Author: Megan Ross

Face Coverings Required in Enclosed Public Spaces

By Brian Cadwell, Director and Chief of Police, Public Safety and Police Services

Under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, all persons are required to wear face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces, including campus buildings and workspaces, where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

Michigan Tech strongly encourages employees to provide their own personal face coverings in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance: 

  • Fabric face masks should be made of new, tight-weave cotton fabric (e.g., quilting cotton, denim, duck cloth, canvas, or twill).
  • Employees must wear their face mask at all times indoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Face masks should be worn over the mouth and nose and should not be worn dangling around the neck or on the chin or forehead.
  • Employees should not touch or adjust their face mask. If they do, they must immediately wash their hands per CDC guidelines.
  • After removing their face mask, employees must immediately wash their hands per CDC guidelines.
  • Fabric face masks should be laundered in hot water daily.
  • When not in use, fabric face masks should be stored in a clean, closed paper bag or other breathable container.

Fabric face masks are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and should not be used when entering a room or area where known or suspected COVID-19 cases are present.

Michigan Tech will supply face coverings for employees who choose not to utilize their own face coverings. Employees who have current job duties on campus who need a face covering may pick one up between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday at the Transportation Services Window on the first floor of the Administration Building. Please park in Lot 11 and enter through the east doors. Walking traffic will be one way, exiting through the north doors.  If you require a face covering but are unable to pick one up during these hours, please contact Brian Cadwell at bjcadwel@mtu.edu.  

Stay safe,
Brian


Students Changing Departure Plans

We hope this email finds you healthy and being safe. We continue to monitor this fast-changing situation and have updated our procedures for various departure plans to give you more flexibility to choose what is in the best interest of your health and safety.

If you need to change your departure plan, you must email housing@mtu.edu. Note that in all scenarios that you must follow the strict move out social distancing guidance given to you and allow no more than two individuals who are not residents to assist you with your move. Overnight visitors are prohibited. Below are listed various scenarios that may apply to you.  

If you are actively living at home/another residence and have not been staying in your currently assigned room:

  • If you’re not actively living on campus, you can email housing@mtu.edu and extend the date of picking up your personal belongings to May 16. We will update you should this date change as a result of new guidance.
  • If you completed the Departure Plan form by the March 27 deadline indicating you would be out by April 12 but wish to change to a later departure date, you will still receive the housing credit as long as you are not actively residing on campus. This assumes only your property is here.

If you are actively living here on campus, planned to stay, but now wish to relocate to another residence and will no longer be using services:

  • If you need to stop actively living here on campus on or before April 12, you can email housing@mtu.edu and request to change your departure plans.
  • You must cease using your residence hall room/dining plan and actively live somewhere else by April 12. Only your property can remain after this date.
  • You can continue to leave your property here up until May 16. We will update you should this date change as a result of new guidance.
  • If you do not use our residential services and live away from campus until your departure date, you may request the $1,100 housing credit when you notify us of your change in plans.

If you are planning to continue to reside in the residence halls through May 2, 2020:

  • If your plans have changed and you need to stay living in the halls through May 2, 2020, you need to email housing@mtu.edu to request that change. 
  • You will not be eligible for a housing credit because you will continue to use services.
  • If you are actively present in the halls, you will need to move out by May 2, 2020. 
  • You will need to follow the checkout guidelines as previously given to you.
  • You are required to continue following the social distancing guidance given in previous emails as you continue to live on campus.

Please note that summer Track A classes will be held exclusively online and summer housing will not be available during the Track A period. Make sure to plan accordingly.

If you need assistance or if your plans do not not fit into the three scenarios above, please contact us at housing@mtu.edu. We are happy to assist you. Please continue to practice healthy social distancing and be safe!

