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Message to Faculty and Staff

October 11, 2021

Good afternoon, 

Thank you for continuing to keep our Ferris community healthy and safe. We are managing the COVID-19 cases on our campus well, with the COVID-19 Dashboard reporting 2 new cases on Friday, Oct. 8, with 27 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 0 new cases, with 5 active cases. Compared to this point in time last year (7 new cases and 38 active cases), when the University had decreased density and no vaccines, these numbers are very encouraging.   

The Re-entry Committee has recently been fielding questions related to booster shots, mask compliance, testing and University-sponsored travel. 

How do I know if I am eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot? 

Last Friday, District Health Department #10 sent out a community update email that included information about COVID-19 booster shots, who is eligible, etc. The information they shared below may be helpful: 

“District Health Department #10 reports that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on Sept. 23 to recommend a single Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for certain populations that completed the primary Pfizer BioNTech series. 

The updated interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a booster at least 6 months after a Pfizer primary series under the Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization for the following populations: 

  • Individuals aged 65 years and older 
  • Individuals residing in long-term care facilities 
  • Individuals 50-64 years of age with underlying medical conditions 
  • Individuals aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions based on individual benefits and risks 
  • Individuals 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting based on individual benefits and risks 

The ACIP booster dose recommendation only applies to individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for their primary series. There is currently no booster recommended for those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their primary series. 

Michigan residents will have a variety of options to receive the COVID-19 booster doses, including local public health departments, traditional health care settings, retail pharmacies, and community vaccination clinics. 

If you meet the eligibility requirements above, you can schedule your Pfizer booster dose at DHD#10 online at www.dhd10.org/schedule or call 888-217-3904.” 

To receive this type of information from the DHD #10 visit their website and scroll to the bottom to subscribe to their weekly updates. 

The University anticipates receiving doses of the booster for the Ferris community, but until then, if you are eligible, please connect with your local health department, healthcare provider or retail pharmacy. 

If you have not been vaccinated yet for COVID-19, we urge you to talk to your healthcare provider, and if you are able, take advantage of the opportunity these vaccines provide 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.   

It feels like mask fatigue is setting in...how do I ensure those around me comply with wearing a mask properly while indoors on campus?  

An education-first approach (ASK, TELL, REMOVE/REFER) is recommended.  

If you observe an individual not wearing a face covering, remind the individual they are required to wear a face covering and ASK the individual to please put on a face covering. 

If the individual does not cooperate, TELL the individual they are required to wear a face covering or they will have to leave. 

If a student fails to comply or continually defies the directive, instruct the student to leave the classroom, building, event, etc. and REFER them to the Office of Student Conduct by calling x3619 or completing the online incident reporting form. If a faculty or staff member fails to comply, please complete the online incident reporting form for faculty and staff. 

If the student or employee fails to put on a face covering and refuses to leave, call the Department of Public Safety, KCAD Campus Security, or statewide campus location security.  

If DPS is called for assistance, the objective will be to gain compliance through officer presence, education, listening and explaining.  

Organizers of public events such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social and cultural events using campus facilities must advise event participants of this policy and require compliance. Visitors will be required to leave the campus if they fail to conform to the policy when advised. Complaints regarding contractors should be referred to Facilities Management. 

These steps are also outlined in the COVID-19 Directives found on the Coronavirus Updates Hub. 

Can an instructor or supervisor require a student to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to class/work?  

The CDC advises against repeat testing for a recent positive case due to the likelihood of continued detection of the virus in the body.  

The Birkam Health Center connects with every student who reports symptoms in the daily Symptom Checker. Based on the information the student shares, s/he is advised on the next step(s), which usually involves a recommendation for COVID-19 testing at Birkam. Students are advised to remain isolated until their test result returns. If the result is negative, isolation is recommended until symptoms resolve. If the result is positive, isolation is recommended for 10 days (as long as symptoms have resolved and the patient is fever-free for 24 hours).  

Birkam Health Center asks that faculty/supervisors refrain from asking for proof of a negative test result to return to class or work, as a COVID-19 test is not always advised by the clinical team.    

What is the University’s guidance on travel, particularly international travel?   

On Oct. 4, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for domestic travel, for those who are and are not fully vaccinated. Highlights include:  

  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated.  
  • People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States.  
  • The CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, as rates of COVID-19 change, and as additional scientific evidence becomes available. This guidance applies to travel within the United States and U.S. territories. 

CDC guidance for international travel is also available online. As a reminder, University-sponsored international travel is suspended at this time. 

To continue to protect yourself and others, the University encourages everyone to follow this updated travel guidance. 

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 over the mouth and nose, 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. 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