Day: October 22, 2021

Health and Safety Levels Update and More Info on Federal Mandates

by MTU Flex Task Force

Dear Members of the Michigan Tech Community, Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 shows 59 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 17 confirmed cases per day (as of October 22).

Because we are seeing an increase in cases, both on campus and in the local community, we are returning to the Health and Safety Level protocols that were in place at the start of the fall semester. Beginning Monday, October 25, face coverings will be required indoors on campus, with the exception of the SDC and Gates Tennis Center, where face coverings remain recommended for all. You are not required to wear a face covering when alone in an enclosed space. Please refer to our Health and Safety Levels for additional information.

Federal Contractor Vaccination or Exception Mandate

As discussed in President Koubek’s email this morning, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has issued requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors to comply with the various safety protocols outlined in President Biden’s Path Out of the Pandemic plan and Executive Order 14042.

The order’s federal contractor vaccination mandate requires institutions with significant federal contracts to have all employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exception. Because Michigan Tech has significant federal contracts, the University must implement a vaccination/exception mandate for all University employees who work in the United States, even if they work remotely.

At Michigan Tech, these mandates will go into effect beginning January 10, 2022, at the start of the spring semester. It will apply to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. It will also include student employees. At this time, the mandate does not extend to students who are not employed by the University.

More detailed information regarding vaccination and exception requirements is included below and on the MTU Flex website.

Vaccination Timing

All employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exception byJanuary 10, 2022. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Please note that the Pfizer vaccine doses are given 21 days apart and the Moderna doses are given 28 days apart. Vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are also acceptable under CDC guidance.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, and doses are available at most pharmacies and health care providers. Please visit the Copper Country Strong website for information about where and how to get vaccinated in the Western Upper Peninsula.

Vaccination Documentation

Under the federal requirements, employees will need to show proof of their vaccination status. We are building a confidential process employees can use to provide this proof, either electronically or in person, and which Michigan Tech will use to review that documentation. We will provide more information as soon as we are able.

Exception from Vaccination

Employees with documented medical reasons for being unvaccinated may be entitled to a disability accommodation excepting them from the vaccination mandate. Medical exceptions can be requested by contacting Michigan Tech’s ADA Coordinator at adacoordinator@mtu.edu. Information and a form will be sent to employees for completion, and documentation will be required from a medical provider.

Employees with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prevents them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may be entitled to an accommodation excepting them from the vaccination mandate. Accommodation requests based on a religious belief, practice, or observance should be made using the religious exception form. When completed, this form should be submitted to Michigan Tech General Counsel Sarah Schulte at shschult@mtu.edu.

All accommodation requests are confidential. In the event that a request is granted, only those individuals who need to know of the accommodation will be informed of it. In the event that an accommodation request is denied, it will not be shared beyond those performing the review, except as requested by the individual seeking the exception. Employees who receive a vaccination exception may be required to comply with alternative health and safety protocols.

All employees need to be fully vaccinated or have an accommodation in place prior to January 10, 2022. Human Resources will work with employees who have challenges with those requirements.

Please send your questions about any of these topics to mtuflex@mtu.edu

Michigan Tech Affected by New Federal Mandates

by Rick Koubek, President

On September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors concerning various safety protocols as outlined in President Biden’s Path Out of the Pandemic plan and Executive Order 14042.

Michigan Tech receives a portion of its research funding through federal contracts and therefore is subject to these new federal mandates. This means that as long as these federal requirements are in effect, Michigan Tech must comply. 

Ultimately, to comply with these requirements, all employees must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or receive a medical or religious exception with the University. The current federal mandate does not apply to students unless they are also University employees. This requirement will take effect on January 10, 2022. 

The federal mandate also stipulates that federal contractors institute a face covering policy with guidelines based on transmission rates in the community. 

More information about these mandates will be provided in an email from the MTU Flex Task Force later today and is available on the MTU Flex website

As we take steps to implement these new federal requirements, Michigan Tech is committed to providing the appropriate support and resources to our employees. The MTU Flex Task Force is available to help answer questions you may have. I encourage you to contact mtuflex@mtu.edu. However, it is important that we adhere to these new requirements by January 10, 2022, which coincides with the start of the spring semester. 

I would like to thank everyone on our campus for your remarkable commitment to the health and safety of our community during the pandemic. I also recognize and appreciate your flexibility and patience. The constantly changing nature of this situation continues to test our fortitude, but we have proven that no challenge is too formidable for our campus community to overcome.