Day: March 18, 2020

Email to Students: COVID-19 Things to Think About

By Bonnie Gorman, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs

Dear Huskies—

As you know all too well, we are in uncharted territory with COVID-19, and the pace of change is dramatic. Since Monday, the Governor has issued executive orders that required us to close some of the busiest buildings on campus (like the SDC and the library) and reconfigure dining services to grab-and-go. In town, bars are temporarily closed and restaurants are take-out only.

You’re also likely aware that the federal government has restricted international travel. While no domestic restrictions have been announced, I think it’s safe to say we should at least consider it a possibility. With this in mind, all students should assess their living situation and determine if remaining in Houghton is the best option.

Regardless of whether you choose to stay in the area or go to your permanent residence, you’ll need to take care of yourself (this is stressful), stay grounded, and focus your attention on remote learning. It’s different from going to class every day. 

Be Flexible and Patient

Professors have responded in a brief period of time to deliver courses remotely, and the opportunity to learn hasn’t changed. Still, if things aren’t quite clear or you need some additional information, ask. Keep in mind, though, it may take a day or two for a reply. Everyone is trying their best and a little patience will go a long way. 

Stay on Track

It’s super easy to think, “Oh, I’ll do my class later,” and then later never comes. It is very important to make a plan and organize yourself so you stay on track. The Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success has put together some useful tips and information to get you going. Even though things are online, we’re all still here to help.

Looking to Launch Your Career

In this environment, it might be a challenge to keep your job search front and center. Career Services can help with your resume, offer interview tips, or talk through a negotiation strategy. Appointments are available virtually and can be made on Handshake. Also, co-op information and registration forms for summer co-ops can be found here.

Take a Breath—A Really Big One

If you are feeling anxious about all that’s going on, be sure to take time for yourself. Exercise (it’s easier to do at home than you think), sleep, and eat well. In addition, social distancing can foster some loneliness. Find a few friends you can stay connected to regularly. If you need to talk with someone about your concerns, you can reach out to Counseling Services at 906-487-2538. If you are in a crisis, text “START” to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 


Sometimes #tenacity just isn’t enough. If you need a little help, increased emergency resources are available now. Huskies watch out for Huskies. Let’s stick together to support one another and our community. 

Stay Healthy, 

P.S. Keep an eye on the Michigan Tech COVID-19 website for updated information.

Email to Residence Hall Students (Douglass Houghton, McNair, Wadsworth, and Hillside): Residence Hall Credit

By Bonnie Gorman, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs

I was over in Wadsworth Hall yesterday and saw the long line of students waiting for their grab-and-go lunch. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through the challenges we’re facing as we respond to the COVID-19 virus. 

While the campus remains open, the Governor issued an order on Monday that required us to close the SDC, the library, Quad Core Fitness, Gates Tennis Center, and the mineral museum. And, as you well know, there is no dining-in at the cafeterias. These requirements have diminished the Husky experience we were making every effort to support and preserve. 

Because of all of these changes, you may want to again assess your living situation, and we support you in doing so. In an effort to help, Michigan Tech is offering all students living in the residence halls (Wadsworth, McNair, Douglass Houghton, and Hillside) the option of receiving a credit of $1,100 if they check out of their room anytime before 5 p.m. on April 12, 2020.

Those of you who hold a current residence hall contract will receive an email from Residence Education and Housing Services later today, March 18, with instructions and an online form for communicating your housing plans. Regardless of whether you completed the Residence Hall Access form sent to you last week (Thursday, March 12), this new form must be completed no later than 5 p.m. Friday, March 27. If you indicate that you plan to check out of your room prior to April 12, you’ll need to select the correct checkout date. If you left your room and returned your keys prior to this announcement, housing staff will be in touch soon with further information.

If you complete your checkout during the designated period, you’ll be eligible to receive a $1,100 credit, which you can receive through one of the following three options:

  • Credit toward fall 2020 on-campus room and board costs
  • Credit for a fall 2020 150-block meal plan (for students living off-campus)
  • Credit to your student account

If you’d like to have your credit applied toward your student account, you’ll need to enroll in direct deposit if you haven’t already. The credit will be deposited to you, less any outstanding balance with the University.  

