when they have a roommate in close proximity to them in a residence hall room. We understand a single room may not be for everyone, but we also know and have heard from many who desire such accommodations at this time.”
Eastern Michigan University is the only public university in Michigan to currently offer a single room to everyone who wants one.
“We are fortunate to have the flexibility to offer single rooms to everyone who requests one,” said President Smith. “Due to our extensive and ongoing renovation of academic and residential facilities in recent years we have residence halls that are used to accommodate the closing of a building — utilizing the additional flex-space when needed for faculty and staff offices. In recent years, we have utilized the flex-space while we invested more than $90 million to renovate academic buildings across campus with state-of-the-art facilities. This space will now be utilized for additional rooms for students.”
Students interesting in learning more or applying for housing should visit the Housing and Residence Life website.
Single rooms typically cost approximately $2,500 a year more than a shared, double room. Under the new plan, and to encourage single room occupancy, the University is offering a credit to reduce the annual cost of a single room to $100 per month more than the cost of sharing a double room. That amounts to $800 annually. This credit provides an annual savings to those who choose to live in a single room of $1,700 over the typical single room rate.
“We have stated that this fall semester will represent a ‘new normal’ on our campus,” said President Smith. “We are modeling and preparing for several possible operating scenarios in order to be prepared, and safe. Our #EMUSafe planning is guided by a singular focus: Ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
The University has established a Public Health Work Group that is made up of University public health experts, including an epidemiologist, nurses, an occupational therapist, as well as experts in facility cleaning and disinfection. The group will provide leadership, direction and best practices regarding on-campus activities, following all state and federal guidance. Considerations include adding more online classes, using larger spaces for classes to allow people greater physical distance, reducing the number of people on campus on any given day, providing safe dining options, extensive signage promoting six-foot distancing and safe hygiene practices, and a massive cleaning and disinfection of campus areas that has been underway since March that will continue over the summer and through next fall.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website.