COVID-19 guidelines for fall, vaccination dining credit


Photo courtesy of Mary Voet MASK UP—NMU will continue to have those on campus wear masks while in classrooms and labs to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dreyma Beronja, News Editor

NMU’s Fall 2021 semester started on Aug. 23 with move-in weekend occurring Aug. 19-22. As students return to campus, many safety precautions will remain the same as they were during the 2020-2021 school year. During move-in weekend, students who needed to pick up a residence hall key, notebook computer, Wildcat ID card or parking pass would have needed to register for a time through the Passport to Campus portal. 

There will be no required COVID-19 testing this year, however, for those looking to get vaccinated through NMU, a sign-up form can also be found on the Passport to Campus portal. Vaccination dates fell on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the start of the semester.

“At the Passport event, you can receive help with your on-campus job search or pick up your textbooks at the bookstore,” President Fritz Erickson said. “The full pickup process takes 15-20 minutes if not getting vaccinated and 30-45 minutes if you are being vaccinated.”

As of Aug. 17, the overall on-campus population which includes students, faculty and staff has a vaccination rate of 74%. This was adjusted for late orientation and Passport to Campus vaccination registrations.

While NMU is not requiring vaccinations, Christopher Kirkpatrick, medical director at NMU Health Center, highly encourages those who have yet to receive their vaccination to sign up. Kirkpatrick said that the vaccination will help protect everyone and help mitigate the risk of the new variant.

“All the variants so far have been responsive to the vaccinations,” Kirkpatrick said. “Inherently, there are some people that, you know, with a 90 to 95% effective rate on these vaccines, there will still be some people who received the full vaccination theories and still catch the virus.”

A change from last year that students will see is the isolation/quarantine quarters. Last year, Spalding Hall was primarily dedicated for those who tested positive for COVID-19 and now this year it will be Spooner Hall. The 26 beds in Spooner will be used for NMU residence hall students. 

Per CDC recommendation, those who are vaccinated and identify as a close contact with someone who has tested positive will not be required to quarantine, providing they have no symptoms. Instead, these individuals will need to self-monitor for symptoms. 

Residence hall students who have tested positive or those who are unvaccinated and close contacts requiring quarantine will have the option to return home during the isolation/quarantine period. This option is by the individual’s choice and providing they are well enough to travel.

Another change students will see compared to last year is how faculty will handle their classes given the faculty member has tested positive for COVID-19 and require an isolation/quarantine period.

“Unlike last year, faculty members will not be required to provide remote learning options for those in isolation or quarantine. It will be up to the student to work with their faculty to develop a plan for how to make up missed class time, assignments and learning opportunities,” Erickson said. “It will be the faculty member’s choice if they want to make Zoom an option to students missing class due to illness, isolation or quarantine.”

To thank students and employees for getting their COVID-19 vaccinations, NMU will be giving $100 in dining credits to those who upload their vaccination card. Students and employees who are vaccinated and still need to upload their vaccination cards can go to The Bridge and upload their information by following these straightforward steps that will take only a couple of minutes.

—  Follow this link to access The Bridge app.

— Upload a clear photo of your vaccination card that showcases your personal and vaccination information.

— After the vaccination card has been successfully uploaded, a mark is put in the medical section of your student/employee record. 

— Funds can be checked on the GET app where you can then use the funds on campus at places like Temaki, Starbucks and Smoothie King.

Once the vaccination card has been uploaded, NMU Health Center staff will have limited access and then the file will be deleted. This means that advisors, professors, resident advisors and directors, bosses, supervisors or those with academic or financial access to the Banner system will not be able to see if someone has uploaded vaccination information.

The deadline for students and employees to upload their vaccination cards to The Bridge and receive their $100 dining credit will be until the last day of September. 

On Aug. 4 Erickson sent out an email updating NMU’s current mask protocol for the fall semester that includes three mask requirements.

— All individuals, vaccinated or not, who are participating in residence hall move-in activities are required to properly wear a mask (over both nose and mouth) while in any residence hall common area (hallways, lobbies, The Lodge, restrooms, lounge areas, etc.) during the campus move-in period of Thursday morning, Aug. 19, until Monday morning, Aug. 23, which is the first day of fall classes. This includes students, staff and visitors, including parents and other family members and friends of hall residents. Masks are still required in all common areas (hallways, lounges, etc.) inside an NMU facility for individuals who have not fully completed the vaccination process.

— Starting Monday, Aug. 23, Northern will require ALL members of the NMU campus community, both vaccinated and not vaccinated, to wear masks while in classrooms and laboratories. Masks are still required in all common areas (hallways, lounges, etc.) inside an NMU facility for individuals who have not fully completed the vaccination process.

— Northern will allow faculty and staff to require masks for visitors to their individual offices, regardless of vaccination status, where social distancing cannot be applied. Signs for individual work and living spaces will be made available for pick up at centralized locations across campus beginning Aug. 16.

This protocol will be continuously monitored and those with questions can go to the Safe on Campus website. The website offers information on how to upload your vaccination card for dining credit, information for current students, information for future students, information for faculty and staff as well as contact information.