Dear Michigan Tech parents, families, and guardians:
In light of the aggressive spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implied that Michigan Tech should leverage the timing of the University’s spring break in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus in our campus community. Therefore, the University made the decision to temporarily transition from face-to-face classes to an online format and allow students to remain off campus while completing classes virtually, if they choose. This does mean that Michigan Tech’s educational delivery method will change for a period of time. However, we believe that our faculty, staff, and students deserve the widest possible breadth of options to prioritize their health and safety.
I thought I might take a moment to provide you all with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we are receiving relevant to our student experience. Please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and circumstances can change rapidly. The most up-to-date information is available at mtu.edu/covid-19.
I will keep you updated as the situation evolves.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
How long will it take to stand up online learning environments? Are students required to participate or can they opt to withdraw from the University and re-enroll next semester?
Virtual classes will be available to all students by Wednesday, March 18, including labs and seminars. Students may opt to withdraw from Michigan Tech and re-enroll next semester, if they choose. The deadline to withdraw from the University with a grade of “W” has been extended to week 14.
What quality controls are in place for online instruction?
For many years, Michigan Tech has been offering more and more classes online. Currently, about one-quarter of our instructional staff have received intensive training on how to deliver online classes. These individuals are a great resource for the University and their colleagues. For others who need additional assistance, the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will be working with faculty to transition their courses to an online format in the next few days.
Faculty will be using a variety of tools and platforms to deliver courses—these include Google Collaborate, Zoom, Canvas, and other platforms already in use across campus. Much of the software faculty and students need for courses is available for free download thanks to Michigan Tech’s IT group.
For lab-based courses, instructors may video and narrate demonstrations. Others may choose to use simulations. And others may ask students to conduct experiments at home.
What should I do if my student has not received instructions for online course delivery from their professor?
Faculty are to notify students by Wednesday, March 18, 2020, regarding online course delivery. If your student has not received instructions from their faculty member by that time, please send an email to email@example.com. Please include the course, section number, and name of the professor in your email.
Will Michigan Tech provide prorated refunds on tuition, housing, or dining plans if my student withdraws or is no longer living on campus?
Normal policies apply with regards to refunds on tuition and room and board. If your student remains enrolled at Michigan Tech, but chooses not to return to campus, no prorated refunds on room and board will be offered at this time. Should the University resume face-to-face instruction in the coming weeks, all students will likely return to the residence halls for the remainder of the semester.
Why did Michigan Tech decide to keep the residence and dining halls open?
Michigan Tech made the decision to keep the residence and dining halls open because most of our students travel a significant distance to attend the University and our hope is that this will be a temporary situation. In addition, some students have nowhere else to live. However, as indicated in President Koubek’s email, Michigan Tech strongly advises high-risk populations to not return to campus and remain at their permanent place of residence.
How are you keeping our students safe?
We understand there is some concern about large student groups congregating in the dormitories or dining halls. Our facility services staff underwent additional sanitation training on Thursday, March 12, 2020, and will implement stringent cleaning protocols throughout campus beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020. Additional hand sanitizer stations and disinfectant wipes are being installed in strategic areas. Dining Services is preparing to transition to disposable food serviceware as well as offering takeout service and grab-and-go food kiosks in our dining halls to minimize personal contact. Appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventive public health and hygiene measures will also be expected of our students. To reinforce this behavior, the University has installed additional hygiene protocol signage around campus. We are implementing a revised on-campus visitor protocol that prohibits anyone who fits in the following categories from being on campus:
• Are infected with COVID-19
• Believe they may be infected with COVID-19
• Believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days
• Travelled internationally within the last 14 days
In addition, specific buildings, laboratories, and residential housing may have even stricter protocol that applies given the nature and use of each individual space.
If my student’s roommate falls ill (regardless of the sickness), will you allow my student to move rooms?
Students in this situation should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional guidance.
Will you continue with commencement?
Commencement is still scheduled as planned. The University will reconsider this decision in early April in consultation with local health officials and CDC guidance.
Will the library and other student support offices remain open?
Currently, the library and other student support offices are operating normally. Hours of operation and services offered may change as the situation evolves. These decisions will be made based on the health, safety, and well-being of our students and employees.
Will Michigan Tech offer academic support services such as career and counseling services for students who do not return to campus?
Yes. Student support services, counseling services, and case management will be provided virtually, where they are feasible. If students are ill, we will request they participate in counseling via telephone or video. More information about virtual support services will be provided at mtu.edu/covid-19 as information becomes available.
My student lives in a county or has visited a county with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Will he/she be allowed to return to campus?
Students who live in a county with confirmed cases will be allowed to return as long as they self-monitor for 14 days. Self-monitoring includes checking for a fever twice per day and remaining alert for a cough or difficulty breathing. Any student or employee who has completed travel internationally OR believes they may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus will not be allowed to return to campus for a 14-day period. The 14-day period commences from their date of return or their last day of suspected contact.