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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation in stemming the spread of COVID-19. We’re looking forward to a great semester.