We have included the checkout process below for your convenience.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Express Check-Out Process

  1. Bring your key and Husky Card to campus so you can properly checkout and avoid charges.
  2. Come to your residence hall front desk (open 10am-4pm daily) to pick up  the Express Check-Out Form and blue Key Return Envelope. You may need to pick up the forms the day before you intend to leave.
    1. If you are unable to get the check-out paperwork from the desk, you can arrange to have the paperwork slid under your door by filling out the following form.  Please complete the form no later than 48 hours before you intend to depart.  
    2. If you need additional assistance and are unable to contact an RA or the desk, please call DUTY phone at (906) 487-3889. 
  3. Please read the entirety of each document carefully as they contain important check-out information.  
  4. Remove all belongings from your room.
    1. If you have a bike in storage, you have been contacted by the advisor of your building’s hall association on retrieval and storage options.  
    2. Clean your room thoroughly and return the furniture to its original configuration.
  5. Self-report any damages that you are taking responsibility for on your Express Check-Out Form.
  6. Provide a mail forwarding address in Banweb, and check your mailbox before leaving.
    1. Change your address with online accounts, banks, credit cards, and magazines and notify your family and friends that you have moved.
  7. Complete the Express Check-Out Form and the front of the blue Key Return Envelope.  If your form is not already attached to the envelope, please do so and drop both off at the front desk of your residence hall.  If the desk is closed, please place your paperwork in the misaddressed mail slot.

While moving out, please:

  • Get assistance from no more than two individuals that are not in the same residential housing facility as you.
  • Do not allow anyone with a temperature of 100.4F or higher, cough, trouble breathing, or other symptoms of illness to assist you.
  • Maintain at least six feet of social distance at all times unless carrying a heavy object.
  • Do not use common areas.  We have closed common areas due to guidance from the state of Michigan requesting that all people maintain six feet of distance from each other and a need to protect residents staying with us from potentially being exposed to COVID-19.
  • Park in the following lots if you have a pass for Lots 21 or 23:
    • DHH – Lot 10E
    • McNair – Lot 10E
    • Hillside – Lot 4
    • Wads – Lot 17 Upper
    • If you do not have a parking pass or are traveling with someone who does not have a parking pass, you can park in Lot 10 overnight with no penalties.

Damages

By participating in the express check-out process, you waive your right to challenge any charges caused by damages in your room.  Each form has a space for you to claim any damage you have caused to the room. Roommates who may have damages are encouraged to contact each other and determine who will take responsibility for the damages.  If no one is specified as the responsible party, all roommates will split the damage charges evenly. Please contact your RA or REC if you would prefer to schedule a full check-out.


Email to Students: Resources and Support

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

Dear Huskies—

We’re in a tough situation. I just finished watching some news reports featuring physicians and ER doctors from around the country. Several mentioned their concerns that young people are not taking this virus seriously. This is serious—more than 6,000 people have died in Italy, and New York is now the epicenter of the pandemic.

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer announced Executive Order 2020-21, “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” requiring the people of the state of Michigan to stay at home. This order went into effect today and will continue until at least April 13. The goal is to reduce the spread of the virus both in the state and across the nation. Your help is needed in adhering to this request and Michigan Tech will do all we can to assist you. Below are some guidelines, changes, and resources for your information. 

What Executive Order 2020-21 Means for Students

Students living in the residence halls are allowed to remain and a separate communication was sent yesterday providing specific instructions. If you live off campus, please be aware that the governor’s order allows you to travel in order to return to your permanent place of residence. Returning home may be worth some serious consideration—especially now, since students are no longer able to access any University classroom, laboratory, shop, computer lab, or other facility. 

If you do decide to stay, you should not be gathering in groups of more than 10 people. In addition, it is recommended that you maintain at least six feet of distance between each other. This applies to those of you working on group projects, participating in social and/or religious gatherings, and just hanging out. 

Academic Support

Even while you are studying remotely, campus services are still available. Academic advisors, Learning Centers, Career Services, Counseling Services, the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, and my office are all available for virtual appointments and are happy to help. In addition, you can look here for some strategies to stay on track.

Remember, your conduct in an online classroom should be the same as your behavior in a physical, face-to-face classroom or lab. Here are a few netiquette tips

If you need internet access, here are some resources available. 

