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Virus forces NMU to limit campus access

It has come to this: Northern Michigan University, as of today, is restricting visitors to campus.

In an announcement issued Thursday, officials said NMU will restrict guests on campus for a two-week period to mitigate risks associated with rising COVID-19 cases in Marquette County, other areas of the Upper Peninsula and neighboring.

The restrictions will be effective from today to Nov. 6.

In an email to the students, faculty and staff, NMU President Fritz Erickson identified the following temporary procedures in an email to the campus community, adding that they will be reevaluated at the end of the month:

≤ On-campus visits and tours for prospective students, including student-athletes, and their families scheduled for this time period are suspended and will be rescheduled or moved to a virtual format.

≤ Two Saturday events will go on, but with modifications. Make a Difference Day will only include leaf raking for senior residents in the City of Marquette. The Center of Student Enrichment will provide the rakes and bags so there is no contact with the homeowners. The Marching Band’s performance at the Superior Dome will be streamed live for all, including parents who were scheduled to travel to campus.

≤ Non-NMU individuals engaged in university business must be approved or re-approved by the appropriate division leader before coming to campus. Virtual meetings, presentations and events are strongly recommended as an alternative. On-campus job interviews scheduled for this time period should be moved to a virtual format or rescheduled.

≤ The PEIF is being closed to non-NMU users. Only NMU students, faculty and staff members will be able to use the facility during this period. Community and family recreation sports members will receive an extension on their memberships to make up for lost access during the restricted period. The Superior Dome community walking program will not begin as it was scheduled to do during this time period.

≤ Reserving NMU facilities space for non-university purposes is suspended and reservations canceled through Nov. 6. This includes space in the Northern Center, Berry Events Center, PEIF, Superior Dome and Jacobetti Complex. Cancellation of space does not include contracted renters, but these areas will need to restrict off-campus clients and visitors as well.

Barnes and Noble-NMU and the Wildcat Den will remain open to NMU students, faculty and staff.

Erickson’s statement in the email show how very seriously university officials take the pandemic: “Now is when we must be exceptionally diligent in our efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay. We are in Week 10 with a goal to not have to switch to remote learning this semester. You know what that means: wear your mask (properly) indoors and outdoors when you’re near people, social distance and avoid large gatherings, wash your hands frequently, limit your travel, and stay home when you do not feel well or are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

“Nov. 24, the last day of classes, is 5 weeks — just 35 days — away.”

We applaud the university for putting the health and safety of students and staff at the top of the priority list. Here’s to hoping NMU avoids a major outbreak and makes it to the last day of classes for the semester safely.

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