Skip to main content

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: This information may be updated as the situation in Southwest Michigan changes. For full coronavirus updates from SMC visit swmich.edu/coronavirus.

Is SMC open?

Dowagiac campus offices are open during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Niles Campus Student Service Center is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Virtual appointments are still available for those who prefer that option.

Hours for the Fred L. Mathews Library, Bookstore and Student Activity Center may differ.

While on campus, visitors must observe distancing requirements. Masks are required in all buildings and will be provided for those who need one while on campus.

Are classes canceled?

No. The fall 2020 semester began on Tuesday, September 8, with in-person classes and an increased number of online-hybrid sections. See the July 1 and August 12 updates on swmich.edu/coronavirus for full details on fall semester.

Why are classes being offered in person? I feel more comfortable with online.

SMC has committed to prioritizing face-to-face instruction this fall because we believe it to be the overwhelming preference of our current students and because it is what we currently do best. With the physical changes made to classrooms and smaller class sizes throughout the schedule, we believe that with everyone working together, we can be safe and successful.

Because of a few faculty completing the applicable online training, we are putting a handful of online-only courses on the fall schedule. These will be limited in terms of options available and total amount of seats. They are meant as a pilot set of courses for the fall. Advisors are aware and will try to use those online sections to support student interest in those classes.

As we have seen, the course of the pandemic is unpredictable. To best ensure the continuity of student learning, SMC faculty have been asked to prepare for a switch to remote learning should conditions warrant doing so at some point in the future. In making the determination whether a switch to remote learning is necessary, administration will be monitoring criteria such as:

  • Governor Whitmer’s Safe Start MI phases
  • Local cases and test positivity rates
  • The collective decision trends of our K-12 education partners

Will the residence halls be open for fall semester?

Yes, the residence halls are open at 85% capacity for students who need or want to live on campus. For full details on fall housing, see the July 1 and August 12 updates and the Preparedness and Response Plan on swmich.edu/coronavirus.

All students living in the residence halls were required to show a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken no more than 14 days prior to move-in before they were permitted to move into the halls.

What safety measures will be in place when students return to campus?

SMC has implemented a number of safety measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, including configuring classrooms and common areas to allow for social distancing, requiring masks and other PPE as appropriate, increased disinfecting, requiring safety training for all students, limiting capacity in classrooms and other buildings and more. For full details, please visit swmich.edu/coronavirus and look under the July 1 and August 12 updates.

What happens if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Please refer to the Preparedness and Response Plan found at swmich.edu/coronavirus for steps we will take for commuter students, employees and campus residents.

Has my on-campus event been canceled?

Organized events involving the public on either SMC campus have been canceled through December 31. The best way to get confirmation is to call the manager of the event or call SMC at 800-456-8675.

Are employees encouraged to work from home?

In Phase 3 of our Campus Reopening Plan, additional personnel will be shifting from remote work schedules to a more frequent physical presence on our campuses to provide the high quality experience our students expect. Some remote work will continue. This rotation will be determined by each manager according to the needs of the department.

Employees who work on campus must check in using the #CampusClear app each day they'll be on campus. More information on #CampusClear can be found at swmich.edu/campusclear.

Additionally, employees working on campus should take the following steps:

  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid in person meetings if possible
  • If you must meet in person, please practice social distancing by:
    • Keeping the meeting relatively short
    • Meeting in large rooms where you can be at least three feet apart from one another
    • Avoid shaking hands
  • Cancel non-essential meetings or consider virtual options through Google Meet or Zoom
  • Do not congregate in work room, around copiers, or other places where people socialize
  • Bring your lunch and eat at your desk, away from others

If you experience fever, cough or shortness of breath, per CDC guidelines, do not report to work. Please follow proper call-off procedures and notify your supervisor of symptoms. Use sick and vacation time if you need to stay home to care for a school-aged child and if the telecommuting option is not feasible.

Is SMC restricting travel?

To comply with government directives, all non-essential business travel by SMC employees has been suspended until further notice.

I need to take a placement test for course placement. Is the Testing Center open?

The Testing Centers on both campuses are open for remote testing; you can complete tests from home or anywhere with a computer and reliable internet access. Please send us your transcripts and test scores and then reach out to your admissions counselor or to an advisor at fye@swmich.edu to learn more about remote testing.

Limited appointments will be available for in-person testing. Please call 800-456-8675 or 269-782-1000 to reserve a time.

Is the Fitness Center open during this time?

Governor Whitmer recently signed an order allowing the reopening of Michigan gyms and fitness centers previously closed due to the pandemic. This order comes with the understanding that new safety restrictions and requirements be put into practice to maintain the health and well-being of all patrons. It is imperative that all students, staff, faculty, community members, and guests understand the importance of these new rules and regulations, and that the College will be strictly enforcing these guidelines. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce that our fitness center, gymnasium (basketball court), and racquetball courts will reopen beginning Monday, September 14.

Masks will be required for the entirety of your visit to the Student Activity Center, including during your workout in the fitness center. We will also be limiting occupancy to no more than thirty individuals in the fitness center, ten individuals in the gym, and two individuals in the racquetball court at a time. Additional SAC staff will be present throughout the day to help clean equipment, and patrons are asked to use the available sanitizing wipes as frequently as possible when moving from machine to machine. Some cardio equipment will be taken off line to allow for better distancing. Unwillingness to comply with these mandates will result in your being asked to leave the facility and future access to the center revoked.

Workout appointments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online reservation forms can be accessed via these links:

Fitness Center
Basketball Court
Racquetball Court

Walk-ins will be accepted, but during busy times or if reservation slots are full, please understand that you may have to wait in our café area before you are allowed to enter the fitness center.

Finally, our hours will be adjusted slightly as follows:

Monday-Thursday

SAC: 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

Fitness Center: 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Friday

SAC: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Fitness Center: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday

SAC: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Fitness Center: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Each day, the fitness center will be closing one hour early to allow extra time to clean and sanitize every piece of equipment. While we understand that this shortens our hours of operation, we deem it necessary to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all our patrons. There will be a handout covering all of our new rules and regulations available at the SAC front desk. We also invite our community members to please fill out an updated contact information sheet upon their return so we can better inform you of any future change to our policies or hours of operation.

Should you have any questions regarding any of these new policies, please feel free to contact Branden Pompey, Assistant Director of Campus Life, 269-782-1484, bpompey01@swmich.edu.

Can I still take a campus tour?

On-campus tours are available by appointment. Reserve a time here. Please note that groups will be limited to a maximum of ten people, and participants will be asked to wear masks while in campus buildings. Masks will be provided for those who need one while on campus.

You can also take a virtual tour here and view additional videos here.

When can I register for Spring 2021 classes?

Applications for new students who wish to start in Spring 2021 can be submitted now at swmich.edu/applynow. Registration for veterans, Honors Program students, and students with 40+ credits opens at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 26. Registration for all other students opens at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28.

How is SMC distributing CARES Act funds to students?

The federal government has given colleges the direction to distribute grants in the manner they deem appropriate to the students who most need it. SMC has thoughtfully decided on a process to do so. Eligible students have been contacted directly via email and encouraged to apply for these funds through the link available on the SMC Wired home page.