The following pandemic-related processes and protocols have been approved by the NMU Executive Council:

When a class is moved to an alternative location, including outdoors, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Masks must be worn if six foot social distance cannot be maintained at all times for all students.
  2. The classroom space must meet any ADA guidelines necessary.
  3. The faculty member must follow AAUP Master Agreement 6.2.3 “Any change in time or location of a scheduled class must have prior approval of the department head, and the faculty member is expected to give students timely notification of the change.”

Students that are unable to attend class for reasons associated with coronavirus or possible coronavirus symptoms will be excused and offered an online (synchronous or asynchronous) option or other option. Students are responsible for all course work. Each syllabi should clearly outline the method the student should use to contact the instructor in case of coronavirus or possible coronavirus symptoms.

The Executive Council approved the Academic work group’s recommendation that students who are unable to attend class for reasons associated with coronavirus or possible coronavirus symptoms will be excused and offered an online (synchronous or asynchronous) option or other option. Students are responsible for all course work.  (See University Bulletin, Course Attendance: Students are responsible for all course work whether or not their absence is excused.)  This meets the American College Health Association’s guideline that universities’ pandemic planning include “development of attendance and excuse policies that acknowledge and support students who become ill without creating barriers and without requiring unnecessary visits to the health facilities for documentation of illness."

The Academic work group recommended and the Executive Council approved that we use the preceding three designations for all Fall 2020 courses:

  1. Face to Face – these are courses that will meet entirely face to face.  These courses must be scheduled for classrooms where there is sufficient room for the entire class to meet with proper social distance.
  2. Modified on-campus – these are courses that will meet on campus and have a face to face component.  The face to face component may include a subset of the class at any one time.  Face to face components may also include a laboratory or discussion session, practicum or other in person activity as determined by the instructor. 
  3. Online – these are traditional web based courses that will meet entirely online and will not have any face to face interaction. 

For courses that require transportation to a study site remote from the classroom the Academic work group made the following recommendation, which was approved by the Executive Council:

University Vans or other university vehicles can be utilized if, every time a university vehicle is used for a trip:

  • Students attest to not having Covid-19 symptoms 
  • Students attest to not having exposure risk factors (travel or known exposure)
  • Students wear masks in the vehicle 
  • Students have the option to opt out

True “opting out” means that:

  • The options do not result in a meaningful disadvantage to the student (attend this field trip or flunk the class would be a choice that causes disadvantage)
  • The other options can allow for use of personal vehicles
  • The other options should allow for alternate activities for persons who have risk factors or symptoms. (Reduces the reasons to lie about symptoms or risk factors). 
  • The other options should allow for students who are at higher risk for serious health repercussions should they be exposed to the virus.

The Executive Council has approved the Facilities work group’s recommendation for the cleaning protocol during the pandemic emergency period.  The full cleaning plan is available for review. All of the University’s academic communal areas, classrooms, labs without equipment sensitive to fine mists, sports and recreation areas, and all high-touch point areas will be sprayed with an antimicrobial protectant coating (MicrobeCare). Aqueous Ozone will be used for daily routine cleaning. The Building and Grounds attendants will sanitize classrooms and university communal spaces every day.  Classrooms will be done and timestamped prior to 8 a.m.  Communal spaces will be cleaned 2-3 times per day. Building and Grounds will sanitize shared spaces such as conference rooms, reception areas and break rooms daily. Department staff will be provided the University’s preferred cleaning supplies for sanitizing shared items, such as printers, copiers, coffee stations and microwaves. Employees and student employees will be responsible for cleaning their own work stations/desk and personal work items, such as their phone headset and computer keyboard, with the cleaning supplies provided to each department.

In order to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 test the following conditions will be implemented in all face to face classes:

1) A seating chart indicating the location of each student will be maintained and enforced.  Faculty can either assign seating or can allow students to self-select seats and then record locations.  Faculty should be aware that there may be students in the class that, for accommodation, may need specific seating requirements.  

2)  Attendance at each class meeting needs to be recorded.  This record can be in any form such as, but not limited to, taking roll, giving a credit –bearing or non-credit quiz, taking a picture of the class once seated etc.

3) When classes are held at an alternative location it is important that attendance be recorded.

4) At the request of an authorized contact tracer, the faculty member will provide both the seating chart and attendance for the requested day(s) or individuals.

The Executive Council approved the Academic work group’s recommendations regarding providing students the following course accommodations:

Mask modification accommodation-- If a student receives a mask modification accommodation: 

  • A letter of accommodation will be issued to the student to be shared with instructors.
  • A business sized card will be issued indicating the student has a mask modification accommodation

A mask modification accommodation does not automatically mean that the student can attend class or be in public areas without a face covering.  Accommodation may include other options.

