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NMU is now requiring workers to wear masks

(Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University continues to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by now requiring employees and student employees to wear a facial covering of some type when working on campus.

The NMU Police Department and NMU Health Center are providing facial coverings such as buffs, cotton masks and surgical masks to supervisors in Dining Services, the university announced on Tuesday. Housing and Residence Life and Facilities/Buildings & Grounds will distribute them to employees and student employees.

Northern also will make available any remaining NMU-branded Buffs to students living in on-campus residence halls and apartments who don’t already have one. A limited supply will be available at each hall’s front desk.

“Please remember that wearing a mask does not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it does decrease the chance of you spreading the virus to others if you are asymptomatic,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson in an email to the campus community. “It may seem extreme, but from the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Northern has been following the recommendations of the CDC and we plan to continue on that course.”

Employees are not required to cover their faces while in their private offices, teaching labs or vehicles, or when they are by themselves, Erickson said. However, they are asked to wear something when they work or travel through public areas of campus or have interactions with other individuals. This request is on top of the social distancing and hygiene practices previously recommended.

A link on the CDC website at cdc.gov details recommendations regarding face coverings and offers examples of different kinds of face masks and filters that do or do not require sewing.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people — who may have the virus and are unaware of it — from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N95 respirator, which the CDC noted are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders as recommended by current CDC guidance.

The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday voted to extend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency declaration until May 1. Erickson said NMU will continue to watch for additional information regarding “Stay at Home, Stay Safe” directives and recommendations from the governor.

Christie Mastric can be reached at cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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