Decision Triggers and Thresholds

Decision triggers and thresholds are established to monitor the incidence of infection and exposure to COVID-19.  A combination of community and campus criteria may result in a change in campus restrictions, changes in format of course delivery, or partial or full closure of the university.

The content within the dashboard on this page relates to the key triggers and thresholds concerning campus-wide operations. Refer to the expandable sections below for further detail on the specific triggers and thresholds.

*Note: NMU’s leadership may modify this list or identify new triggers and thresholds as additional information and guidance becomes available

A significant upward shift in the daily number of positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan, across MERC Region 8, in Marquette County, and/or among NMU faculty, staff and students.   Disease incidence is monitored daily.

Threshold:  An increased trend in positive cases of COVID-19 over an established period at the state, regional, or county level. 

The capacity and capability of the local healthcare system, Upper Peninsula Health System (UPHS), to absorb and treat COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization and/or intensive care.   

Threshold:  The average daily number of positive cases requiring hospitalization, total COVID-19 staffed bed capacity, and the number and percentage of COVID-19 beds occupied.

  1. NMU will provide or coordinate episodic testing of those presenting with symptoms of disease, and conduct routine surveillance testing throughout the semester.  All positive tests will be reported to MCPH officials.

    • Capacity to ensure 100 percent testing of suspected cases and to conduct surveillance testing throughout the semester
    • 100 percent contact tracing capability by MCPH
    • At least 75 percent of contacts are identified, notified, and evaluated within one day. 
  1. A significant increase in COVID-19 cases on campus will adversely impact campus operations.  NMU will track the following:
    • Resident students who test positive for COVID-19 and their resident student contacts.
    • Non-resident students who test positive for COVID-19, and their contacts who regularly visit the NMU campus.
    • The total number of NMU students (housed on and off campus) who are positive for COVID-19, and their NMU-affiliated student contacts.  This total indicates the total student COVID-19 positive case load at NMU.    
    • The number and percentage of positive COVID-19 cases among faculty, and their on-campus contacts, whose absence due to isolation/quarantine will challenge continued campus operations.
    • The number and percentage of positive COVID-19 cases among campus staff, and their on-campus contacts, whose absence due to isolation/quarantine will challenge continued campus operations.
    • Resident students: 28 of students housed on campus if each has 4 or more contacts.
    • Non-resident students: The number of positive cases (and their NMU-affiliated contacts), when combined with the number of positive resident students (and resident student contacts), provide a total student positive case and contact count that challenges continuing academic activities.  For planning, a starting number is 7 percent of the student body.
      • For faculty, the number of positive cases, and faculty contacts, will be monitored and evaluated to determine the impact on continuing classes, which will vary by academic department.   
      • For staff, the number of positive cases, and contacts (who are also NMU personnel), will be monitored to determine the ability to continue providing essential support services to campus.

The ability to isolate and/or quarantine all students housed on campus who test positive (cases) or who are known to have been in contact with a positive case (contact) is essential for limiting the spread of COVID-19 on the campus.

Threshold: 93% of isolation and/or quarantine capacity of Spalding Hall is reached (140 rooms occupied.

Any COVID-19-related death of a student, faculty or staff member

Threshold: any death will prompt a review of campus operational status

Decisions made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and campus operations will be posted on the Safe On Campus website at  Questions and comments can be sent to