Category: COVID-19 Vaccine

Important Updates for the Start of the Spring Semester

by MTU Flex Task Force

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to students returning to campus on January 10 for in-person classes. The Michigan Tech campus remains at Health and Safety Level Two, which means face coverings are required indoors, just like at the end of the fall semester. Given the current spread of the omicron variant throughout the United States (more on this below), it remains important to comply with our health and safety protocols and wear face coverings whenever indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

If you are traveling back to Houghton and have the opportunity to get tested for COVID-19 before you arrive, we strongly encourage you to do so.

With the omicron variant rapidly spreading throughout the country and world, the weeks ahead are hard to predict, and faculty and staff are preparing for possible disruptions. While breakthrough cases are more common with this variant, current data indicates that being vaccinated, including receiving a booster if you are eligible, helps to mitigate the severity of cases.

Please be aware that the CDC routinely updates its guidance regarding isolation and quarantine periods as more information becomes available about the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. The last update took effect on December 27, 2021, and we strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the specifics, as vaccination and booster status may impact the length of your quarantine period if you are exposed to the virus.

On-campus COVID-19 testing will resume on Monday, January 10. Testing hours have expanded and the testing location has changed for the spring semester. Testing will take place in the Rozsa Center basement each week, Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are also increasing daily testing capacity from 100 samples a day to 300. We will deliver samples to the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day testing is offered. When capacity permits, community members whose samples are included in the 11 a.m. delivery may receive their results on the same day.

Additionally, we are moving toward using an online consent form for sample collection. This means fewer forms to fill out at the testing site, which means quicker lines. We will also have both self-swab and administered swabs available. Non-EMS personnel will be on hand to assist with self-swabs.

Finally, Michigan Tech will be offering the second of two on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, in the Rozsa Center lobby. This clinic will be open to all faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be available for first, second, third, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. Please schedule your appointment online. The clinic will be operated by the Michigan National Guard in conjunction with the WUPHD and Michigan Tech.

Please send any questions to mtuflex@mtu.edu. Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation in stemming the spread of COVID-19. We’re looking forward to a great semester.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending December 17, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 29 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 14 confirmed cases per day (as of December 15). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. None of our on-campus isolation space is currently occupied.

Testing on Michigan Tech’s campus has concluded for the fall 2021 semester. The last day of testing was Dec. 16. For COVID-19 testing during winter break, please reach out to a local health care provider to schedule a test. You do not need to have a preexisting relationship with the health care provider in order to get tested.

Local sites offering COVID-19 testing can be found using the state of Michigan’s Find a Test Site web page. More COVID-19 Testing Information for the Michigan Tech community is available on the MTU Flex website.

Please remember that a vaccination clinic is scheduled for January 12, 2022 in the Rozsa Center lobby. The clinic will be open to all faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public, and a reminder will be emailed when appointments become available. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be available for first, second, additional, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. Registration information regarding that clinic will be provided soon.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


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

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 67 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 23 confirmed cases per day (as of December 8). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 14 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing is available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested and no appointment is needed. COVID-19 testing will conclude for the fall semester on December 16 and will resume in the spring semester.

In the spring 2022 semester, COVID-19 samples collected through on-campus testing will begin being processed by the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department’s lab, following the winding down of the Michigan Tech COVID-19 Testing Lab’s operations.

Coming online in the early days of this pandemic, MTU’s testing lab provided critical sample processing at a time when statewide capacity was minimal (many samples from the UP at that time were transported to Lansing for processing). At one point, MTU’s lab processed the most tests per day in the state. The Michigan Tech Flex team extends deep appreciation to the COVID-19 lab team, including but not limited to Caryn Heldt, David Dixon, Cary Gottlieb, Dave Reed, Carsten Kuelheim, Stephen Techtmann, Jennifer Sanders, Cathy Jenich, Karl Meingast, Brooke Goulette, Mike Abbott, Natasha Chopp, Emmett Golde, and Karyn Fay.

