Category: Health and Safety Levels

MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending January 15

by MTU Flex Task Force

Welcome to the spring semester and thanks to all students who have scheduled or taken their baseline COVID-19 test. So far this week, we’ve conducted 972 tests with a total of 10 detections for a positivity rate of 1 percent. Currently, less than 6 percent of on-campus isolation space is being used.

Working with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD), the University hosted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic this week for Phase 1A personnel. This cohort includes COVID-19 testing lab employees and EMS first responders, as well as other health care personnel and police officers. Next week, the University will announce its employee vaccination program in Tech Today. 

Please show support for our health care workers by helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19. For students who have not scheduled a baseline test, please text Hello to 906-257-9677 and follow the prompts. This scheduling number is new for spring—if you have the old number saved, please update it. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment by calling the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGL) at 906-483-1860.

As campus returns to Health and Safety Level Three today, our primary focus remains on providing an environment allowing our students to continue with face-to-face instruction. We’ve ramped up our baseline and surveillance testing programs and will continue our face covering and social distancing requirements for the foreseeable future.

For those of you traveling back to Houghton this week, safe travels.


Spring 2021: All Classes Remote Until January 19

by MTU Flex Task Force

On Friday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked the state’s colleges and universities to delay the return of undergraduate students to campus until Friday, January 15, 2021. In light of this, we will begin the spring semester as planned on January 11, but all classes will be remote until January 19. Additionally, move-in weekend for those living on campus will take place January 15-18. 

No later than Wednesday, December 23, Residence Education and Housing Services will send an email with additional guidance and instructions for those living on campus. This email will include information for those who have extenuating circumstances and may need to request special permission to return to their on-campus residence prior to January 15. 

Michigan Tech will remain at Level Five with some modifications until at least January 14, at which point our intention is to resume operations at Level Three. We will provide more information as soon as we are able.

During the winter break, we will send instructions to students on how to schedule a baseline COVID-19 test when returning to campus. Tests will be scheduled via text message. Students are expected to participate in baseline testing unless they have tested positive within 90 days prior to returning to campus.

Graduate students will receive an email later today with more information on how the Governor’s request impacts them.

This delay in returning students to campus is intended by the State to create a buffer for any potential New Year’s Eve-related spread and further decrease the recent trend Michigan has seen in COVID-19 cases.  

Please direct all questions to mtuflex@mtu.edu.


Move to Health and Safety Level Five on November 18

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

Last night, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued the Pause to Save Lives emergency order, which takes effect Wednesday, November 18, at 12 a.m. This means Michigan Tech will transition to Health and Safety Level Five.

As a result, the following changes will take effect starting Wednesday, November 18, at 12 a.m.:

  • All in-person educational activities are suspended through December. 
  • No group gatherings will be allowed. 
  • With the exception of Thursday’s flu shot clinic all campus events are canceled, including commencement. 
  • Dining and other campus operations will be scaled down. Details will be provided on the Campus Operations page of the MTU Flex website.

All student support services will be available virtually. Let us know if you need something. Also, because the vast majority of you will not be on campus, filling out the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form will no longer be necessary to access Canvas. You’re required to fill out the form, however, if you need to come to campus. Should you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and have questions, please send an email to contact-tracing@mtu.edu.

As President Koubek mentioned in his email on Friday, the University will issue housing and dining credit for the remaining three weeks of the semester to students who live in the residence halls and do not return to campus after the Thanksgiving break. Residence Education and Housing Services will provide more information on this soon. 

We remain optimistic that we will return to face-to-face instruction in January. However, there are contingency plans in place should we need to continue with remote instruction. A decision about the spring semester will be made no later than December 28, 2020.

Huskies, your efforts to Be Smart and Do Your Part in order to finish the fall semester face-to-face were terrific. Everyone on campus appreciates your hard work and #tenacity. Thank you.


