Category: Protocols

MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending April 2, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

The moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases is 10, compared to 13 last week. We conducted 210 surveillance tests this week, with one detected case, for a detection rate of .50 percent. Currently, less than 5 percent of on-campus isolation space is in use.

To ensure we continue to see adequate turnout for surveillance testing, we announced yesterday that, starting this week and continuing through the end of the spring semester, all students participating in surveillance testing will be entered into a drawing for one of three potential prizes:

  1. Two center-ice tickets to all home hockey games next season, plus one hockey jersey
  2. A $250 gift card to the bookstore
  3. A preferred parking pass for Lot 11 or a predetermined metered space on campus for the entire 2021-22 academic year

The drawing will occur and winners will be notified during finals week.  

As a reminder, under our current Health and Safety Level Protocolthe University’s face covering policy applies to everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status. Please continue to wear your face covering, even if you are vaccinated.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending March 26, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

The moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases is 13, compared to 14 last week. We conducted 716 surveillance tests this week, with one detected case, for a detection rate of .10 percent. Currently, 8 percent of on-campus isolation space is in use.

Under our current Health and Safety Level Protocolthe University’s face covering policy applies to everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status. Please continue to wear your face covering, even if you are vaccinated.

Huskies, we are grateful to those of you who participated in the Post-Spring Break Testing Clinics and who continue to do your part to keep our campus safe. We know many of you are feeling the stress that comes at the end of the semester, and some of you have let us know you’re tired of participating in surveillance testing. We understand—this has been a long haul. We have almost reached the finish line, though, and we need you to lean into your grit and tenacity. Please keep showing up when asked to get tested. Help us keep our campus open and our community safe for the rest of the spring semester. 

As noted in last week’s digest, we know many of you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and when it will become available. One of the best resources for Western UP vaccine information is the Copper Country Strong website. Additionally, we have created a vaccine information web page and FAQs intended to be specific to the Michigan Tech community. We will continue to update the web page and FAQs as more information becomes available. You may also want to review our vaccine updates from January 26 and March 4


Update to COVID-19 Vaccine Protocol

by MTU Flex Task Force

As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, the MTU Flex Task Force looks to update the Michigan Tech Community on the status of vaccine distribution. New updates to our Health and Safety Levels protocol will go into effect tomorrow (March 5), including guidance for vaccinated persons.

How is vaccine distribution being prioritized?

Prioritization is set by the State of Michigan and includes these priority groups:

  • 1A — Health care workers and long-term care residents and employees.
  • 1B — Those age 75+; prioritized frontline responders; pre-K-12 school and child care staff; corrections staff; agriculture and food processing workers; other essential frontline workers.
  • 1C — Persons age 65-74; those age 18-64 with COVID-19 risk factors/pre-existing conditions; and all remaining essential workers.
  • 2 — Everyone else.

The State of Michigan has determined that those 65 and older may receive the vaccine at this time. Of the 1C group, only ages 65-74 are currently being vaccinated, with vaccination running concurrently with the top of the 1B group. The governor is also expanding eligibility to individuals over 50 with health risks or those who care for someone with health risks effective March 8. On March 20, eligibility will be extended to all those 50 and over.

What is the timeline for vaccinations?

The State is hoping to move to the remainder of the 1B group and those in 1C with preexisting conditions on or around May 1. It is also planning to be able to offer the vaccine to the remainder of 1C this summer, with Phase 2 hopefully beginning in late summer. 

Will the University be vaccinating employees?

Information regarding vaccine clinics will be provided to supervisors as their employees become eligible and the vaccine is available. However, employees do not need to wait for a vaccine clinic on our campus — they may obtain the vaccine elsewhere. Information on how to obtain the vaccine is available from several sources. Additional information is available at Copper Country Strong

In addition, veterans may be able to obtain a vaccine through the VA and tribal members may be eligible to receive vaccine through their tribal health program. Providers tell us that additional slots are opening up all the time, so if you are 65+ and have not yet been vaccinated, you should be able to get in soon.

Remember, Michigan Tech is not requiring employees or students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to report your vaccination to the University if you receive it at a location other than a Michigan Tech vaccine clinic. We want to make the vaccine widely available to all of our students, faculty and staff as soon as possible, and we will continue to make this a priority as long as the need remains.

What should I do after I have been vaccinated?

Beginning tomorrow (March 5), MTU employees and students who have received all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior should follow these protocols:  

  • Continue to complete the Daily Symptom Tracking Form prior to coming to campus.
  • Continue to wear a face covering on campus and follow other campuswide health and safety protocols and guidelines.
  • If you come into close contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19, and you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or report your contact, and you may come to campus, unless advised otherwise by your health care provider or the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department.
  • At any time, if you experience symptoms of COVID-19, you need to remain away from campus until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and any other symptoms are improving. 

All questions should be directed to mtuflex@mtu.edu.


Spring Break Prep: Notes from the MTU Flex Team

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our spring semester surveillance testing program is well underway. Between February 20 and 26, we conducted 338 tests and detected two cases, for a positivity rate of 0.60 percent. Our 14-day moving total, which includes non-surveillance test results, is 45 detected cases. Currently, less than 7 percent of on-campus isolation space is being used.

With spring break coming up fast, the University is offering on-demand, asymptomatic testing for students next week, March 1-5. Space is limited, so students should schedule a test as soon as possible by texting Hello to 906-257-9677 and following the prompts. Those who do not have access to texting can schedule an appointment by calling Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center at 906-483-1860.

On-demand testing will also be available for students the week following spring break (March 15-18). And, we’re organizing Post-Spring Break Testing Clinics starting March 19. We ask that students who travel during break take part in these clinics instead of scheduling an on-demand test. More information on post-spring break testing will be provided soon. Information on asymptomatic testing for employees is available on the COVID-19 Testing Information for Employees web page.

Please check out the MTU Flex blog for tips on traveling safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you travel domestically during spring break (outside Houghton County but within the United States), Michigan Tech needs you to limit your social activity for seven days after travel and monitor yourself for symptoms. The CDC has extensive post-travel recommendations—check them out. (Please keep in mind that limiting your social activity refers to activities outside the classroom. You are permitted to go to class.) 

If you travel internationally, you are required to remain away from campus for 14 days after you return, as outlined in our Health and Safety Levels Protocol. Michigan Tech strongly encourages students and employees to quarantine during this period and get tested five to seven days after international travel.

Finally, no matter your destination, please consider taking the following precautions after you return from travel to protect others from COVID-19:

  • Avoid crowds and stay at least six feet from anyone who did not travel with you. It’s important to do this everywhere—indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in public.
  • If any people in your household did not travel with you, wear a face covering—and ask everyone in the household to wear one too—in shared spaces inside your home for 14 days after travel.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19.


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



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.