Author: Megan Ross

Modifications to Health and Safety Level Two

by MTU Flex Task Force

In August, as we prepared for students’ return to campus and factored in the uncertainty of the delta variant, our campus moved to Health and Safety Level Two, expecting to stay there for at least five weeks to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within our community. During these five weeks, you all did your part extraordinarily well—the number of confirmed cases on campus and the amount of virus detected in campus wastewater remains low thanks to you.

However, the situation in our local community is less clear. The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and local health professionals continue to see the ongoing presence of the virus. While we would very much like to move the campus back to Health and Safety Level One, a somewhat more cautious route is appropriate at this time.

Therefore, Michigan Tech will move to a modified Level Two starting Saturday, September 18. Face coverings will still be required in classrooms and laboratories during classes and lab courses, and in the library. Face coverings may also be required during faculty office hours at the discretion of the individual faculty member. In all other settings, face coverings will be encouraged but not required. Face covering requirements for fully vaccinated close contacts, as listed in our Quarantine Guidelines, will remain in place.

Please allow time for the signage around campus to catch up—and remember that our MTU Flex plan is structured to be responsive to fluctuations in case count and other factors related to COVID-19. As always, should the local and/or on-campus variables change, we will reevaluate our Health and Safety Level accordingly.

We appreciate your continued diligence in following the Health and Safety Level guidelines and helping keep the community safe.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending September 10, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases continues to be low, with less than 10 cases confirmed on campus. Cases remain low in Houghton County as well, with a seven-day average of two confirmed cases per day. Please continue to report positive test results using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is on-going and does not show significant viral presence on campus at this time. Our on-campus isolation space is currently unoccupied. We would like to thank the Husky community for its efforts to continue to control the spread of COVID-19.

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. Read more COVID-19 Testing Information on the MTU Flex website. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.

We are aware of the announcements made yesterday by President Biden regarding vaccination and testing, and we are waiting to read the various orders being prepared on those issues. We will update the University community as soon as we have additional information to share.

We appreciate your continued diligence in following the Health and Safety Level guidelines and for helping to keep the community safe.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending September 3, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Now that the fall semester has begun, we’re pleased to resume our weekly updates regarding the University’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wastewater testing is underway and will be an important part of our multipronged mitigation effort this fall. The positive COVID-19 case count for our campus community will be updated weekly on the MTU Flex website. We ask that you please report positive test results using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

We’ve received questions regarding the protocols for isolation and quarantine. Please refer to the Quarantine Guidelines Flowchart and send questions to mtuflex@mtu.edu. All on-campus isolation space is currently unoccupied.

We were pleased to see our on-campus vaccination clinics run smoothly this week. Thank you to those who participated. We will look into hosting more clinics once we have more information about the availability of a third-dose booster to the general public.

We appreciate your continued diligence in following the Health and Safety Level guidelines and for helping to keep the community safe.


COVID Testing Starts Aug. 30 in MUB Datolite Room

by University Marketing and Communications

Starting Monday (Aug. 30), Michigan Tech will offer free, walk-in COVID-19 testing on campus for students and employees during the fall 2021 semester.

Testing will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the Datolite Room at the MUB. 

No appointments are needed for walk-in testing, and tests are available to any student or employee, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not.

If you would like to be tested, come to the Datolite Room during testing hours and ask for a test. Your results should be available in approximately 24 hours, and will be emailed to you.

If you have a question about COVID-19 testing at Michigan Tech, check the MTU Flex Testing web page for up-to-date information and answers to frequently asked questions, or email mtuflex@mtu.edu


COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics: Aug. 24, Sept. 1, and Sept. 2

by MTU Flex Task Force

We’re pleased to let you know that Michigan Tech will be offering COVID-19 vaccine clinics for students and employees, in partnership with the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGL). The clinics will take place on August 24, September 1, and September 2 in the Rozsa Center Lobby from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that the August clinic occurs during Orientation Week.

Both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available at all three clinics—participants will be able to choose which to receive. UGL staff will administer the vaccine. Employees and students who have already received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine can receive their second dose at the clinic.

Please send questions about the MTU vaccine clinics to mtuflex@mtu.edu. For information about COVID-19 vaccine availability in the western Upper Peninsula, including where to get the Pfizer vaccine, check out the Copper Country Strong website. Please reach out to a local health care provider, no pre-existing relationship required, if you are interested in a third-dose booster.


Transition to Health and Safety Level Two

by Rick Koubek, President

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have worked to create a healthy and safe on-campus experience for our students, faculty, and staff—one that we can flex in response to rapidly changing environments. We have also learned that technology (while great) cannot replace the experiential learning that happens in classrooms, labs, residence halls, and beyond. For these reasons, we are delighted to welcome our students back to campus for a normal start to the fall semester.

To best ensure the continuity of campus operations, Michigan Tech strongly recommends that all employees and students receive the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in light of the virulence of the COVID-19 delta variant.

With all of this in mind and out of an abundance of caution, Michigan Tech will return to Health and Safety Level Two as outlined in our MTU Flex plan, effective August 15, 2021, for at least five weeks. This includes reinstating an indoor face covering requirement for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors (regardless of vaccination status).

During the first few weeks of the semester, we will continue to review available data to inform our pandemic mitigation strategy. Our hope is that Michigan Tech’s face covering requirement is short-term. Our goal is to return to a face-covering-optional environment once we have more information regarding the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community. 

