Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Courtesy of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Office.

The Well cancels all events; more universities turn to distance learning; JCC and U-M Hillel remain open.

After two presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed in Oakland and Wayne counties on March 11, postponements and cancellations continue for the Metro Detroit Jewish community and throughout the state of Michigan. Public health officials have advised avoiding large crowds and practicing the technique of “social distancing” in order to help contain the spread of the illness.

The Well Postpones all March Events

The Well, a local hub for Jewish young professionals, announced in a statement on March 11 that they would be postponing the rest of their March events. This includes Tot Shabbot: Rock and Roll Edition (March 14), Combating White Supremacy (March 19) and Shabbat Together (March 27).

“We feel it is our responsibility to do our part in aiding the efforts of social distancing (as suggested by public health experts), and avoid gathering large crowds at our upcoming events,” read the statement.

Local Seders Cancelled

A “Motown Seder” event, planned by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the Jewish Community Research Council for March 23 at Detroit’s Motown Museum, has been cancelled.

In addition, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was set to host her own seder on March 31, in collaboration with the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity. That seder has also been cancelled, according to Mark Jacobs, a member of the Coalition leadership team.

Jewish Community Center Will Remain Open

The JCC of Metropolitan Detroit will remain open and continue to evaluate the situation, the center said in a statement. They also “understand that every individual will need to make their own decisions as to whether to attend any particular activity.”

President Trump Restricts Travel From Impacted Areas

President Trump addressed the nation regarding COVID-19 on March 11. He announced that all travel has been restricted from impacted areas in certain European countries.

This travel ban applies to “foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area, 26 countries in Europe with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days,” according to a press release.

American citizens are exempt from this restriction, but will be directed to a “limited number of airports where screening can take place.”

University of Michigan Hillel to Remain Open

Hillel at University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus will remain open for limited services, weekday meals, meetings and small-scale gatherings.

“We want to be clear – our Hillel is not closing at this time,” Tilly Shames, executive director of Michigan Hillel, said in a statement. “We remain steadfastly committed to our students and their needs. If anything, we are doubling down on students, creating more innovative ways to reach them, and anticipating how to respond to their needs during this challenging time of disruption and isolation.”

MSU, U-M Jewish Studies Depts. Cancel Remaining Spring Events

All events sponsored by Michigan State University’s Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at MSU have been cancelled for the month of March and until April 20. U-M’s Frankel Center for Jewish Studies has also cancelled all its upcoming events.

MSU’s Israeli Film Festival, which was scheduled for Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16, has also been cancelled.

Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor Cancels Events; Remains Open

All in-person group programming that has been scheduled for the next three weeks is postponed. This includes their Women’s Philanthropy Sustainability program (March 19) and JYP Shabbat (March 13).

They also postponed their Student Exchange trip to Nahalal that was originally scheduled to depart on March 26. It is rescheduled for Dec. 24-Jan. 3.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor does remain open for business.

Jewish Historical Society of Michigan Cancels Two Upcoming Programs

The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan announced on Facebook that they are postponing the Three Former Synagogue Tour (April 1) and the Jews in Birmingham Lecture (March 25.)

West Bloomfield School District Closed on Friday

The West Bloomfield School District will be closed on Friday for a contingency planning day. Staff members will report to the school on Friday to work on the district’s remote learning instruction plan in the event that the schools will be closed for a prolonged period of time. Classes will resume Monday.

Michigan High School Athletic Association Suspends Winter Tournaments

The MHSAA announced on March 12 that postseason events sponsored by the MHSAA have been suspended immediately and indefinitely due to concerns related to COVID-19.

The Ice Hockey, Girls Gymnastics and Lower Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals had been scheduled for this weekend, while the Girls & Boys Basketball Tournaments are midway through earlier rounds of their playoff progressions.

Friendship Circle Remains Open; UMatter’s One Thing I Wish You Knew” Community Event Postponed

Friendship Circle facilities and programs will remain open. They plan on still celebrating the opening of “There is a Fly in My Soup” art exhibit at the Soul Studio and Gallery on Thursday, March 19.

UMatter’s “One Thing I Wish You Knew” community event scheduled for Tuesday, March 24 will be postponed to a later date.

Soul Cafe is maintaining regular business hours.

BBYO Michigan Region Annual Honoree Event Postponed

BBYO Michigan Region has postponed their Annual Honoree Event, which was set to recognize six of the most influential women spanning over the past 50 years.

It was also a celebration of B’nai B’rith Girls 75th anniversary. The event was scheduled to take place on March 26 at Wabeek Country Club. A new date has not been announced.

More Michigan Universities Suspend Face-to-Face Instruction

Lawrence Technological University is extending their spring break by a week to March 22 and will teach classes online from Monday, March 23 to Saturday, March 28. Spring semester classes and exams will be extended until Friday, May 15. Commencement is still expected to be held on May 9. Residence halls will remain open, but the cafeteria will close.

Eastern Michigan University is moving classes online through March 31. All university events have been cancelled through the end of March, and while residence halls and dining facilities remain open, EMU is encouraging students to return to their permanent residencies. All university-related travel (both international and domestic) is also suspended.

Ferris State University has suspended in-person classes and will implement online classes from March 16-27. All university events of more than 100 attendees have also been cancelled. Residence halls will remain open.

Grand Valley State University announced that classes will be cancelled from March 12-15 and the university will begin remote teaching on March 16 through at least March 29. Events of 100 people or more have been cancelled, and the university asks students to return to their permanent place of residence but says it “will support students who do not have a permanent or alternative residence by providing housing and dining on campus during this period.”

Western Michigan University will begin distance learning on Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3. In-person instruction has been cancelled for March 12 and March 13. The university will reevaluate on Friday, March 27 to determine if online classes need to be extended. All WMU sites and services will remain open except for events that anticipate over 100 attendees.

Northern Michigan University has cancelled classes for the remainder of the week and online distance learning will begin on Monday, March 16 until April 3. A decision will be made about the remainder of the semester, including final exams, on March 30. However, a statement reads, “lab classes will continue meeting in-person with exceptions determined by the academic department and the respective dean.”

Saginaw Valley State University has suspended all in-person instruction and will move to online instruction effective March 16 through at least April 17. The university will reevaluate the need for online learning on April 15.

Lake Superior State University is suspending all face-to-face instruction and is moving to a virtual learning environment effective March 16 until April 17. Residence halls and dining services will remain open.