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.


University Increases Some Capacity Limits

by MTU Flex Task Force

As a result of Michigan Tech’s low to steady COVID-19 positivity rate, the University has increased capacity limits for both indoor and outdoor situations. 

Effectively immediately, the capacities for indoor events such as registered student organization events and community rentals have increased to 25. Additionally, 50 people are now permitted at outdoor events.


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.


Tips for Travel in the Time of COVID-19

by Mark Wilcox, University Marketing and Communications

Michigan Tech’s Fall Break starts today (Oct. 15) with classes and activities suspended until Monday (Oct. 19). Some students and staff are taking advantage of the break to return home to reconnect with family and friends, while many will stay close to campus practicing physical distancing and other behaviors to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Traveling during the pandemic is a topic most of us have thought about, from this “mini-vacation,” to the much longer upcoming holiday breaks. Traveling in and of itself is really not the issue, according to epidemiologist Kelly Kamm (KIP) — the behavior we practice while traveling is. “The rules have certainly changed,” said Kamm. “We have to have a mindset that we are at risk by who we come into contact with and, conversely, we could be putting those who come into contact with us at risk.”


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.


Be Smart. Do Your Part: Office Cleaning and Maintenance Guidance for Departments

by Administration

Because on-campus activity continues to be limited this semester, custodial services have been redistributed. Campus buildings are serviced on a rotating schedule using a team staffing approach. Custodial staff prioritizes public areas and open restrooms when they are in your building. They will not clean or check departmental areas and individual offices.

We need you to continue to do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure campus operations continue safely and efficiently. Here’s what we expect of employees – we appreciate your help:


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.


Please Report All Test Results

by MTU Flex Team

Data is one of the key tools Michigan Tech is using to try to find COVID-19 cases quickly, stop the spread and keep the campus community and our local community safe.

In the ongoing efforts to keep our community as safe and informed as possible in the midst of the current global coronavirus pandemic, Michigan Tech asks employees who have had a COVID-19 test and work on campus to inform the University via the Report a COVID-19 Test Form, which has been added to the MTU Flex Portal.

If you have received a COVID-19 test, Michigan Tech needs certain information regarding that test, including the date of the test, the result of the test, the date when symptoms, if any, were first experienced and your last date on campus.