In the meantime, I ask that you continue to do your part to help keep our campus and community safe. I look forward to seeing you all on campus soon. 


COVID-19 Update

by MTU Flex Task Force

As we prepare for the upcoming fall semester, the University is keeping a watchful eye on the local COVID-19 case count. While Houghton County’s caseload remains low at this time, adaptations to our operations may be warranted should circumstances change. These adaptations include elevating the campus’s Health and Safety Level as outlined in our MTU Flex plan. 

Michigan Tech strongly encourages employees and students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated is the best way to stay healthy this fall and avoid quarantine. Free vaccines will be available throughout the fall semester at the locations listed on the Copper Country Strong vaccine web page under “How Do I Get The Vaccine?” We will also continue to offer on-demand COVID-19 testing and conduct COVID-19 wastewater testing throughout the fall semester. The health and safety of our campus community remains our top priority and we will adapt campus operations as necessary based on public health guidance and the prevalence of the virus in our community.  

The MTU Flex team will continue to provide timely updates as we prepare to welcome our students back to campus for the start of the fall semester. Thank you again for your diligence in protecting our campus community. 


Effectively Immediately: Michigan Tech Moves to Health and Safety Level One

by MTU Flex Task Force

In accordance with today’s recession of emergency orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as well as new orders from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), Michigan Tech is moving to Health and Safety Level One effectively immediately.

Under Health and Safety Level One:

  • Face coverings are no longer required for any individual, although those who wish to continue to wear them are encouraged to do so.
  • Daily symptom monitoring via the MTU Flex Portal for employees, students, and visitors is no longer required, but we recommend people continue to monitor their symptoms. For students, access to Canvas will no longer be linked to symptom monitoring.
  • We ask that positive COVID-19 test results be reported using the existing test reporting tool in the MTU Flex Portal if you test positive within 14 days of being on campus.
  • Employees in quarantine or isolation situations should inform Human Resources at humanresources@mtu.edu. Students in quarantine or isolation situations should inform the Dean of Students’ office at deanofstudents@mtu.edu.
  • All capacity limits are lifted.
  • Employees and students should remain aware of the federal government’s international travel restrictions.

The MTU Flex team encourages University community members to get their vaccinations and continue with handwashing and hand-sanitizing practices.

The Flex team is launching a communications campaign in the coming weeks to promote vaccination as a means by which to help protect ourselves and other community members. We also ask you to continue to be respectful of those who choose to continue wearing a mask or work with plexiglass shields (however, those who wish to remove those may do so at this time).

Many thanks to our entire community for your diligence in following the public health and safety practices that allowed us to get to this point.


Michigan Tech Will Move to Health and Safety Level Two Tomorrow

by MTU Flex Task Force

Following guidance from the CDC, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) issued updated workplace guidelines today. In light of this guidance, the University will move to Health and Safety Level Two beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25, at 12:01 a.m. 

At Health and Safety Level Two:

  • Students, employees, and visitors who received their final dose of an FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks ago do not need to wear a face covering or practice six-foot distancing. This applies both indoors and outdoors.
  • Those not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face covering only when they are unable to maintain six feet of distance from others on campus, whether indoors or outdoors.
  • In compliance with state regulations, daily symptom monitoring via the MTU Flex Portal is still required for all members of the campus community before coming to campus. 
  • Group capacity limits, as dictated by the State of Michigan, also remain in place.

 Vaccinations are a personal choice. For this reason, employees and students should not ask one another for vaccination status. Those who are fully vaccinated who wish to continue wearing a face covering are encouraged to do so. 

Governor Whitmer announced last week that Michigan plans to lift all capacity restrictions and face covering mandates on July 1. Michigan Tech intends to move to Health and Safety Level One at that time. 

Michigan Tech has relied on public health guidance from the CDC, public health professionals, and state government authorities as our primary navigational waypoints in making these decisions, just as we have during the past 15 months. We thank you for your continued support and cooperation.


Return to Campus Guidance

by MTU Flex Task Force

To chart our course over the last 15 months, Michigan Tech has relied on public health guidance from the CDC, public health professionals, and state government authorities as our primary navigational waypoints.

Last week, Governor Whitmer announced that more than 55 percent of Michigan residents age 16 or older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday afternoon. In accordance with the MI Vacc to Normal Plan, the order requiring some work to be completed remotely will end on Monday, May 24. Any University employee interested in returning to in-person work on May 24 may do so with supervisor approval.

All University operations will return to normal on June 14. Employees currently working remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions may continue to do so until June 14, at which time all University personnel regularly scheduled to work in person should plan to do so. Track A and Track B courses will be taught in the modality in which students signed up for them and are not changing as a result of this transition. Those with questions regarding this transition should contact their supervisor.

There will no longer be a separate process for COVID-19 High Risk Accommodations. As always, any employee who feels they may need an accommodation can request one by contacting the Michigan Tech ADA Coordinator at adacoordinator@mtu.edu

The University is in the process of updating its remote work form and policies. Additional information regarding remote work, including flexible work schedules, will be available next week.

Finally, as you might have heard, Governor Whitmer held a press conference this morning where she announced a number of anticipated changes to some statewide pandemic mitigation regulations. As we wrote last Sunday, our workplace protocols are dictated by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The governor indicated that MIOSHA will be announcing changes to their orders Monday, May 24. We expect to have more information for you after that announcement.

Michigan Tech remains a primarily residential campus and we are looking forward to the return of in-person operations. We commend you all for your efforts during this extraordinary time and hope to see you on campus soon.