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Michigan Tech bringing back mask requirements

No vaccine mandate this fall, but Michigan Technological University is bringing back at least one pandemic staple to try and protect against COVID-19. Masks will be required on campus beginning on August 15th. Northern Michigan University and Central Michigan have made similar announcements in recent days, but have refused to join the state’s largest colleges in requiring vaccination to attend.

Michigan Tech has operated without a mask mandate for months without incident, including hosting Summer Youth Programs and faculty office hours. Tours for prospective students and other activities have also been ongoing.

A copy of the letter from President Richard Koubek is available in full below.

“Dear Members of the Michigan Tech Community:

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have worked to create a healthy and safe on-campus experience for our students, faculty, and staff—one that we can flex in response to rapidly changing environments. We have also learned that technology (while great) cannot replace the experiential learning that happens in classrooms, labs, residence halls, and beyond. For these reasons, we are delighted to welcome our students back to campus for a normal start to the fall semester.

“To best ensure the continuity of campus operations, Michigan Tech strongly recommends that all employees and students receive the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in light of the virulence of the COVID-19 delta variant.

“With all of this in mind and out of an abundance of caution, Michigan Tech will return to Health and Safety Level Two as outlined in our MTU Flex plan, effective August 15, 2021, for at least five weeks. This includes reinstating an indoor face covering requirement for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors (regardless of vaccination status).

“During the first few weeks of the semester, we will continue to review available data to inform our pandemic mitigation strategy. Our hope is that Michigan Tech’s face covering requirement is short-term. Our goal is to return to a face-covering-optional environment once we have more information regarding the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community.

“In the meantime, I ask that you continue to do your part to help keep our campus and community safe. I look forward to seeing you all on campus soon.

“Sincerely, Rick Koubek, President”

The school has strict requirements for how face masks are used and how to care for them, which can be found here.

COVID-19 infection fatality rates are estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be between 0.003% and 0.02% for students between the ages of 18 and 23.

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