Returning to Campus
The return to campus for most of you will begin with the Passport to Campus event. You will register for a time slot during the week of August 10 where you will participate in a COVID-19 screening test*, receive your NMU facemasks, and be given the resources you need to have a healthy, successful year at NMU.
While some activities have been canceled, many will be held with modifications that include social distancing.
Official University Communiciations
The university's formal method of communicating decisions made about related to the pandemic is email to your NMU account.
Student Responsibilities and Safety Protocols During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Northern Michigan University being one of the nation’s friendliest, most helpful campuses is not simply a ranking our institution has enjoyed. It is a Wildcat tradition to support and take care of one another. In fact, furthering the NMU community is formally one of the University’s eight core values. Community, we have collectively stated, is about being collaborative, on campus and off, and about valuing partnership and service to each other, the community, and the region. This commitment to each other, our campus community and the region may never be more important or evident as it is during the current COVID-19 worldwide pandemic when our individual and collective actions may literally be life-saving.
The actions necessary of all students (as well as faculty, staff and campus visitors) to keep our campus safe from the community-wide spread of the COVID-19 virus are simultaneously easy and hard. In general, the more closely you interact with others, and the longer the interaction, the higher risk of COVID-19 spread.
To help keep the Wildcat community safe, NMU students are asked to practice the following recommendations while on campus:
NMU Students will use a face covering while in all indoor spaces (other than their own private residence):
- General: A face covering is required when in a public indoor space, including without limitation classrooms, study spaces, hallways, the library, etc. unless an exception applies (See EO 2020-147). Wearing a face covering is recommended but not required in outdoor spaces, unless social distancing requirements (at least 6 feet) cannot be consistently maintained in which case a face covering is required. NMU will provide two cloth face masks to each student and students are allowed to wear their own as well. Ensure the mask covers both the nose and mouth. For more information about face masks, including how to wear and care for one, visit the CDC website.
- Accommodation to wear a face shield: Persons unable to wear a cloth face mask due to a medical condition may apply for a medical exemption to allow them to wear a plexiglass face shield instead. Contact NMU Disability Services to request accommodation. Note that medical support in accordance with CDC guidelines will be required.
- Accommodation to wear NO face covering: There are very few medical conditions that warrant wearing neither a face mask or a face shield. Students may apply to receive an accommodation to wear NO face covering by contacting NMU Disability Services. Medical support in accordance with CDC guidelines will be required before this accommodation is granted.
- Residence Halls: While in the residence halls, you may only remove the face covering in your own personal room/apartment/suite. Keep the face mask on in all common areas of the residence halls, including hallways, TV rooms, study rooms, etc. You are welcome to keep the mask on while in your suite and we recommend that you wear it if people from other residence halls visit your private residence.
- Dining: In Michigan, you may remove your face covering after you are seated in a dining facility, but not while you walk through the dining space or choose food from a buffet. You cannot enter a dining facility without wearing a face covering. Keep your face covering on while you wait to pick up carry-out food as well.
- Other exceptions: Exceptions to wearing a facial covering have been identified for specific classroom settings. These can be initiated by the classroom instructor but only after receiving approval from the curriculum’s Dean. For example, the mask may be removed while playing certain types of musical instruments.
NMU Students will avoid close contact with and maintain at least a 6-foot “social distance” from, people outside their household whenever possible:
Keep six feet, or two arm’s lengths, away from others to slow the spread of the virus. When assessing risk, remember that social distancing is not a replacement for face coverings. Sitting or standing face-to-face is more risky than sitting shoulder-to-shoulder or walking single file. Short contact times are less risky than prolonged contact. Each classroom and lab space has been assessed and marked to ensure that they comply with the State’s most recent requirements for social distancing.
- Choose outside: When you are walking on campus, the CDC reports that it is typically safer to walk outdoors. It is still best practice to keep your mask on while outdoors, and definitely keep it on, even in outdoor space, if you find that contact closer than 6 feet is occurring.
- Hallways: While walking in hallways, make an effort to stay 6 feet from others, but walking single file is safer than meeting face-to-face. When walking in hallways during high-traffic times, stay to the right side: keep your right shoulder closest to the wall. Keep the middle of the hallway empty as much as possible.
- Exterior Doors: Some exterior doors have been marked as entrance-only or exit-only to adhere to State of Michigan guidelines. This will disrupt some traditional walking patterns. The doors are not blocked or locked because that could cause a fire hazard, but please adhere to the entrance and exit signs to help with distancing. The general rule for choosing which door to use is to stay to the right.
- Room Occupancy: All public rooms on campus have been assessed for maximum occupancy. You will see signs indicating the maximum number of people (for general rooms) or maximum number of students (for classrooms) allowed.
- Seating and lab stations: Besides occupancy, spaces have been adjusted to stagger seating and laboratory work spaces to increase social distance and minimize face-to-face exposure.
- Interior Doors: For some classrooms, there have been designated entrance and exit signs. When the doors are not marked, wait until most of the students have left the classroom before entering.
- Waiting: Instructors have been reminded to end classes on time. Students can do their part to help with social distancing by leaving classrooms quickly after classes are over and not arriving for classes more than 5 minutes before instruction begins. When waiting, consider social distancing and space yourself apart from others.
- Your household: A household includes the persons living in your house, apartment, suite, or room. In university housing, this ONLY includes the persons in your apartment, suite, or room (NOT your whole hall or building). You may sit closer than 6 feet with your roommate/suitemate(s) while dining or in social spaces. However, you must remain 6 feet apart in classrooms, even when in class with a roommate/suitemate.