Move to Health and Safety Level Four on November 23

by Rick Koubek, President

Dear Members of the Michigan Tech Community: 

I want to begin this email by restating how proud I am of the MTU campus community’s behavior throughout this pandemic. We have kept our case counts under control with positivity rates well below statewide averages. Classes are progressing, and we continue to move forward as a University. However, we are cognizant of the rapid growth of COVID-19 cases around us—in the UP, Michigan, and neighboring states. Projections show this outbreak growing through the end of the year, and these are all areas students will be visiting during Thanksgiving break. In response, Michigan Tech will transition to Health and Safety Level Four effective Monday, November 23. This transition is a targeted effort to mitigate further spread among our community at large by significantly reducing the number of people on campus after Thanksgiving.

Lecture-based classes will move to a remote format after the Thanksgiving break. However, a small number of labs, Enterprise, Senior Design, and other hands-on courses (including graduate research) will remain face-to-face. Instructors will notify their students early next week whether their classes will continue with face-to-face instruction. Students who continue with face-to-face instruction after Thanksgiving will be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus, and then again during the following week. 

We ask students living in the residence halls who do not have face-to-face classes after Thanksgiving to leave their residence hall at the Thanksgiving break and not return for the remainder of the semester. Students leaving the residence halls will receive prorated housing and dining credit/refunds. All students will receive additional information early next week regarding University housing.

Effective November 23, on-campus indoor gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people and outdoor gatherings may not exceed 25 people, which may affect planned student activities. The library, SDC, dining halls, transportation services, and other student support offices will remain operational. However, retail dining facilities will be closed beginning Monday, November 23, until further notice. 

Research activities on campus will continue with slight modifications. Information will be posted on the COVID-19 Research Information web page early next week. 

With this shift, we ask supervisors to accommodate employees who are able to work from home. 

And, finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to all of you for helping to keep Michigan Tech safe and healthy. Thank you for doing your part, and for being part of our outstanding community.

Sincerely, 
Rick Koubek
President



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. 


COVID-19 Campus Guidelines Remain in Place

by MTU Flex Task Force

This past Friday, Governor Whitmer moved Region 8 (the Upper Peninsula) back to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan and the Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling that effectively invalidated the governor’s COVID-19-related executive orders after April 30. Since then, the MTU Flex Task Force has received questions as to how these developments (in addition to the emergency order issued yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services) might affect the status of COVD-19 protocols on campus. In short, these changes will not alter the Health and Safety Level on campus or impact educational operations.


Michigan Tech to Shift to Health and Safety Level Four

by Rick Koubek, President

Thanks to the collective work of our employees and students, detected cases of COVID-19 in our student population continue to decline. But, as we work to satisfy our mission as an educational institution, we remain mindful of our commitment to the community. 

The Copper Country has seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Given the seriousness of the situation, Michigan Tech will transition to Health and Safety Level Four for a period of two weeks (through October 11) effective Monday, September 28. This transition is a targeted effort to mitigate further spread among our community at large by temporarily reducing the density of people on campus.


Summer Updates

by Rick Koubek, President

Dear Members of the Michigan Tech Community: 

Today marks an important milestone for our campus—we have moved to the third and final step of our Return to Campus Plan and transitioned to the Health and Safety Levels system. We entered today at Level Three, and anticipate sustaining that level through the start of classes on August 27. 

The Health and Safety Levels system will allow campus activities to be modified in response to the risk factors present on campus and in the area. Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility as we adjust to the protocols prescribed at each of the various levels.  


More Information on COVID-19 Visitor Symptom Tracking Form

by MTU Flex Task Force

We have received a number of questions regarding yesterday’s Tech Today article on campus visitors and the COVID-19 Visitor Symptom Tracking Form.

Beginning July 27, we request that all Michigan Tech guests and visitors complete the form. This includes those visiting the Van Pelt and Opie Library, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, Portage Lake Golf Course, Campus Bookstore, University Images, and other retail outlets, as well as those visiting academic or office spaces. Ice arena patrons will also be required to complete the form when the facility opens to the community.


Return to Campus: Visitors

by University Marketing and Communications

On Monday (July 27), Michigan Tech enters Step Three of our Return to Campus Plan. In this final step, we resume campus operations at the level at which the University will function when students return, and transition to the Health and Safety Levels system that we will maintain from the fall semester forward.

In addition to the return of students and University employees, Step Three allows for campus visitation. Joel Isaacson, senior associate athletic director, said while visitors to campus are allowed, all visitors must fill out a COVID-19 Visitor Tracking Form.