Thank you to those who participated in our December 8 vaccination clinic in the Rozsa Center lobby. A follow-up clinic is scheduled for January 12, 2022, also in the Rozsa Center lobby. The January clinic will be open to all faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public, and a reminder will be emailed when appointments become available. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be available for first, second, additional, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. Registration information regarding that clinic will be provided soon.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


Injunction Issued for Federal Contractor Vaccination Mandate

by Rick Koubek, President

Over the past several weeks, our employees have worked diligently to comply with the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors that required employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or receive a medical or religious exception with the University.

Yesterday, a federal court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that stops the federal government from enforcing the federal contractor vaccination/exception mandate pending further judicial review.

In light of this development, Michigan Tech will pause the implementation of the federal contractor vaccination/exception mandate, including the religious and medical exception process, until there is further legal clarity from the federal court system. If and when the mandate goes back into effect, vaccine compliance, as well as religious and medical exceptions already granted, will take effect, and exceptions will be available for those who have not yet completed the process.

We continue to encourage our employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and will host another vaccine clinic on January 12. In the meantime, the MTU Flex Task Force will keep the campus community updated as the situation develops, and the Michigan Tech campus will remain at Health and Safety Level Two.

Thank you again for your continued commitment to the health and well-being of our campus community.


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

by MTU Flex Task Force

MTU employees (including student employees) who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate, please be aware that the federal government has changed the date by which you must be in compliance. The new compliance date is January 18, which is later than the January 4 date previously communicated. Information on how to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exception is available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page

Appointments for the December 8 vaccination clinic in the Rozsa Center lobby are fully booked. A follow-up clinic is scheduled for January 12, 2022. The January clinic will be open to all faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public, and a reminder will be emailed when appointments become available. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be available for first, second, additional, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. 

We understand there is additional demand for these clinics and are exploring other opportunities with the Western UP Health Department (WUPHD). The clinics are operated by the Michigan National Guard in conjunction with the WUPHD and Michigan Tech.  

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 54 active cases confirmed on campus. While this number is down from previous weeks, please keep in mind that on-campus testing did not take place during the Thanksgiving Recess. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 17 confirmed cases per day (as of December 1). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Wastewater testing is getting back underway after the Thanksgiving Recess. We will know more about recent sample results next week. None of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing is available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested and no appointment is needed. COVID-19 testing will conclude for the fall semester on December 16.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


Vaccination Clinic Reminder and New Vaccination/Exception Compliance Date

by MTU Flex Task Force

Michigan Tech is offering the first of two on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 9-5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8 in the Rozsa Center lobby. This clinic and the follow-up clinic offered on Jan. 12, 2022 will be open to all faculty, staff, and students as well as the general public. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech will be available for first, second, third, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. Please schedule your appointment online. The clinics are operated by the Michigan National Guard in conjunction with the Western UP Health Department and Michigan Tech.

For MTU employees (including student employees) who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate, please be aware that the federal government has changed the date by which you must be in compliance. The new compliance date is January 18, which is later than the January 4 date previously communicated. 

Information on how to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exception is available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 19, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

When we all return to campus after Thanksgiving, Michigan Tech will offer the first of two on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 9-5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8 in the Rozsa Center lobby. This clinic and the follow-up clinic offered on Jan. 12, 2022 will be open to all faculty, staff, and students as well as the general public. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech will be available for first, second, third, and booster doses for anyone age 12 or older. The clinics are operated by the Michigan National Guard in conjunction with the Western UP Health Department and Michigan Tech. In order to gauge interest, the MTU Flex team will be sending a poll via text later today to the campus community.

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 114 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 41 confirmed cases per day (as of November 17). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 14 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

For MTU employees (including student employees) who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate, please be aware that you must be in compliance by January 4. Information on how to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exception is available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page. Employees who need until January 10 to comply with the vaccine mandate or receive an exception should work with Human Resources to obtain a temporary accommodation.

