Author: Megan Ross

MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 19, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

When we all return to campus after Thanksgiving, Michigan Tech will offer the first of two on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 9-5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8 in the Rozsa Center lobby. This clinic and the follow-up clinic offered on Jan. 12, 2022 will be open to all faculty, staff, and students as well as the general public. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech will be available for first, second, third, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. The clinics are operated by the Michigan National Guard in conjunction with the Western UP Health Department and Michigan Tech. In order to gauge interest, the MTU Flex team will be sending a poll via text later today to the campus community.

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 114 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 41 confirmed cases per day (as of November 17). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 14 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

For MTU employees (including student employees) who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate, please be aware that you must be in compliance by January 4. Information on how to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exception is available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page. Employees who need until January 10 to comply with the vaccine mandate or receive an exception should work with Human Resources to obtain a temporary accommodation.

There will be no on-campus testing the week of Michigan Tech’s Thanksgiving Recess, November 22-26. Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing will resume when students return to campus on November 29 and will be available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested and no appointment is needed. COVID-19 testing will conclude for the fall semester on December 16.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 12, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 72 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 21 confirmed cases per day (as of November 10). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 32 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

For MTU employees (including student employees) who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate, please be aware that you must be in compliance by January 4. Information on how to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exception is available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page. Employees who need until January 10 to comply with the vaccine mandate or receive an exception should work with Human Resources to obtain a temporary accommodation.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing will be available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday next week in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed. There will be no on-campus testing the week of Michigan Tech’s Thanksgiving Recess, November 22-26. Testing will resume when students return to campus on November 29 and will conclude for the fall semester on December 16.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status. 


On-Campus COVID-19 Testing in November and December

by MTU Flex Task Force

Please be aware: There will be no on-campus COVID-19 testing during the week of Michigan Tech’s Thanksgiving Recess, November 22-26. Testing will resume when students return to campus on Monday, November 29. 

After Thanksgiving, testing will continue in the Datolite Room at the MUB on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. through the end of the semester. The last day of on-campus testing will be Thursday, December 16, during exam week.

Please visit the COVID-19 Testing Information page on the MTU Flex website for more information. Please direct questions to mtuflex@mtu.edu.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 5, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 51 active cases confirmed on campus. While this number is down from last week, please keep in mind that on-campus testing did not take place Monday and Tuesday due to equipment issues. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 25 confirmed cases per day (as of November 3). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 36 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

Based on updated guidance from the federal government, the University must be in compliance with the federal contractor vaccination mandate by January 4, which is earlier than the January 10 date previously communicated. Employees who need until January 10 to comply with the vaccine mandate or receive an exception should work with Human Resources to obtain a temporary accommodation.

On November 1, Human Resources emailed all MTU employees, including student employees, detailed information regarding how to submit proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate. That information is now available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page and on the MTU Flex blog. Instructions for applying for an exception can also be found on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing resumed on Thursday this week and will be available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday next week in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


Process for Federal Mandate Compliance

by Renee Hiller, Director of Human Resources

On October 22, President Koubek’s email to the campus community announced that Michigan Tech will comply with requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on September 24. 

Compliance means the University must implement the new federal vaccination/exception mandate for all University employees who work in the United States, even if they work remotely. At Michigan Tech, this mandate will go into effect January 10, 2022. It will apply to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. It will also include student employees.

For employees who are fully vaccinated, submitting proof of vaccination will be a secure and confidential process. Vaccinated employees may submit proof using these methods: 

Online — MTU Flex Portal

You may submit a picture of your vaccination card or other valid proof of vaccination using the Vaccination Upload Form. The form is now available on the MTU Flex Portal. You will need to log in securely using your ISO. Please follow the upload instructions—you will only be able to upload once. All documentation must be clear and legible. Once you log in through the secure site, you’ll be asked to upload and submit a picture of your vaccination card or other valid proof of vaccination. Supported file types are JPG, JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Once you submit your proof, it will be reviewed and you will be notified via email when it has been accepted or declined.

In Person — Rozsa Lobby

You may submit your proof of vaccination in person. Human Resources will verify vaccination at the Rozsa Lobby ticket window at the times listed below. Please note: You will need to provide identification in addition to the proof of vaccination.

  • Friday, November 5, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Monday, November 8, 8–10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, November 9, 3–5 p.m.
  • Monday, November 15, 12–2 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 18, 9–11 a.m. 

In Person — Human Resources Office

Employees are also welcome to stop in at the Human Resources Office on the second floor of the Lakeshore Center, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to show identification and proof of vaccination. Please bring the original documents that show vaccination and not copies (i.e., bring your vaccination card, not a photocopy). 

If you intend to apply for a medical or religious exception, please refer to the Vaccination for Federal Contractors page on the MTU Flex website for information on how to do so. Applications for exceptions will not be collected through the MTU Flex Portal, Rozsa Lobby, or Human Resources Office.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 29, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 87 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 30 confirmed cases per day (as of Oct. 27). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 45 percent of our on-campus isolation space is currently occupied.

Due to equipment issues, walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing will not be available on Monday or Tuesday this coming week (Nov. 1 and 2). Michigan Tech students and employees who were tested on campus yesterday (Oct. 28) can expect to receive their results tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 30). At this time, we anticipate that walk-in, on-demand testing will resume for Michigan Tech students and employees on Thursday in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed. If you need a test before then, please reach out to any local health care provider — no pre-existing relationship is required — or visit michigan.gov to find a test site.

Last Friday (Oct. 22), President Koubek’s email to the campus community announced that Michigan Tech will comply with requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on September 24.

Compliance means the University must implement the new federal vaccination/exception mandate for all University employees who work in the United States, even if they work remotely. At Michigan Tech, this mandate will go into effect January 10, 2022. It will apply to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. It will also include student employees.

Both the president’s email and the subsequent email from the MTU Flex Task Force were delivered to all employees and students on campus. Instructions on how to provide proof of vaccination will be communicated next week. Instructions for applying for an exception can be found on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors webpage on the MTU Flex website.

Thank you to those who have self-reported at-home antigen tests. If you’re interested in antigen testing, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is providing free antigen tests and vaccination clinics in October. More information is available on our COVID-19 Testing Information web page.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


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.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 15, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 29 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 16 confirmed cases per day (as of Oct. 13). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Less than 15 percent of our on-campus isolation space is currently occupied. 

We greatly appreciate all those who help keep our campus safe by volunteering, particularly the EMS student team who have been working in the University’s COVID-19 Testing Lab. We owe you a debt of gratitude for your time and service.

Thank you to those who have self-reported at-home antigen tests. If you’re interested in antigen testing, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is providing free antigen tests and vaccination clinics in October. More information is available on our COVID-19 Testing Information web page.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing is available to Michigan Tech students and employees in the Datolite Room at the MUB on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed. 

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 8, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 25 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 14 confirmed cases per day (as of Oct. 6). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Less than 10 percent of our on-campus isolation space is currently occupied. 

We greatly appreciate those who have self-reported at-home antigen tests. If you’re interested in antigen testing, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is providing free antigen tests and vaccination clinics in October. More information is available on our COVID-19 Testing Information web page.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing is available to Michigan Tech students and employees in the Datolite Room at the MUB on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed. 

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.