Give yourself some time to get adjusted to this new environment, and keep in mind that the date to withdraw from a class has been extended to Friday of the 14th week, April 24. 

Emergency Resources and the Husky Food Pantry

During this time of uncertainty, we realize unexpected needs may be higher than normal. Emergency resources (food, utilities, car rentals, and more) are available from a variety of sources, including generous Tech alumni and friends. If you need some help, submit the brief application. 

Since the Husky Food Pantry is located in Fisher (now closed), food packages have been made and delivered to Public Safety and Police Services. This service is ongoing; stop there if you need food (it’s like going to the grocery store and that’s permitted under the order). 

In addition, here’s a very useful guide written for students who are disrupted by COVID-19. 

Mental Health Resources

Your mental health is as important as your physical health and you need to take care of both. Find a few friends you can connect to regularly. Take a break and read a good book. If you need to talk with someone about your concerns, you can reach out to Counseling Services at 906-487-2538. Virtual appointments are available.

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). 

Shuttle Service

The Husky Campus and Daniell Heights shuttle services have been suspended until at least April 13. The Wednesday through Saturday Shopping Shuttle will continue to operate using social distancing protocol—that means no more than 10 passengers are allowed on the shuttle at any time. Please plan ahead for your shopping needs, keeping in mind that there will not be Shopping Shuttle service on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.

The City Commuter Shuttle operated by Houghton will be suspended beginning Wednesday, March 25, until at least April 13. The City of Houghton will continue to provide on-demand service: call 906-482-6092 to request a ride. The cost within Houghton is $3 each way. The cost to Hancock is $4 each way.

Huskies, if we all do our part, we’ll get through this. Let’s continue to stick together to support one another and our community.  

Take Care, 
Bonnie

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


Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order and Campus Operations

By Rick Koubek, President (koubek@mtu.edu)

Dear Members of the Michigan Tech Community:

In compliance with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21, “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” Michigan Technological University’s campus will significantly limit services and operations, effective at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2020, for a minimum of three weeks while the order is in place. During this time, the University will continue offering remote learning for its students. Employees who are able to do so should work from home, if they are not already. Only those employees identified under Michigan Tech’s COVID-19 Stay at Home Protocol (20-6) will be allowed on campus to maintain basic operations. Access to buildings will be restricted. I ask each of you to review the University’s COVID-19 Stay at Home Protocol (20-6).

As the University complies with the governor’s executive order, we remain committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all of our students. Those who remain in the residence halls will receive additional information from Residential Life on food service, support, and how the governor’s order affects them.

I want to take a moment to thank you in advance for respecting Governor Whitmer’s executive order to stay home and stay safe. Your commitment not only helps to protect the health of our community, but also the integrity of our local health care system. Please continue to visit mtu.edu/covid-19 for the latest information and updates.

Stay safe and take care,
Rick Koubek
President


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). 

#Tenacity

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, 
Bonnie

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 finaid@mtu.edu.

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 mtu.edu/covid-19 for the latest updates and information regarding campus operations. Should you have any questions, please email covid-19@mtu.edu.

Take Care, 
Bonnie


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 www.northstareap.com.

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
President


Email to Faculty, Staff, and Students: MTU COVID-19 Updates

By MTU Communications, covid-19@mtu.edu

This email shares new updates and summarizes recent communications posted to the MTU COVID-19 website

MTU Profs Shift Teaching and Labs to Remote Instruction

Flipped classrooms, online courses, livestreamed lectures, technology for take-home tests. A week ago, these were innovative ways to push, blend and reframe the blurring boundaries of college classrooms that have moved into digital and real-world spaces. And now they are — almost instantly — the new norm in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The next few weeks will not be easy. But then no Michigan Tech class ever is. Read the full story.

