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NMU hires health expert

Official will help develop plans for fall instruction

This Chocolay Township family has the right idea. (Photo courtesy of Carol Margrif)

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University has tapped a health security expert to help develop a “strategic and comprehensive playbook for its return to face-to-face learning this fall.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. David Adams is expected to visit NMU’s campus three times to “gather input and assess university functions and facilities” prior to laying out the initial plan to NMU leadership by July 10, according to an NMU press release.

Adams is a registered nurse who has 40 years of military and federal service in disciplines such as national preparedness and resilience planning, global health and security and biodefense policy.

NMU Provost Kerri Shuiling said Adams’ high-level experience will assist university experts on safe ways to re-enter the campus setting. “David’s senior-level experience has emphasized strategy, creating a plan and executing that effectively,” Schuiling said. “Our response team members will use his playbook to move forward in a way that mitigates risk as much as possible for the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We’ve adopted the medical health professionals’ philosophy that it’s better to err on the side of safety.”

Adams, who spent 30 years with the Air Force Nurse Corps, said most of his background — which included roles with the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon — involved health security policy development related to biological threats such as smallpox and anthrax.

For Wednesday, May 20.

He said he is “impressed with how proactive Northern Michigan University is. They’ve established a logistics team working group, with 10 subgroups. My role is to connect the dots and find out what interdependencies there are with the various functional groups,” Adams said. “Obviously social distancing and barrier controls throughout campus will be important when dealing with a large volume of students, faculty and staff. The governor’s guidelines must also be considered. The university is already constructing or purchasing plexiglass barriers in areas where there’s interface between clients and service providers. Classrooms are being reconsidered for the number of students who can safely be in a given space. And with classes or labs that require more hands-on activity and interaction, disinfecting protocols will be critical.”

Annual U.P. Volunteer Firefighters Tournament postponed

The Forsyth Township Fire Department decided to postpone the 126th annual U.P. Volunteer Firefighters Tournament until July 23-25, 2021.

According to the department’s Facebook page, the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department and Negaunee Fire Department will each move their scheduled host years back one year to accommodate the change.

“We are saddened we won’t be able to see everyone this summer, but this just means we have an extra year to plan and make tournaments even better! We hope to see all of you in July 2021. Stay safe, we’ll see you then,” the post states.

Masses resuming

The Catholic Diocese of Marquette is working on a gradual return to worship at area churches as of today.

Under the directives and recommendations of Bishop John Doerfler, which are based on the input of health experts and resources such as the Centers for Disease Control the diocese, will open up its churches to public worship.

Doerfler’s directives on how to return to public masses safely may be implemented differently in each parish, according to an email from Diocese of Marquette Communications Director John Fee.

“Since the parishes have churches and congregations of varying sizes, they will have to make many common sense decisions locally on how to safely resume public Masses while following proper social distancing, etc.,” the email states.

For more information on the Bishop Doerfler’s directives go to https://dioceseofmarquette.org/images/files/Communications/05072020LettertoParishionersReopeningPhaseTwo.pdf.

Emergency order issued

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order Monday finding that the procedures and restrictions in three of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders are needed to control the COVID-19 epidemic, reinforcing the governor’s orders and allowing for civil fines of up to $1,000 and referral to licensing agencies for violations.

The order, which rescinds an April 2 order of the same type, applies to Executive Order 2020-69, which places temporary restrictions on the use of places of public accommodation; Executive Order 2020-71, which establishes temporary safety measures for food-selling establishments and pharmacies and temporary relief from requirements applicable to the renewal of licenses for the food-service industry; Executive Order 2020-91, which places safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19; and Executive Order 2020-92, which establishes temporary requirements to suspend certain activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.

Any suspected violation of the orders should be referred to the appropriate licensing agency for determination on whether to pursue enforcement, the release states.

The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Labor and Economic Opportunity are leading efforts to help fill critical food and agriculture jobs that are emerging due, in large part, to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a joint press release.

The effort includes raising awareness of existing resources and services available to food and agriculture businesses.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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