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NMU set to begin surveillance testing

Program to begin with pilot group

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University said it will soon begin surveillance testing for COVID-19.

In a Sept. 9 letter to students, faculty and staff, NMU President Fritz Erickson said the testing will first begin with a small pilot group of students. Then the program, which is being run by the NMU Clinical Sciences Department, will move to be fully operational, alternating the testing of 250 to 300 on-campus students one week with 250 to 300 off-campus students, faculty and staff the following week during the semester.

NMU will use a saliva test to detect and mitigate asymptomatic spread of COVID-19. The testing will be collected and performed on campus by qualified and trained faculty and students using appropriate personal protective equipment.

Positive results will be communicated to the NMU Health Center for appropriate follow-up medical care, Erickson said.

Erickson also noted a “slight increase” in the reports for non-mask wearing in residence hallways and study rooms, and non-socially distanced groups while outdoors on campus.

“I know that NMU’s campus feels safe, in part, because of all the safety measures put in place — antimicrobial spraying of surfaces, Plexiglas barriers, room and office reconfigurations, etc.,” Erickson wrote. “We have certainly reduced risk of COVID-19, but it is impossible to eliminate the risk.”

Erickson stressed it is up to individuals to wear masks everywhere on campus except when they are alone or with their “family units” in private spaces only. This includes being outdoors and within 6 feet of another person when around protective barriers.

“We don’t want to have to discipline folks for mask or social distancing violations, but we will continue to do so,” Erickson said. “Northern takes non-compliance of public health mandates very seriously.”

Potential COVID site ID’d

The Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department has identified the Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry as a possible place of exposure to COVID-19.

It reported that during a case investigation, 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 4 on the ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island was determined as the possible exposure time.

The business has been cooperating fully with this investigation and was following all COVID-19 precautions, the department said.

Anyone present during this time and date who develops COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of exposure is asked to contact a primary care provider or local heath department for further instruction.

For additional information on COVID-19, visit LMASDHD.org or Chippewahd.com.

Meijer extends discount

Meijer, based in Grand Rapids, is extending its 15% discount on classroom essentials to be available for the 2020-21 school year.

The retailer has added face masks and hand sanitizers to its annual 15% off teacher discount at all its retail stores.

“There are so many uncertainties as teachers head back to classes and we’ve heard the plans may change throughout the year, so our goal is to help them shop with confidence whenever they need to refill supplies,” said Brandon Pasch, director of Back-to-School Merchandising for Meijer, in a news release. “We hope that extending the 15% discount for the entire school year helps reduce the stress to their pocketbooks as they continue gathering supplies for their classrooms and home offices.”

Pasch said a recent Meijer survey indicated that teachers expect to repeatedly adjust, refill and update their supplies multiple times in the coming months, as more than 80% expect the new normal for their students to be a back-and-forth mixture of virtual and in-person learning. He also noted a recent Center of Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, which showed that 94% of public school teachers say they spend their own money on notebooks, pens and other supplies without reimbursement.

Other items available for the discount range from spiral notebooks and schoolroom essentials like Crayola, Elmer’s Glue, Sharpies and Post-It Notes to planners, journals and memo boards. Teachers can also stack their mPerks Rewards with the 15% discount and take advantage of additional price drops on more than 400 items through Sept. 26.

Teachers can get the discount, in the form of a paper coupon, by presenting a current school ID at a local Meijer customer service desk. The coupon can be used only for purchases made in-store and some restrictions apply. Teachers can take advantage of the coupon repeatedly by obtaining a new one anytime they return to Meijer throughout the back-to-school shopping season.

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