What To Do If You’re Feeling Sick

In addition to concerns about COVID-19, we’re also still in the midst of cold and flu season, with allergy season right around the corner. In light of this, students and employees need to know what’s expected of them if they’re not feeling well. Please remain away from campus for 14 days if you have a fever and any one of the following: 

The University is working to maximize the available services on campus for employees and students who choose to be present during this time, while remaining consistent with CDC guidance and the State Executive Orders. Your strict adherence to these guidelines will help us accomplish that goal. Thank you.

Commencement

Commencement will not be held as a face-to-face event on May 2 as planned. We are working on a creative way to celebrate our graduates. Details will be forthcoming. Please visit mtu.edu/covid-19 for the most current information.

SDC Closure

In accordance with guidance from the State of Michigan and the CDC, the Michigan Tech Student Development Complex, Gates Tennis Center, and Systems Control Nordic Waxing Center at the Recreation Trails closed on Monday, March 16 at 3 p.m. due to concerns over the COVID-19 health situation. The closure will last through March 30, 2020. More information can be found on the Michigan Tech Athletics website.

Communication Summary

March 16: Update from President Koubek to faculty, staff, and students

COVID-19 FAQs

FAQs for Students
FAQs for Faculty
FAQs for Staff

Questions and suggestions from the MTU community about the University’s response to COVID-19 can be sent to covid-19@mtu.edu

This email communication is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical or legal advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.


Email to Faculty and Staff: Provost Communication

By Jacqueline Huntoon, Provost Senior VP Academic Affairs

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As described in the communication you received earlier today, both the CDC and Governor Whitmer have updated their guidance related to COVID-19. 

As a result, we now know that classes will remain online through the end of the semester and that commencement will not be held as a face-to-face event on the originally scheduled date. At this time we don’t know if we will postpone the face-to-face event or hold a virtual event. We are thinking this through and will make definite plans as soon as possible.

As of today, other University locations and services will be temporarily curtailed. As of 3 pm today, per the Governor’s guidance, the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library will be closed, along with the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, the Gates Tennis Center, and the public facilities in the SDC. Tech Trails remain open, although the waxing shed and other interior spaces will be closed. Finally, only grab-and-go food service will be provided on campus (including the MUB and potentially the Library cafe if appropriate arrangements can be made) and in the local community; no sit-down dining in public spaces will be allowed on campus or in the community (per the Governor’s guidance). Additional information and updates will be posted to the Michigan Tech COVID-19 website. The limitations and closures listed here will be in force until at least March 30, 2020 pending further notice.

People who need access to Library materials should view the resources available on the Library website and/or the IT website. Staff in both the Library and IT are developing strategies to help patrons and users remotely so that everyone can continue to work and learn.

Be Flexible and Plan Ahead

Given the current circumstances, it is prudent at this time for people who are able to do their jobs from home to get ready to start working from home, should that become necessary. People who are members of at-risk populations should take extra precautions. For example, some of them may need to work from home now, whereas others may choose to come to campus, but then work in isolation (whether in time or space) from others. 

Supervisors are being asked to be as flexible as possible to allow people the opportunity to get their jobs done in ways that make sense for everyone. If anyone has a question or concern, the first point of contact should be the direct supervisor. The Michigan Tech COVID-19 website also has a lot of information, including FAQs for students (and parents), staff, and faculty (including researchers). The office of the Vice President for Research has additional information available for researchers.

To ensure that we all stay connected even if some of us end up working offsite, those with Michigan Tech office phones should ensure that their voice messages are forwarded to other phones (https://www.mtu.edu/it/mitel-user-guide/), and/or email (https://www.mtu.edu/it/voicemail-to-email/), and/or get ready to access voicemail (https://www.mtu.edu/it/voicemail-off-campus/) from personal phones. 

We’re All in This Together – Thank You for Your Help!

I think everyone now knows that the University is moving to remote instruction for all regularly scheduled courses. The Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning is continuing to offer guidance and support for instructional personnel who are moving their courses from face-to-face to remote instruction methods. I recognize that it is challenging for many faculty and students to make the transition from face-to-face to remote instruction under the best of circumstances. The fact that we are trying to do this all at once in less than a week has made this an incredible challenge for the entire University. I know that everyone is doing their best to meet this challenge and I thank everyone for their efforts. 

