NMU delays the start of classes; Controls KN-95 Masks, Double Masks

No lessons from Monday to Tuesday January 10-11, 2022
Distance learning course from Wednesday to Friday from January 12 to 14, 2022
Commercial operations remain open all week

Dear campus community:

Unfortunately, the number of COVID infections in Marquette and surrounding counties continues to rise. With that in mind, the COVID team met today to assess and evaluate our protocols. Since Omicron is highly infectious and fabric masks offer little to no prevention, it has been determined that our masking protocols need to change. We are also convinced that everyone on our campus (employees and students) should have the type of masks that offer better protection against COVID and in particular its variant, the Omicron.

Modified masking protocol:
Evidence documents that the best masks for prevention, or at least for lowering the risk of contracting COVID (Omicron in particular), are to wear an N95, KN95, or KF94 mask. Sheet masks offer little or no prevention. Therefore, starting Monday (January 10), all campus employees are obligatory to wear an N95, KN95 or KF94 mask. As announced in my email of January 6, these masks are already available for employees (2 per person) at the University Police Department, located in the Services Pavilion.

Employees, if you have not yet collected your masks, please do so before the close of business on Monday (January 10). If before this date you do not have a multi-layered mask and are using a cloth mask, you are required to double the mask, which provides increased protection.

Availability of masks for students and classes this week:
The university has ordered 12,000 KN95 masks for students; these masks are supposed to arrive this week on Wednesday (January 12). This means that they will not be widely available to students until later in the week and on weekends. Given this logistics, the decision has been taken to cancel the Monday and Tuesday classes (January 10-11) and to schedule distance education for the rest of this week (January 12-14) with the exception of laboratories and clinics. We believe we have enough KN95 masks for students and faculty to run their labs and clinics as planned. We recognize that these types of courses are more difficult to organize remotely.

Residences and masking:
All students residing in university residences are requested to wear a double mask until obtaining your KN95 (or KN94, N95) mask. This means that if you have a cloth mask to wear, you must add a blue surgical mask underneath or use two cloth masks. Monday, surgical masks are distributed in the residences. Your Residence Directors will contact you when additional surgical masks have been delivered to your specific room.

Business operations as usual:
northern will NOT will be closed to commercial activities on Monday and Tuesday. All services and operations will be fully functional during this period due to the availability of KN95 masks for employees. Teachers are requested to use Monday and Tuesday as days to adapt your lectures / distance debates. While we hope we will only have to host distance learning classes this week, as always, we ask everyone to stay flexible due to the ever-changing landscape that COVID brings.

I apologize for bringing this news to you at this time. We hoped we would be able to stay face to face. The virus has made us think otherwise as we step up our masking security protocols. Thank you in advance for your understanding. As always, please contact me or contact the COVID response team at [email protected] if you have any questions or suggestions.

Dr Kerri D. Schuiling, Acting President

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