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Michigan Tech prepares for return to class with MTU Flex Plan

When Huskies return to class this Thursday, Aug. 27, things will look quite different—if they’re even in a classroom at all.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Tech University begins classes this week.

Like most, if not all, other universities across the county, this semester isn’t going to be “business as usual.”

When Huskies return to class this Thursday, Aug. 27, things will look quite different—if they’re even in a classroom at all.

University leaders are taking the pandemic into account in all aspects of campus life with the MTU Flex Plan.

“We knew that given Tech’s size and its technological focus that agility was one of the core attributes for our institution, that we could change and move with where the virus was. That’s why the Flex Plan was created,” said Michigan Tech University President Rick Koubek.

It’s a five-phase plan that details how the campus will operate based on the local prevalence of the virus.

Currently, MTU is in level three of the plan. That means classes will be held in-person and online, face coverings will be required indoors at all times and outdoors when social distancing can’t be maintained, and COVID-19 testing and contact tracing is actively underway.

Koubek says MTU Flex will guide the university indefinitely, as long as a plan is needed.

“Each week, we’ll be asking about 600 students to go in and be tested asymptomatically so that we can have a pulse of what’s happening on campus so we can make changes,” said Koubek. “As we get results from the asymptomatic and surveillance testing, we can, in real-time, make adjustments.”

Being a tech university has its perks, like having an on-site lab for quicker test results that are received within 24 to 48 hours, and the ability to produce innovative PPE for faculty and staff.

MTU Flex also involves regular testing, working with local health agencies, and close communication with the student body.

“The leaders from the student organizations, I talked to all the fraternity and sorority leaders, student government, undergraduate student government, graduate student government. We’ve had really good conversations, and, again, I’m optimistic that the students understand that we all—this is a team effort—we all share in this,” said Koubek.

You can keep track of Michigan Tech’s COVID-19 testing data here. The numbers are updated on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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