NMU offering students, employees food credit for uploading proof of vaccine

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University is offering its students and staff up to $100 food credit for uploading proof of their COVID-19 vaccination to their university accounts through The Bridge app.

Those who upload their vaccine documentation by July 1 will receive a $100 credit which can be used at any on-campus eatery. Those who upload documentation between July 2 and Aug. 1 will receive a $50 food credit.

“This information will give campus leaders a more accurate understanding of the vaccination level on campus heading into the fall,” NMU President Fritz Erickson said in an email sent to students and staff Monday. “Many of our NMU pandemic protocol decisions will be tied to knowing if we have a high or low vaccination rate. The Bridge app will help us monitor that.”

The credit can be used at The Wildcat Den, Temaki, Smoothie King and Starbucks beginning immediately, along with Northern Lights Dining, Fieras, Melted, Sundre and the Cat Trax convenience store when reopened for the fall semester. Credit will be uploaded to student and employee accounts and applied when swiping their NMU IDs at checkout.

Erickson also addressed the state of Michigan’s plan to lift all limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings on July 1, stating that the university plans to conform with that decision.

“This move comes as more people get vaccinated, COVID-19 trends improve and federal health regulators say it’s safer to start returning to normal. For Northern, this means most — potentially all — of our pandemic-related room capacity maximums will go away at the start of July. This will allow classes, campus groups and departments to meet as we used to do before COVID-19.”

According to NMU’s COVID-19 reporting dashboard, the school had a total of 441 positive cases over the previous fall and winter semesters. Data was collected from July 27, 2020, through May 2. This equates to a 3.13% positivity rate out of the school’s combined fall and winter population of 14,075.

Approximately 282 positives were identified during the fall semester out of a campus population of 7,542, while the winter semester saw 159 positives in a population of 6,533.

The school administered 20,507 COVID-19 tests on-campus, with 384 positive cases popping up from that number.

For more information on NMU’s COVID-19 response, visit www.nmu.edu/safe-on-campus.

Whitmer updates MIOSHA guidelines, prepares to expand capacity limits

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced updates to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 emergency rules as more Michiganders return to their offices, work sites and other places of employment after more than a year of conducting business remotely.

Whitmer also announced an update to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order in preparation of lifting all outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings capacity to 50%. The updated order is set to take effect June 1.

“As we work to put Michigan back to work, we are moving quickly to invest in our families, small businesses and communities to help them succeed,” Whitmer said in a news release. “The reason we can take these steps is thanks to every Michigander who has stepped up and taken action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. Together, we are eliminating this once-in-a-century virus, and now we are poised to jump start our economy and power it to new highs.”

MIOSHA has filed its updated COVID-19 emergency rules to conform with the MI Vacc to Normal plan and the state’s recent health guidelines and orders. With the state surpassing the 55% vaccination threshold, MIOSHA has removed the requirement that employers must create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.”

MIOSHA also rescinded a draft to make the COVID-19 rules permanent, and a public hearing regarding the matter originally scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.

Susan Corbin, acting director for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said workplace safety will remain a priority for MIOSHA in the transition back to normal.

“As we work with the administration to get back to normal, protecting Michigan workers on the job remains the top priority for MIOSHA,” she said. “These updated emergency rules will give workers and businesses the clarity and confidence they need to bring our economy back to full-strength.”

MIOSHA also updated other aspects of its emergency rules to reflect the updated Gatherings and Face Masks Order and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those changes are as follows:

¯ Employers may allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements.

¯ The rules have been reformed focusing on performance and eliminating industry-specific requirements. Definitions have been updated to more clearly reflect changes in close contact and quarantining requirements for fully vaccinated employees.

¯ Cleaning requirements have been updated to reflect changes in CDC recommendations.

¯ Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules.

MIOSHA filed these updates with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules on Friday, and the changes were expected to take effect Monday. The updated rules are set to expire on Oct. 14, but MIOSHA has the flexibility to ensure consistency with public health guidelines and can rescind all parts of the rules if need be.

MIOSHA stated in the news release that the permanent emergency rules that were in the works are no longer necessary.

“Based on the science and data at the time the process of creating permanent rules began, the agency utilized the process provided by law to ensure it could continue to keep employees safe if the pandemic remained when the emergency rules expired,” the release states. “With the recent updates from the CDC and the MDHHS epidemic orders, MIOSHA is confident that these rules are not necessary.”

The updated Gatherings and Face Masks order will be effective through July 1, the date MDHHS is set to lift all capacity limits and face mask orders completely. The months-long order will allow outdoor gatherings at 100% capacity, and increase indoor gatherings, including weddings, conferences and funerals to 50% capacity. Masks continue to be required for individuals who are not yet vaccinated.

“We continue to move toward normalcy as more and more Michiganders get vaccinated,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a statement. “The updated CDC guidelines demonstrate just how safe and effective the COVID-19 vaccine truly is and how well it is working.”

MDHHS will continue to urge Michiganders to follow CDC guidance despite the gradual lifting of state epidemic orders, including masking up at schools, on public transportation or in congregate settings such as prisons and homeless shelters. The department also states that people who are not fully vaccinated are recommended to mask up outdoors in crowded settings such as a concert or sporting event, and that organizations and businesses have the authority to put policies and guidelines in place that make sense for their operations and the safety of their employees and customers.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of the virus,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a statement. “We have made great progress with our vaccination efforts, but the pandemic is not over. We are working to make sure vaccines are accessible to everyone at their doctor’s office, in their neighborhoods or even in their homes. By getting vaccinated as soon as possible, Michiganders can protect themselves, their families and their communities and help end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

For the latest state COVID-19 data and information, visit Michigan.gov/coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today