Please note that if you receive institutional funding specifically for room and board—including Resident and Operations Assistants, full in-state Leading Scholar recipients, certain ROTC students, certain student-athletes, and others—you will not be eligible for this credit. For questions on whether you qualify, contact the Student Financial Services Office at

For many of you, Michigan Tech is the place you consider your primary home. I want to reassure you that our residential facilities continue to remain open and functional, and we will do all we can to protect your health and safety. 

Again, I appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work together to navigate the COVID-19 challenge. Our commitment has been and continues to be the safety and well-being of all of our campus community.  

Please continue to visit for the latest updates and information regarding campus operations. Should you have any questions, please email

Take Care, 

Email to Staff and Faculty: Additional Resources and Support for Michigan Tech Employees

By Rick Koubek, President

Dear Faculty and Staff: 

As we come to terms with the rapid and significant disruptions to both our work and personal lives as a result of the COVID-19 disease, we continue to explore options to support the health and safety of our campus, maintain continuity of our operations, and protect the job security of our employees. To these ends, we are announcing additional employee benefits to help offset negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additional benefits are outlined below with more details following.

  • Full-time employees will receive 80 hours of COVID-19 pandemic leave to be used in case of quarantine, isolation, or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure, illness, or other related scenarios. Part-time employees will receive  prorated leave based on their appointment.
  • The newly created Husky WorkerReady program will assure those impacted by temporary shutdowns and slowdowns across units can continue their employment by working in areas of need.
  • Enhanced remote work protocol.  
  • Access to employee counseling and mental health services. 
  • Paid leave for trained and/or registered emergency responder volunteers.
  • Establishment of the Husky Emergency Assistance Fund.

COVID-19 Pandemic Leave

Effective immediately, the University will offer up to 80 hours of paid leave to employees for personal use if they are affected by the virus. This leave may be used in case of quarantine, isolation, or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure, illness, or related scenarios. Please click here for more details. The COVID-19 pandemic leave will be prorated for part-time employees. This is a bank of paid time off for use only during the current pandemic and will expire June 30, 2020.  

Husky WorkerReady Program

The University will work to reassign employees whose job hours have been reduced or eliminated by the effects of the COVID-19 crisis through the new Husky WorkerReady program.  The University’s new shared talent pool program will attempt to match the employee’s talents with current University needs. Impacted employees are encouraged to enroll by clicking here.   Departments or supervisors with labor needs or individuals with questions should email or call Madeline Mercado Voelker in Human Resources at 906-487-3681. This program is in effect through May 2, 2020, unless extended.

Remote Work Protocol

We understand that each employee’s personal situation may have evolved over the past few days. Therefore, we’ve instituted a more lenient remote work protocol. At this time, if you can work from home, you are encouraged to do so. If you need to continue working on campus, consult with your supervisor and follow appropriate social distancing protocol (no more than 10 people in a space and at least six feet between people at all times). Please visit the COVID-19 website for information on working remotely and to learn more about sick, vacation, and COVID-19 pandemic leave. This protocol is in effect until further notice.

Mental Health Counseling

As a reminder, eligible faculty and staff, and their spouses and dependents, have access to up to eight free counseling sessions per person from Northstar EAP. These sessions can help manage issues that may be impacting your personal and work life. Northstar EAP’s areas of expertise include stress, depression, family and marital issues, work relationships, alcohol and substance abuse, and grief. Confidentiality is maintained in accordance with privacy laws and professional ethical standards. The University will not be notified when services are requested or used. To set up an appointment, call 906-225-3145 or schedule online at

Volunteer Service

To support your participation as a community volunteer, regular full- and part-time employees who are trained and registered as emergency responders with the Red Cross or other similar organizations may be granted up to five days paid leave for emergency response services rendered between now and June 30, 2020. Please email or call Human Resources at 906-487-2800 to learn more about this benefit. 

Husky Emergency Assistance Fund

The Husky Emergency Assistance Fund has been established to help members of our campus community who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This fund will help those in need to stay in school and provide financial relief for others. Some of you may be asking how you can help. For more information, please visit the Husky Emergency Assistance Fund page or click here to give now. In the near future, the University will provide instructions on how employees and students can apply for assistance.

We appreciate all you are doing to help Michigan Tech and our local community during this time. On behalf of the entire community, thank you. 

Rick Koubek