NMU reacts to CDC guidance on masks
MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University is moving forward with the change in mask-wearing policies announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
President Fritz Erickson wrote a Thursday letter to students, faculty and staff to note the action.
“The day has come that so many of us have been waiting for — today (May 13), the Center(s) for Disease Control and Prevention made the announcement that individuals who are fully vaccinated can take off their masks and stop social distancing, both outdoors and indoors,” Erickson wrote.
He said the CDC’s announcement reads, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
He detailed what this means for NMU.
“Our plan is to lift the mask and social distancing requirements for those that have been fully vaccinated and have provided that information to the NMU Health Center via The Bridge app,” Erickson said. “For those that are not vaccinated or have not provided that information via The Bridge, masks and social distancing will still be required. Therefore, we strongly, strongly encourage everyone to upload their vaccination documentation into The Bridge app as soon as possible.”
According to the NMU website, students and employees can upload vaccination cards or other types of vaccination documentation through the app, formerly known as Passport to Campus.
After an image is uploaded, NMU’s Vielmetti Health Center medical staff will review the document and mark the record with a COVID-19 vaccination notation.
In his letter, Erickson said that NMU should not wait for the state to take several important steps.
“If you’ve not yet been vaccinated, please get an appointment to get vaccinated, and upload your vaccination documentation into The Bridge app,” he said. “It’s so easy to do; it only takes about two minutes to complete.”
Erickson noted the new Bridge app was launched on Monday and as of Thursday, had about 700 entries. Uploaded documents are deleted after processing so no personal information is stored in the database.
“Right from the start of this pandemic, Northern has followed the CDC guidelines because we believe in following the science,” Erickson said. “This is one CDC guideline I cannot wait to fully implement. This is another step in the right direction to our return to the university campus we enjoyed prior to February 2020. I’ll share more details as soon as I have them.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has updated the Gatherings and Mask Order to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings.
The new order took effect at 9 a.m. today.
Under the updated MDHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others.
The broad indoor mask mandate will expire July 1.
As of Friday, Michigan has administered 7,875,785 vaccines, the governor’s office reported. According to CDC data, 55.6% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with more than 43% of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated. The state has also administered the vaccine to 927 Michiganders between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.
The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization for adolescents ages 12 to 17 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations, although they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department reported multiple options in each of its four counties for vaccination appointments. In Luce County, LMAS is holding routine clinics in the Newberry office. Appointments are available for the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Visit LMASDHD.org to sign up, or call 906-293-5107 for assistance. Pfizer-BioNTech will be available for adolescents ages 12 to 17.
Also in Luce County, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital has Moderna vaccine for anyone ages 18 and older. Contact its vaccine hotline at 906-293-9288. Snyder Drug Store and Newberry Hometown Pharmacy also have appointments available. Visit CovidShotSnyders.com to sign up with Snyder Drug Store, which offers Moderna and J&J vaccines.
Newberry Hometown Pharmacy has Pfizer-BioNTech available for ages 12 and up. Call 906-293-9900 to schedule an appointment.
In Mackinac County, LMAS is holding routine clinics in its St. Ignace office. Appointments are available for the Moderna, J&J and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Visit LMASDHD.org to sign up, or call 906-643-1100 for assistance. Pfizer-BioNTech will be available for adolescents ages 12 to 17.
Mackinac Straits Health System is holding routine clinics in St. Ignace, offering the one-dose J&J vaccine, and Pfizer-BioNTech for adolescents ages 12 to 17.
In Alger County, LMAS is holding routine clinics in its Munising office. Appointments are available for the Moderna and J&J vaccines. Visit LMASDHD.org to sign up, or call 906-387-2297 for assistance.
Munising Memorial Hospital is holding routine clinics, offering Pfizer-BioNTech for adolescents ages 12 to 17, and Moderna for those 18 or older. Call the vaccine hotline at 906-387-4111 to schedule an appointment.
In Schoolcraft County, LMAS is holding routine clinics in its Manistique office. Appointments may be available for the Moderna and J&J vaccines. Visit LMASDHD.org to sign up, or call 906-341-6951 for help. Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is holding routine clinics, offering Pfizer-BioNTech for anyone ages 12 and older. Sign up at https://forms.gle/iRFsZmfPpZA7ES368 or call its hotline at 906-341-3775.
Putvin Healthmart-Manistique is offering the J&J one-dose vaccine for anyone 18 and older. Call 906-341-5494 to sign up or get more information.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is email@example.com