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Message to Faculty and Staff

Aug. 31, 2021

Good morning,

What a great feeling it is to see our students and faculty back on campus! 

Since there are new faculty and staff who may be just starting this week, we wanted to share the basics with everyone on how we are keeping our campus healthy this fall.

COVID-19 Vaccine

If you have not been vaccinated yet, we urge you to talk to your healthcare provider, and if you are able, please take advantage of the opportunity the COVID-19 vaccine provides to lessen the severity of the disease and keep yourself, your colleagues and your family safe. The vaccine is readily available to you at the Birkam Health Center. Call x2614, Option 2, to set up an appointment.  

Daily Symptom Checker

Filling out the daily symptom checker is your first step before coming to campus each day. Please make sure you take a moment to evaluate how you are feeling and mark any symptoms you are experiencing. Or, if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please mark this in the symptom checker as well. If you do have symptoms, this will let Human Resources know to follow-up with you for further information on how you are feeling and to possibly receive a COVID-19 test.  

Report a Positive COVID-19 Test

If you do test positive for COVID-19, please report this via the “Report a Positive Test Result” portal found in the right hand menu of the Coronavirus Updates Hub homepage. This will help Human Resources and the Birkam Health Center provide the current quarantine/isolation protocols, begin the process of contact tracing and provide other support you may need.  

Masks in the Classrooms/Work Areas

Right now, the University is requiring all faculty, staff and students to wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This includes when lecturing or presenting to a class. The Re-entry Committee will continue to monitor the situation and will re-evaluate this requirement as the semester progresses. 

Masks continue to be required indoors in cubicle work environments and shared spaces. The only place a mask is not required is in an office where the door can be closed, or when eating or drinking. 

Testing

Upon move-in last week and over the weekend, all students living on-campus were required to participate in free COVID-19 testing on campus. 

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing is currently available for faculty, staff and students at the Pharmacy Care Clinic on Wednesdays from 12-2 p.m. or at the Birkam Health Center Monday through Friday by appointment. Please call x2614, Option 2, if you would like to schedule an appointment. Symptomatic testing is also available at Birkam Health Center for students. 

This mitigation strategy, combined with wastewater surveillance on campus and in the City of Big Rapids, has been highly successful in monitoring and controlling the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our community. Both of these testing components will continue throughout the fall. 

Clean Classrooms 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to re-think how we keep ourselves and our colleagues safe. This includes practicing good hygiene (e.g. washing your hands often, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue - or your sleeve - when sneezing or coughing, using hand sanitizer, etc.) in addition to cleaning and sanitizing our work areas.  

Last year Physical Plant applied MicrobeCare to all touchpoints within buildings to include doorknobs, door pushes, light switches, etc., and also any flat surfaces in public areas such as classrooms, transaction counters and meeting rooms to combat possible exposure to COVID-19. This product is guaranteed to last throughout the average lifetime of the product it is applied to.  

Even with the use of MicrobeCare, it is important we all take personal responsibility for cleaning/disinfecting our work areas. A bottle of disinfectant and paper towels (or disinfectant wipes) will be provided for each classroom. Faculty are encouraged to clean/disinfect what they use/touch after each class period so it is clean for the next colleague coming in to teach. We are all in this together, and together we can help keep our colleagues safe.   

Air Quality  

Last year, Physical Plant evaluated the HVAC system capabilities for buildings across campus and implemented strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These strategies include increasing ventilation rates, ventilating 24/7 and flushing the building with outside air pre-and post-occupancy each day, utilizing air filters with a minimum MERV 9 and MERV 13 efficiency where possible, and the purchase of air scrubbers. These strategies were defined, proposed and applied for each building’s specific need on campus. 

Vaccination Documentation Form

The University is asking everyone (faculty, staff and students) to document if they have been fully immunized against COVID-19. This form is located in the Healthy Dog Portal under the COVID-19 tab (where you complete the daily symptom checker) and only needs to be completed once. This will help gauge aggregate vaccination rates of our Ferris community. 

#VaxUp and Cash In!

Finally, last week the University rolled out a new vaccine incentive for students, #VaxUp and Cash In! Daily and weekly prizes are being awarded to students who confirm their fully vaccinated status in the MyFSU Healthy Dog portal. You can see the details on Coronavirus Updates Hub webpage

As we move forward into the semester, please continue to help keep our campus safe and healthy by doing the following: 

  • Wear a face covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Engage in good hygiene practices including frequent and thorough hand washing. 
  • Complete the daily symptom checker before coming to a campus location 
  • Report COVID-19 signs/symptoms in the symptom checker.
  • Report a positive test result for COVID-19. 
  • Stay home when you are feeling ill.

Please stay tuned, as we will continue to provide information via email and on the Coronavirus Updates Hub webpage. As always, you can reach the Committee at [email protected]. Thank you for staying informed and keeping our campus community healthy and safe.

-The FSU Re-entry Committee