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Message to Faculty and Staff

Sept. 13, 2021

Good afternoon, 

This week marks the beginning of the third full week of the semester. Faculty and staff are teaching and working on campus, and our students are excitedly experiencing a much more “traditional” college experience than Fall 2020.  

Over the past month, the Re-entry Committee has shared much information on the health and safety protocols we all should be following each day we are working on campus. You can read these past messages online. What we haven’t done though is recognize that while it feels great to see our campus come alive again, for some, these first few weeks may have been filled with a range of emotions – a mix of enthusiasm and trepidation. It is important for us to recognize this, and encourage us all to understand and process these feelings. Our hope is that those in our Ferris family are being uplifted by one another as we re-engage, and help one another as much as we can along the way.  

In addition, we very much appreciate the continued communication from faculty and staff to the Re-entry Committee email. One of the common themes we are reading about this past week is related to students who test positive for COVID-19, and what role the faculty member plays in each student’s case.  

My Student Tested Positive...What Do I Do? 

When a student tests positive for COVID-19, please encourage your student to report his/her status in the “Report a Positive Test Result” portal found on the Coronavirus Updates Hub homepage. This alerts Birkam Health Center to reach out to the student and begin the process of contact tracing. Birkam’s COVID-19 case manager will perform an intensive interview with the student and will identify any close contacts (those who were within 6 feet for 15 minutes cumulatively over 24 hours). When those contacts are identified, and if they are associated with campus (e.g. a student, faculty or staff member), the case manager will connect with the close contacts via email and share quarantine protocol if they are not vaccinated (quarantining is not required for those who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic). If the close contacts are not associated with campus, the information is then provided to the respective community health department.  

As faculty, you would not hear from Birkam if a student in your class tests positive unless you are identified as a close contact. However, if a student chooses to tell you of his or her positive status, you can manage that information confidentially moving forward as you help the student with their class assignments until s/he can return to class. The student’s diagnosis is protected health information and should not be shared with anyone. It is also really important that Birkam Health Center provides contact tracing and associated quarantine protocols. Thank you for helping these students during their isolation or quarantine period. 

COVID-19 Dashboard  

Everyone in our campus community has worked really hard to get us where we are today and the majority are following the established health and safety protocols. The COVID-19 Dashboard is reporting four new COVID-19 cases as of Friday, Sept. 10, with 31 active cases associated with the University. This includes not only the Big Rapids campus but our statewide locations as well. Kendall College of Art and Design reports one new case, with two total active cases. The dashboard is updated daily, with Saturday and Sunday numbers reported Monday afternoon.  

Where Can I Get a COVID-19 Test?  

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing (for those who have NO symptoms) is currently available for faculty, staff and students at the Pharmacy Care Clinic on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 3-5 p.m., and Wednesdays from 12-2 p.m. You can “Schedule an Asymptomatic COVID-19 Test" right from the Coronavirus Updates Hub webpage. Or, testing is also available at Birkam Health Center Monday through Friday by appointment. Please call x2614, Option 2, if you would like to schedule an appointment.   

Any faculty or staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (symptomatic) should contact their healthcare provider for testing and treatment options. Spectrum Health also offers COVID-19 screening and testing. On their website, it currently states you first must be screened to determine if you qualify for a COVID-19 test, and all tests require a valid physician order. More information on symptomatic COVID-19 testing can be found on Spectrum Health’s website. Or, you can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136, and press 2 for help finding a test site, or search online for a testing site near you.    

Did You Know?  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has launched the Michigan Immunization Portal to help Michigan residents ages 18 and older more easily access their immunization records.  

Michigan adults with immunization records posted in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR), including COVID-19 vaccination, will be able to locate their own record online and download, save or print this information.  

To ensure privacy and that individuals are only able to access their own immunization records, you must create a MILogin account at and upload a valid government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license, state ID or passport. There is no cost to access the portal. 

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

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

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