Release Date: 
Monday, March 16, 2020

President Kavalhuna's March 16 messages to students and employees

HFC logo - COVID19

Message to students:

Dear HFC Students,

Here is an update on our ever-changing winter term:

I have heard from many of you. I know you are concerned. Some of you are scared. We are working to keep you safe and to give you the education you deserve. I want you to know that our campus leaders are working hard this week to finalize information for you about classes next week. We are also getting ready to announce how we will address other concerns many of you have expressed.

Henry Ford College classes will resume on Monday, March 23. This week, the College will notify you whether your classes will be held online, or will remain in a face-to-face format. For those whose classes must be provided in a face-to-face environment, we are working to modify those classes to reduce the number of people in one place at one time.

We are also taking measures to ensure the safest campus environment possible, including:

  1. Sterilization of facilities
  2. Social distancing
  3. Modifying attendance policies and asking everyone to stay home if they are sick

We are making plans for students who have concerns about succeeding in online classes. We are building ways to support students who do not have access to a computer and internet. We we are evaluating ways help students who prefer to finish their work for this semester at a future time.

Our on-campus student services will remain open to help you. We will make some changes in the way we provide these services, to make them available online or by phone, and to support social distancing.

We will share details about all of these plans on Thursday by mid-day on our website. Please watch your Hawkmail, our HFC website, and social media for further information.

Many things are changing quickly. I ask for your patience as we modify our processes to deliver your classes through the rest of this semester. All of us – your instructors and our staff – are determined to support your success. We are here for you. We support you.

Russ Kavalhuna
President, Henry Ford College

Message to employees:

Dear Colleagues,

I plan to send you brief daily updates this week on how we plan to complete the Winter 2020 semester and support our community.

Please understand that there are questions I cannot answer yet. I ask for your patience as we work through a complex list of issues. We have received helpful information, feedback, and questions from leaders and team members from all over the College. Tomorrow morning, I am meeting the presidents of the four major collective bargaining units (I would invite their boards and general membership, but I am honoring state and federal guidance in limiting the number of people in the room). We will discuss the College’s plans and your concerns, as expressed from your Collective Bargaining Unit’s (CBU) president.

Things are changing rapidly. I know that several Michigan colleges have changed operations and policies as recently as today. I know that some of you are concerned about workplace safety and issues surrounding compensation during absences. I plan to seek input from all of the CBU presidents on these issues tomorrow morning.

I expect to launch a website by mid-day Thursday that will have comprehensive information and resources for students, faculty, and staff. This website and related communications will address the major operational, academic, and personnel plans for our future. We will continue to adapt our plans and will continue to communicate with you as often as we have meaningful additional information.

Many of us are receiving large volumes of questions and concerns through email, social media, text messages, and phone calls. This is appropriate and expected. As a result, we need to spread some of your messages out so you can receive a timely response. If you have pressing questions or concerns that cannot wait until our Thursday announcement, I ask that you first reach out to your vice president or the leadership of your CBU. Your vice president or CBU leaders will field your concerns and respond or bring them up for further discussion. And, as always, you can contact me if you do not feel it is appropriate to contact your CBU leader or supervisor or vice president.

I know that many of you are under a lot of stress. I know some of you are scared. Your College leaders and I care about you, and we are here for you during these uncertain times.

I also encourage you to support each other as teammates. I have seen and heard about you doing this already. Thank you for this great teamwork. The culture of teamwork that we have been working so hard to create will be tested during this time. It is this culture of teamwork that will help us successfully persevere. If you need help, let someone know. We will find you help.

If we pull together now, we can help our students learn today and make our College stronger for future students who face difficult, unanticipated circumstances. We will emerge better than we were before.

I am proud of the support you provide to our students, and I know you will continue this every day. It is that service to students, no matter the circumstance, that makes a difference every day. Thank you for your teamwork.