Remote learning accommodation -- If a student receives a remote learning accommodation, disability services, the student and the instructor will work together to determine the appropriate remote synchronous learning options.

All NMU students, faculty and staff should sign up and participate in the COVID-19 testing taking place at the Passport to Campus 2021 event, taking place Jan. 6-18.  The cost of the test is covered by the University. Individuals who need a medical exemption regarding the test should follow the University’s standard procedure for medical exemptions.  Click here to sign up for Passport to Campus 2021 and a testing time.

The Executive Council has approved the joint recommendation of the Academic and Health Matters work groups to allow sips of water and morsels of food in class at it relates to addressing medical issues and maintaining health, providing an individual’s face mask is only marginally disturbed, not largely or completely removed, and continues to cover all of the nose and most of one’s mouth.

In order to adhere to the State of Michigan Executive Order 2020-153, this recommendation is approved as follows:

  • For on-campus indoor public space, persons may remove a mask to eat or drink ONLY at areas specifically designated for SEATED DINING.  Designated seated dining areas will have signs and will be limited to one hour of use. A complete list of designated seated dining areas can be found here. 
  • When not in a designated food service dining area, persons may only eat or drink to the extent that it is possible to slightly shift the mask to take a discrete sip of a drink or bite of food. In no case will the mask be fully removed for this.
  • The library allows discrete food and drink consumption in signed areas. Face masks may not be fully removed. There are no waivers to this rule allowed for laboratory space.

Students who have a medical reason to be allowed to eat or drink in classrooms are encouraged to privately discuss this with the instructor; Disability Services reports that these types of allowances typically do not require a formal medical accommodation. Alternately, they may work with Disability Services for a medical accommodation. Employees may request a similar medical accommodation through the Human Resources office.  

Propping self-closing doors to department offices, classrooms, labs, restrooms, etc., is not permitted due to door maintenance issues, fire safety codes, and impact on effectiveness of heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

Per state executive order, all open drinking water stations on the NMU campus have been made inoperable. However, bottle filling stations on drinking fountains remain operational

The Executive Council has approved the recommendation that the maximum capacity for elevators on the NMU campus is two (non-family unit) individuals at any one time. Family units (i.e. a prospective family visiting campus, 3-4 student who live in a residential hall suite) with more than two can ride together. Elevator push buttons will be sprayed with MicrobeCare. Social distancing requirement will be communicated through signage of the maximum capacity. No barriers will be installed.

The expected behaviors of students while on and off campus during the pandemic emergency period is outlined in the Official University Requirement/Request.  This is the document referenced in the NMU Student Conduct Code that allows the University to implement temporary processes and procedures during situations not already covered in the Student Code.  The full COVID-19 Pandemic Official University Requirement/Request approved by the Executive Council can be found here. Students will be asked to attest to the NMU Campus Community Compact to verify their understanding the University’s expectations. Among the expected behaviors include wearing face coverings as outline in the face covering protocol, social distancing, and adhering to all executive order mandates of the State of Michigan.

The Executive Council approved the Academic work group’s recommendation to waive the AAUP Master Agreement (6.3.2) and the NMUFA contract (12.4) requirements of a minimum of one-third of office hours in person (AAUP) or regularly and posted office hours at professional location (NMUFA) and allow all office hours to be conducted virtually.  The choice to hold in person office hours will be left to the discretion of each faculty member.

A face covering over one’s nose and mouth is required to be worn everywhere on campus except when you are alone in your private office, your personal living space, when outside and not near any other individuals, or when you are the sole individual in a University vehicle. This policy is being enforced through the Official University Requirement – NMU Student Code of Conduct (students) and as a condition of employment at NMU (employees).

More Mask Information

NMU students or employees who wish to receive medical (or other) exemptions related to COVID-19 will be asked to follow the University’s standard ADA process for medical exemptions.  For students, the process is handled by the NMU Disability Services Office and for employees, the NMU Human Resources Office.

See “Expected Student Behavior.”

Following the state mandates, patrons of the NMU PEIF and Wildcat Fit Zone recreation facilities be required to use face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times when in the facility, including while working out. Those who fail to do so will be immediately escorted from the building and may face employee or student disciplinary actions; community members risk losing their membership.

All Northern students and employees are strongly encouraged to remain in Region 8 (the Upper Peninsula) once arriving for the Winter 2021 semester and staying in Region 8 until its completion on May 1. Members of the University community who travel outside Region 8 for personal travel should be prepared to be tested and/or self-quarantine for up to 14 days if the University deems these actions necessary.

