Category: COVID-19 Testing

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: Important Information About Your Return-to-Campus COVID-19 Test

by MTU Flex Task Force

Hi Huskies,

Wherever you are, we hope you’re enjoying the holiday season and getting plenty of time to rest and rejuvenate before the spring semester starts.

Whether you left the Houghton area over winter break or stayed put, all students are expected to participate in return-to-campus testing, aka baseline testing, for COVID-19 this January. You do not need to participate if you tested positive for the virus within 90 days prior to your return to campus. Please notify the MTU Flex Task Force of your positive test using the Report a COVID-19 Test form, if you haven’t already.

Below you will find the information you need to know now about getting tested in January. This and other information about Michigan Tech’s testing program can also be found on the COVID-19 Testing Information for Students web page.

Scheduling a Test

All baseline testing will be scheduled via text message. To schedule yours, 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. Those who do not have access to texting can schedule an appointment by calling Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGL) at 906-483-1860.

Testing Location

As most of you know from the fall semester, on-campus testing usually takes place in the MUB Alumni Lounge. At the start of the spring semester, we’re going to switch things up to make sure we can efficiently and safely test every student who returns to campus.

From January 4-8, on-campus asymptomatic testing will take place in the MUB Alumni Lounge. If you plan to return to campus early, or if you never left the Houghton area, we encourage you to schedule your test as soon as possible so that you can get tested prior to the rush of move-in weekend.

From January 11-18, on-campus asymptomatic testing will take place in the Multipurpose Room of the Student Development Complex. During that time period, the MUB Alumni Lounge will be the testing location for symptomatic individuals only. Regularly scheduled shuttle service to the SDC will be available for students participating in baseline testing.

From January 19 through the rest of the semester, on-campus surveillance testing will take place in the MUB Alumni Lounge.

Take a Test, Win Cool Stuff

Every student who participates in baseline testing will be eligible to enter a drawing for prizes that include free parking for two semesters in a coveted location. Look for more information about the drawing and prizes as we get closer to the start of the spring semester.

Please reach out to mtuflex@mtu.edu with questions. We look forward to seeing you in January.

Happy New Year,
MTU Flex Task Force


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.


Increased COVID-19 Testing for Students Nov. 16-20

by MTU Flex Task Force

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 Nov. 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 Nov. 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, Nov. 20, they should start limiting their social interaction next Friday, Nov. 6, by keeping their social gatherings small and, if possible, limited to the same group of people. 

For more information, please visit mtu.edu/flex. Please send questions to mtuflex@mtu.edu.


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.


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.


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. 


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending October 9

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases is holding steady, with 48 cases recorded both this week and last. Our weekly surveillance detection rate remains low at 1.3 percent. On-campus isolation capacity continues to be strong, with below 5 percent of spaces occupied at this time. As noted in last week’s digest, our testing statistics web page now includes a downloadable document containing historical data from the Michigan Tech testing program from September 10 to present day. This document will continue to be updated. 

On Saturday, October 3, Michigan Tech provided space at the Gates Tennis Center for the Michigan National Guard to assist with community COVID-19 testing for Copper Country residents. Testing took place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and more than 650 tests were administered. If you participated in last Saturday’s community testing event, please report your test results using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

On Monday, October 12, we plan to return to Health and Safety Level Three. With this transition, hybrid lectures (conducted with a blend of in-person and virtual learning) will resume, conducted as they were before the shift to Level Four on September 30. Campus operations continue to be guided by our Health and Safety Levels Protocol—symptom monitoring and face coverings are still required for those on campus, and social gathering limits for both indoor and outdoor events remain in place.

Fall Break dates (October 15-16) remain as scheduled in the Michigan Tech Academic Calendar. As our Fall Break approaches, to help contain the spread of the virus, local health officials are asking everyone to limit their travel outside of the immediate Copper Country area. 

Thank you for everything 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.