In addition to the challenges associated with changing the way we teach and learn, people across campus are also being asked to modify activities related to almost every aspect of University operation. Facilities, dining, housing, and staff members in many other areas are actively developing and implementing new protocols designed to keep everyone, including themselves, healthy. These people take great pride in their work and are thinking hard about how to continue to provide the best possible service to the University. If you know or see one of them, please tell them thank you.

A few important points for Instructional personnel to think about at this time include how to ensure that all students, whether they are in Houghton or elsewhere, receive the same instructional experience. While students are being allowed to meet in small groups on campus at the current time, it is possible that all gatherings, even of small groups, may be disallowed on campus in the future. If that happens, remote instruction will be the only option open to any of us. We all need to plan ahead in case we come to that point.

Faculty should also be determining the most important learning outcomes for each course and focus their effort on helping students achieve those outcomes. No one should expect to be able to deliver the same course remotely as they had planned to deliver face-to-face under the time constraints we are facing.

We are hearing from many students and faculty that it has become impossible to hold classes at regularly scheduled times. Many faculty and students have new responsibilities, as a result of the closure of the K-12 school system, for example, that require them to work or learn at different times than they were able to commit to even as recently as a week ago.

Michigan Tech has always prided itself on providing high-quality, face-to-face instruction that prepares students to meet real-world challenges and hit the ground running upon graduation. No one should think that the changes being implemented this semester are anything other than a response to a worldwide health crisis. The University’s commitment to excellence in education has not diminished and I know that we are all looking forward to the time when things can get back to normal. We will get there and hopefully we will get there very soon. For now, however, we simply must do the best we can under the circumstances.

Clarifications Regarding Travel

There has been some confusion regarding the travel guidelines. Here are some clarifications. 

  • If you have traveled internationally within the past two weeks, please do not come to campus for at least 14 days since the time you returned from travel. 
  • If you think/know you may have been exposed during your travels, please do not come to campus for at least 14 days since the end of your travels.

Anyone who falls into the categories listed above must fill out the Returning Travelers (COVID-19) form. This is important because it appears that people who have COVID-19 may be contagious even before they begin to show symptoms. That means that people who have traveled during the last two weeks may have been in contact with individuals who were ill even though those people didn’t appear to be ill at the time.

Health Monitoring

The CDC continually updates its information regarding signs and symptoms of COVID 19. The most common symptoms appear to be fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you, or someone with whom you have had close personal contact, has symptoms, please stay home, let your supervisor know, send an email to covid-19@mtu.edu, and call your health-care provider. 

One habit you might want to get into to monitor your personal health is to take your temperature two times each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. As of today, the CDC says that “symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.” The CDC offers some easy-to-understand flyers about how to “Stop the spread of germs” and “What to do if you are sick” that you may want to share with others (such as students and family members).

Self-Care and Care for Others

As we all continue to live through this unprecedented situation, I ask that we all remember that extraordinary challenges require extraordinary courage, trust, and empathy. Remember that every member of our University and local community may be facing enormous logistical, physical, and emotional hurdles. Please try to always assume that everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances. Together we can try to minimize the impact of this disruption on our own lives and on our families and communities. For those who are working with students, I ask that you make a special effort to stay in contact with them. If you have a concern about a student, use the “report a concern” site to let others know. The fact that someone cares about a student can, immediately and over the long run, change that student’s life for the better.

I, and others, will do our best to keep you posted as changes are announced as we continue to monitor guidance from State and Federal sources. Please recognize that it may be necessary to make substantial changes very quickly in response to guidance we receive. Try to plan ahead as much as you can, this will reduce your personal stress and the stress on those around you. Take care of yourself–you are valuable to our University and community and we need you. Take care of those around you too.

If you have questions, send them to covid-19@mtu.edu. We are finding answers and responding to them as quickly as possible.

Jackie Huntoon
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs