Category: Personal Safety Practices

COVID-19 Testing for Employees Working on Campus after Thanksgiving Break

by University Marketing and Communications

As a result of increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the Western Upper Peninsula and statewide, the MTU Flex Task Force asks that certain Michigan Tech employees get tested for COVID-19 following Thanksgiving break.

“Employees who need to be on campus after Thanksgiving break and who either traveled or gathered with others beyond their normal circle are being asked to get tested for COVID-19 the week of their return to campus and again the following week,” said Joel Isaacson, project manager of the MTU Flex Task Force and the University’s senior associate athletic director. “We encourage those employees to limit their interactions with others between these two tests.”

Supervisors of student workers are responsible for telling students how to get tested if they return to campus after Thanksgiving break. The process for scheduling an asymptomatic test is identical for both employees and students. Simply text Hello to 906-256-6466 and follow the prompts. Employees and students who do not have access to texting can schedule an appointment by calling Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGL) at 906-483-1860.

Isaacson said employees and students who are symptomatic or believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call UGL at 906-483-1860 to schedule a test and should not schedule an on-demand test via text message. Isaacson noted that anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days does not need to get tested.

Everyone should continue to exercise personal hygiene and safety practices during and after Thanksgiving break. Many cases of COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and people who do have symptoms frequently exhibit only a sore throat and congestion, similar to a mild cold.

“Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap, wear a face covering, and limit social interactions to a small group of family and friends. We want everyone to have a healthy holiday season,” Isaacson said.

Please direct questions to mtuflex@mtu.edu.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 6

by MTU Flex Task Force

The moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases this week is 31, compared to 18 the week before. Our weekly surveillance detection rate remains low, at 1 percent. Currently, less than 10 percent of on-campus isolation space is in use. Please continue to report all COVID-19 close contact and symptoms through the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form.

After last week’s announcement that we would provide increased on-demand, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students the week before Thanksgiving break, we received an impressive and enthusiastic response from the student community. As a result, we decided to increase on-demand testing a week ahead of schedule. Beginning Monday, November 9, and continuing through the rest of the semester, on-demand tests for students will be available on campus Monday through Thursday in the MUB Alumni Lounge. On-demand testing for students will not be available during the Thanksgiving break, from November 23 to 27. More information is available on the COVID-19 Testing Information for Students web page.

This increase in on-demand student testing does not impact our testing arrangements for temporary and regular employees who work 20 or more hours per week. Employees who meet this criteria may receive up to two free asymptomatic COVID-19 tests on campus during the fall semester.

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving break, anyone planning to travel should limit social interaction for two weeks prior in order to lower your chances of contracting COVID-19. If you plan to head home on Friday, November 20, you should reduce your social interaction starting today. You can do this by keeping your social gatherings small and, if possible, limited to the same group of people. Kelly Kamm, Michigan Tech’s epidemiologist and an assistant professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology, offered other travel tips in a recent Tech Today article.

We announced earlier this week that, thanks to a gift from the Portage Health Foundation, our COVID-19 Testing Lab will soon be able to process nearly twice as many tests in half the time and with fewer personnel. Other contributions to the COVID-19 lab and community testing efforts include:

  • 10,000 face shields and 50,000 face coverings from Ford
  • $73,000 in powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) equipment for lab and hospital use, along with PAPR equipment training, from Dow
  • $4,300 in hand sanitizer (equal to 600 bottles) from Kimberly-Clark

Again, thank you for all you are doing to keep our community protected and safe. If you have any questions regarding Michigan Tech’s surveillance testing program, please visit mtu.edu/flex/testing.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 30

by MTU Flex Task Force

Cases of COVID-19 remain low on campus. Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases is 18. Our weekly surveillance detection rate also remains low, at 0.5 percent. Currently, less than 15 percent of on-campus isolation space is in use. Please continue to report all COVID-19 close contact and symptoms through the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form.

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching and many students planning to travel home, the University has made arrangements to increase on-demand, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students during the week of November 16-20. Students have been made aware that testing will be available and that final details about how to schedule a test will be provided in the near future.

This increase in on-demand student testing does not impact our testing arrangements for temporary and regular employees who work 20 or more hours per week. Employees who meet this criteria may receive up to two free asymptomatic COVID-19 tests on campus during the fall semester.

If you work closely with students, please be aware that all on-demand, asymptomatic COVID-19 tests for students during the week of November 16-20 will be scheduled via text message. Students should not attempt to schedule an on-demand test for that week until final scheduling details are provided through email and updates to the COVID-19 Testing Information for Students web page.

We have also asked students to limit their social interaction for two weeks prior to travel. For example, if they plan to drive home Friday, November 20, they should start limiting their social interaction next Friday, November 6, by keeping their social gatherings small and, if possible, limited to the same group of people. 

The Michigan Tech COVID-19 Testing Lab is finalizing plans for increased testing capacity following the Thanksgiving holiday. We will provide more information in the coming days.

Everyone, thank you again for all you are doing to keep our community protected and safe. If you have any questions regarding Michigan Tech’s surveillance testing program, please visit mtu.edu/flex/testing.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 23

by MTU Flex Task Force

Cases of COVID-19 remain low on campus. Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases is declining, with nine cases recorded. Our weekly surveillance detection rate also remains low, at 0.4 percent. Currently, less than 3 percent of on-campus isolation space is in use. Please continue to report all COVID-19 close contact and symptoms through the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form.

The Michigan Tech COVID-19 Testing Lab is finalizing plans for increased testing capacity following the Thanksgiving holiday. We will provide more information in the coming days.


University Increases Some Capacity Limits

by MTU Flex Task Force

As a result of Michigan Tech’s low to steady COVID-19 positivity rate, the University has increased capacity limits for both indoor and outdoor situations. 

Effectively immediately, the capacities for indoor events such as registered student organization events and community rentals have increased to 25. Additionally, 50 people are now permitted at outdoor events.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 16

by MTU Flex Task Force

Cases of COVID-19 remain low on campus. Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases is declining, with 31 cases recorded this week and 48 cases recorded last week. Our weekly surveillance detection rate is low, at 0.3 percent. Surveillance testing increased this week and will continue to increase next week. Currently, we have no one utilizing the on-campus isolation spaces. Please continue to report all COVID-19 close contacts and symptoms through the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form.


Tips for Travel in the Time of COVID-19

by Mark Wilcox, University Marketing and Communications

Michigan Tech’s Fall Break starts today (Oct. 15) with classes and activities suspended until Monday (Oct. 19). Some students and staff are taking advantage of the break to return home to reconnect with family and friends, while many will stay close to campus practicing physical distancing and other behaviors to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Traveling during the pandemic is a topic most of us have thought about, from this “mini-vacation,” to the much longer upcoming holiday breaks. Traveling in and of itself is really not the issue, according to epidemiologist Kelly Kamm (KIP) — the behavior we practice while traveling is. “The rules have certainly changed,” said Kamm. “We have to have a mindset that we are at risk by who we come into contact with and, conversely, we could be putting those who come into contact with us at risk.”


Update on Academic Year 2020-2021 Calendar Planning

by Office of the Provost

As we continue to make our way through fall semester 2020, I think we are all happy to find that the planning we engaged in during the spring and summer has paid off. I want to thank all members of the Michigan Tech community for wearing their face coverings, practicing physical distancing, washing their hands, and cleaning the surfaces they touch. Because of our collective efforts to “Be Smart and Do Our Part,” the number of active COVID-19 cases in our campus community remains low.

We returned to Health and Safety Level Three on Monday, October 12, 2020. Because the number of COVID-19 cases on campus continues to be low, we currently anticipate remaining at Level Three until the end of the semester. Planning is underway for a COVID-modified version of our traditional face-to-face Midyear Commencement ceremony on December 19. More details about that event will be released as soon as the Commencement Committee has a chance to finalize their plans. 


#MaskUPHuskies

by Student Behaviors and Expectations Working Group

To help spread the word that wearing a face mask is crucial in stopping the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the Student Behaviors and Expectations Working Group has created the #maskUPhuskies social media campaign.

The #maskUPhuskies effort is a gentle, humorous way to not only encourage students to wear facemasks but also to give them tools to spread the word.


Face Covering 101: Things to Remember

by University Marketing and Communications

During the COVID-19 pandemic, much has been written, discussed, and even argued about the use of face coverings. Last month, Michigan Tech entered into Step Two of our Return to Campus Plan. It is important to remember that the requirements for wearing face coverings outlined in Step One — “Individuals must wear their face covering at all times indoors with the only exception being a fixed wall room with a closed door” — are still in effect for Step Two.

“Employees and students who are not able to medically tolerate a face covering should reach out for an appropriate accommodation,” said Sarah Schulte, general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees. Schulte said employees should contact the ADA Coordinator, while students should contact Student Disability Services.