The EC approves the recommendation that the Safety and Risk Management work group review and recommend to the department Dean for approval, any modification to PPE or health hygiene required for classrooms. The approval process so that faculty do not enact other exceptions to our required practices without proper approval. All PPE ordering during the 2020-21 academic year should go through the NMU Safety Department in order to help with cost control through bulk ordering.

Prior to clinical placements, practicums, internships, student teaching or other credit earning off-campus activities a copy of the affiliation agreement needs to be forwarded to Mike Bath and Risk management ( 

For organizations in Michigan, Risk Management will contact them for their Executive Order required safety plan. Risk management will check that:

  1. The required safety plan exists
  2. It meets the minimum safety criteria for Michigan
  3. It has contact information and a procedure if there is a discrepancy between safety plan and actual practice.

For organizations outside of Michigan:

  1. The department should request a written COVID-19 safety plan that includes contact information and procedure for discrepancy between the safety plan and actual practice.
  2. The safety plan will be approved by Mike Bath and/or Risk Management

Prior to beginning the credit earning off-campus activity the student will be asked to review the organization’s safety plan and will sign and submit a Northern Michigan University Informed Consent and Release Form. ( Completion of the student review and signed consent should be noted on all registration forms.

All University restrooms with have a stated room capacity that must be maintained.  The room capacity and social distancing requirements will be communicated through signage.  No fixtures are being removed or additional barriers being installed, so university community members are expected to follow the social distancing communication in each rest room.

All NMU employees, including student employees, must review Northern’s Preparedness document and complete the employee attestation survey before returning to work.

Nearly every room of the NMU campus has been assigned a room capacity based on the social distancing requirements of the state’s executive order.  Classroom and lab spaces will be clearly marked with room capacity of how many students are allowed in the room at one time.  The faculty member is not included in that posted number but can be in the room in addition to that many students.  Faculty members do not have the ability to change the maximum cap of their class sections during the fall 2020 semester due to the strict room capacity parameters.

Per state order and as a CDC guideline, Northern expects its students, employees and visitors to maintain a minimum social distance of six feet at all times, unless in an area or activity that has been approved for a lesser distance.  One EC-approved exception, based on the recommendation of the Safety work group, is that the both the Nursing and Clinical Lab Science departments be approved to allow reduced social distancing for specific classes as recommended by the department heads, as long as additional PPE, accompanied by training is enacted at the same time. The practices that the department heads are recommending correspond to hospital practices.

The Executive Council approves the recommendation of the Student Activities for which on-campus fall activities should be held as normal, modified or cancelled.  One caveat is that club and intramural sports may be subject to cancellation pending decisions related to intercollegiate athletics as well as safety guidelines of various recreation sports associations. 

View more information on upcoming student activities as well as how to host student group and campus-wide activities during the pandemic

The Academic work group recommended and the Executive Council approved that there be no university-sponsored study abroad for the Winter 2021 semester.  This includes no student exchanges and no faculty-led study abroad. Students planning to study abroad for Winter 2021 through third-party vendor assume the risk of foreign travel during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. If a student returns from study abroad before the end of the semester they would be required to quarantine for two weeks and/or be tested prior to returning to campus.

TRAVEL RESTRICTION LIFTED:  Northern lifted its pandemic university travel restriction as of Monday, May 10, for students and employees who are fully vaccinated, meaning have both received the full complement of vaccine shots and completed the subsequent two-week inoculation period. This applies to any travel that uses university funds. Proof of vaccination must be provided to the NMU Health Center by uploading a copy of one’s vaccination card or other vaccination documentation into The Bridge app prior to the dates of travel.  This new policy adheres to the most current CDC recommendation regarding domestic and international travel.

Two people are permitted to travel in a university vehicle providing both are wearing masks.  This is a change from the earlier approved recommendation of just one person per vehicle with no masks required.  If you are the sole person in a vehicle, no mask is required.

Northern Michigan University is prohibiting physical campus visits for non-NMU individuals and groups into NMU classroom and living areas for the 2020-21 academic year (and possibly beyond, as needed). Visits to any other areas on campus by non-NMU individuals are encouraged to be done virtually whenever possible as a way to help protect our community from COVID-19.  In-person visits from guests should be done outdoors, when possible, or in facilities that do not house classrooms, labs or on-campus living spaces. Approved exceptions for visitors are the Northern Center, the NMU Sports Complex, and the modified Admissions Office campus visit program. All visitors must follow the NMU Visitor Guidelines, which include proper masks and social distancing. Northern reserves the right to impose visitor restrictions to the full campus or any part of campus without notice. Full guidelines.