There will be no on-campus testing the week of Michigan Tech’s Thanksgiving Recess, November 22-26. Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing will resume when students return to campus on November 29 and will be available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested and no appointment is needed. COVID-19 testing will conclude for the fall semester on December 16.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 12, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 72 active cases confirmed on campus. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 21 confirmed cases per day (as of November 10). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 32 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

For MTU employees (including student employees) who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate, please be aware that you must be in compliance by January 4. Information on how to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exception is available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page. Employees who need until January 10 to comply with the vaccine mandate or receive an exception should work with Human Resources to obtain a temporary accommodation.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing will be available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday next week in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed. There will be no on-campus testing the week of Michigan Tech’s Thanksgiving Recess, November 22-26. Testing will resume when students return to campus on November 29 and will conclude for the fall semester on December 16.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status. 


MTU Flex Team Summary for the Week Ending November 5, 2021

by MTU Flex Task Force

Our moving 14-day total of detected COVID-19 cases stands at 51 active cases confirmed on campus. While this number is down from last week, please keep in mind that on-campus testing did not take place Monday and Tuesday due to equipment issues. Houghton County has a seven-day average of 25 confirmed cases per day (as of November 3). Please continue to report positive test results, whether you are using an at-home test or a PCR test outside of our Michigan Tech testing center, using the Report a COVID-19 Test form.

Our wastewater testing program is ongoing and results are consistent with the University’s confirmed case count. Approximately 36 percent of our on-campus isolation space was occupied as of 10 a.m. this morning.

Based on updated guidance from the federal government, the University must be in compliance with the federal contractor vaccination mandate by January 4, which is earlier than the January 10 date previously communicated. Employees who need until January 10 to comply with the vaccine mandate or receive an exception should work with Human Resources to obtain a temporary accommodation.

On November 1, Human Resources emailed all MTU employees, including student employees, detailed information regarding how to submit proof of vaccination in order to comply with the federal contractor vaccination mandate. That information is now available on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page and on the MTU Flex blog. Instructions for applying for an exception can also be found on the Vaccination for Federal Contractors web page.

Walk-in, on-demand COVID-19 testing resumed on Thursday this week and will be available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday next week in the Datolite Room at the MUB from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to be tested, and no appointment is needed.

We strongly encourage all members of our community to monitor themselves on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19. Please be aware that if you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine guidelines vary depending on vaccination status.


Process for Federal Mandate Compliance

by Renee Hiller, Director of Human Resources

On October 22, President Koubek’s email to the campus community announced that Michigan Tech will comply with requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on September 24. 

Compliance means the University must implement the new federal vaccination/exception mandate for all University employees who work in the United States, even if they work remotely. At Michigan Tech, this mandate will go into effect January 10, 2022. It will apply to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. It will also include student employees.

For employees who are fully vaccinated, submitting proof of vaccination will be a secure and confidential process. Vaccinated employees may submit proof using these methods: 

Online — MTU Flex Portal

You may submit a picture of your vaccination card or other valid proof of vaccination using the Vaccination Upload Form. The form is now available on the MTU Flex Portal. You will need to log in securely using your ISO. Please follow the upload instructions—you will only be able to upload once. All documentation must be clear and legible. Once you log in through the secure site, you’ll be asked to upload and submit a picture of your vaccination card or other valid proof of vaccination. Supported file types are JPG, JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Once you submit your proof, it will be reviewed and you will be notified via email when it has been accepted or declined.

In Person — Rozsa Lobby

You may submit your proof of vaccination in person. Human Resources will verify vaccination at the Rozsa Lobby ticket window at the times listed below. Please note: You will need to provide identification in addition to the proof of vaccination.

  • Friday, November 5, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Monday, November 8, 8–10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, November 9, 3–5 p.m.
  • Monday, November 15, 12–2 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 18, 9–11 a.m. 

In Person — Human Resources Office

Employees are also welcome to stop in at the Human Resources Office on the second floor of the Lakeshore Center, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to show identification and proof of vaccination. Please bring the original documents that show vaccination and not copies (i.e., bring your vaccination card, not a photocopy). 

If you intend to apply for a medical or religious exception, please refer to the Vaccination for Federal Contractors page on the MTU Flex website for information on how to do so. Applications for exceptions will not be collected through the MTU Flex Portal, Rozsa Lobby, or Human Resources Office.