- Chairs/Sinks/Other Equipment: To remind people about social distancing, some equipment, such as sinks in large bathrooms and chairs in large areas have been marked with reminders to skip every other chair or to stay 6 feet apart. Honor these reminders.
- Elevators: We expect no more than two persons in each elevator.
- Close Contact: If contact closer than 6 feet is required, use a face mask and a physical divider, such as a plexiglass shield and/or other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to minimize possible viral contact. Physical dividers have been installed in the classrooms and office spaces where close contact is anticipated.
- Floor Stickers: Honor the social distancing cues, such as floor stickers, distance tape, or rope dividers.
- Some courses will include specific instruction about additional PPE so that the students may work closer than 6 feet. For example, certain health care classes will wear additional PPE rather than adhering to social distancing guidelines. If additional PPE is required, your instructor will show you what is required and how to wear and store it. This PPE will be provided to you by the department or university.
- Social gatherings: The State of Michigan has limited the number of people allowed together in indoor and outdoor spaces. The limits consider the space size and ability to adhere to social distancing requirements. Face coverings are required. See the State of Michigan Executive Orders for the most recent requirement.
- A note about demonstrations: NMU encourages free speech. Historically, protests and demonstrations have been a key factor in moving social issues to the forefront. If you demonstrate, stay safe, and keep others safe, with face coverings and social distancing.
NMU students will:
- Stay home if they feel sick.
- Quarantine if they have been exposed to someone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, as recommended by a health-care provider.
- Isolate if diagnosed with a current COVID-19 infection.
- Abide by Health Department and University Health Center orders to isolate and/or quarantine.
The words “quarantine” and “isolate” have specific definitions during a pandemic. Quarantine means to separate and restrict the movement of people who have been exposed while waiting to see if they become sick. The word isolate means to separate sick people diagnosed with a contagious disease. NMU expects students who feel unwell to stay home, meaning do NOT physically attend class, go to work, or otherwise expose others to the (potential) COVID-19 virus.
Your faculty have been working over the summer to develop guidelines and accommodations to ensure that persons who feel well enough can stay home while continuing to learn. Most faculty call this “remote instruction” or “remote learning.” The class syllabus will contain information about how to both report when you feel ill and request remote learning for some period of time.
Students with symptoms of COVID-19 or who believe they should be tested based on exposure are encouraged to contact their primary physician or the NMU Health Center at 227-2355. If you need emergency care, call 911.
People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, exposed to a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, or are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test must follow the most current CDC guidelines. The details for these requirements have been rapidly changing, so your healthcare provider will guide you for your particular situation. In certain situations, you may be ordered by a public health authority or the NMU Health center to isolate or quarantine.
NMU has set aside a separate residence hall for persons with a COVID-related diagnosis. Any student living on campus and diagnosed with an active COVID-19 virus must leave their residence hall room for either the designated NMU isolation hall or another location where they will not come into contact with NMU students, faculty or staff for the required isolation period. Failure to isolate or leave the hall will result in a temporary suspension.
A federal regulation requires universities to issue an email to all students if the Health Department is notified that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. Do not panic. This is called a timely warning and this helps our Health Department perform contact tracing. The warning will help inform about where the test-positive person has been and keep NMU students informed about any identified community spread.
On campus jobs:
If you work on campus, you will receive additional information, including information about mandatory self-screening, in the Campus Preparedness and Response Plan.
Finally, as always, practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover coughs and sneezes – use a tissue or the inside of your elbow to cover your mouth and nose. Immediately wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
About Official University Requirement and Requests:
The requirements above are enforceable according to the provision for Official Requests under the NMU Student Code. The Requirement was issued by NMU's Executive Council on July 13, 2020. Violation of the student code may result in disciplinary action.
University Official Requests are authorized by the NMU Student Code Section 2.3.5-Compliance with Official Requests. The Code states:
.01 - No students shall fail to comply with reasonable and lawful requests or direction by University officials, or officially recognized volunteers acting in performance of their official duties.
.02 - No students shall fail to answer promptly to summons from University officials.
FAQ: How Do I Report Someone Who Is Not Complying?
The general answer is that students do not have to report people who are not complying. While our health depends on keeping COVID-19 from spreading to our community, students are only expected to govern their own health practices. If it seems safe to remind others of our expectations, feel free to do so, but no reporting is required.
The Dean of Students Office reaches out to any student who has been identified as not adhering to the Student Code requirements. So if someone seems to blatantly ignore the safety and health rules, you may contact the Dean of Students Office at DOS@nmu.edu with the student’s name and a brief description of the requirement violation. The Dean of Students Office will send a reminder to the student or escalate the issue to an appropriate level.
Some students have qualified for medical exemptions to some of the rules. The University is using a system to keep track of any medical exemption from wearing a cloth face mask. These exemptions were developed using medical and legal advice. Persons who receive a medical exemption will have evidence from the Disability Services Coordinator, but they are not required to present it to other students. Also, your faculty will know if anyone in their classroom has received a medical accommodation. If there is an issue in the classroom, your faculty will handle it.
Our dining areas have to follow State of Michigan rules, and must deny face-to-face ordering and seated dining to persons not wearing face coverings or otherwise not adhering to good health practices. Dining services can also use information coded in the dining system to confirm medical exemptions.