January 13, 2021 - Announcement

 

Hello Northern Students!

We are so excited to welcome you all back to campus for the spring semester! I hope this extended holiday break has been as restful as possible for each of you and that you are as eager to begin the next semester as we are.

We continue our evolving understanding of the challenges associated with safely opening for the semester in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic. That said, last fall taught us all a great deal about ourselves and our ability to succeed in spite of these challenges. On that note, I’d like to highlight a few key areas of learning from the fall semester that may be helpful to know.

  • Overall Cases Remains Low – We continue to see some of the lowest positive COVID-19 case numbers in the state.
  • Classrooms Were Not Responsible for Spread – Throughout the fall, our classrooms proved to be safe environments for face-to-face learning. No cases were reported as a result of transmission that occurred inside a classroom.
  • Peer-to-Peer Influence is Critical – We knew how important you were to our success in the fall and that you would be able to influence your peers far better than we can. What we saw, however, was the extent to which the way you interact with your friends, classmates, and teammates around issues of health and safety translated into overall community health. Engage in safe and healthy behaviors and your peers will as well.

 

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing Now Available

Upon your return to campus, you will have the opportunity to get tested using rapid tests that provide results in as little as 15 minutes. Testing events will take place for students in Residence Halls next week (more information will be shared in the coming days). Any student may make an appointment to be tested with Student Health Services at any point throughout the semester. Simply call (406) 265-3599 to schedule your test.

Testing remains voluntary. However, we strongly encourage all students to be tested upon returning to campus to ensure that we are able to identify and respond to any positive cases as quickly as possible. Benefits of being tested include…

  • Prevention of COVID-19 spread throughout the MSU-Northern campus community;
  • Prevention of COVID-19 spread by asymptomatic individuals (a significant source of transmission);
  • Maintaining in-person class delivery at MSU-Northern;
  • Maintaining MSU-Northern athletic competition;
  • Reduction in students placed in isolation and quarantine through early detection of COVID-19;
  • Test results received within 15 minutes.

 

What else do we need from you?

To make the experience as positive, healthy, and safe for all of us as possible, there are some continued commitments we need from you…

  • Quarantine Prior To Arrival | Before returning to Northern this spring, we strongly recommend that each of you quarantine without contact outside of your immediate household for the remaining days leading up to the start of the semester. Additionally…
    • Please avoid attending any large social events or gatherings prior to your arrival. 
    • If you are ill or experiencing symptoms, do NOT return to campus until you are symptom free, as outlined by CDC and local public health guidelines (typically 24 hours symptom free without medication).
    • If you care currently in quarantine or isolation as ordered by your local health department, do NOT return to campus until your health department has released you.
    • We will gladly assist you in communicating with faculty, coaches and University staff to arrange for remote learning, in the event you are unable to return immediately.
  • Face Coverings, Social Distancing & Hygiene | Face coverings remain REQUIRED for Spring 2021 for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. View the MSUN Face Covering Policy. Face coverings, social distancing, and regular handwashing and sanitizing remain some of our most effective tools in ensuring that your Northern experience can remain in-person for as long as possible this spring.
  • Occupancy, Entrances & Exits | Posted maximum occupancy signs can be found outside almost every room on campus. Some buildings on campus may have also identified foot traffic patterns for entering or exiting a space. Please pay attention to posted signs or other indicators wherever you are on campus.
  • Respect | Each of us may be called upon at some point to ask another to change behavior to keep others safe. Be respectful of those who do, support their efforts, and comply when asked.
  • Understanding & Flexibility | We will do our best to keep you informed as institutional, local, and state-wide expectations evolve. However, as you know, every day brings changes in direction or understanding. Please remember we are learning together as we work through this.

 

Some Key Reminders and Other Information

Residence Life

In order to best serve students this fall and manage our living communities as effectively as possible, we have limited the number of students who can live on each floor in both Morgan and Mackenzie Halls. This has been proven extremely helpful in managing spread of the virus and quarantine and isolation needs. Visitors will not be allowed to access residence halls throughout the spring semester.

Northern Food Court

The Northern Food Court will be available for campus use on a modified schedule to account for additional cleaning, sanitization, and ongoing management of social distancing expectations. As a result, please note the following adjustments…

  • The Dining Room will close for one hour between meal periods each day to accommodate additional cleaning and sanitization. Additional cleaning and sanitizing items will be made available for student use throughout as well. The daily schedule will be as follows:
    • Breakfast | 7 AM to 10 AM
    • Lunch | 11 AM to 3 PM
    • Dinner | 4 PM to 7 PM
    • Weekends and Designated Holiday Hours | 10 AM to 1 PM, 2 PM to 5 PM
  • Seating, serving, and retail areas will operate with reduced maximum occupancies. It will be important to maintain social distancing expectations (6 ft or more) at all times and in all places within the Dining Room.
  • Face coverings remain REQUIRED at all times within the Dining Room, except when in the act of eating and drinking.

 

It will be important for students to pay close attention to visual cues (signs, stickers or tape on floors) to ensure you are complying with all expectations. Please remember to be patient, understanding, and respectful at all times.

 

Bookstore

The Bookstore will operate during normal business hours. If possible, please make arrange to purchase your books online through the University Bookstore website in advance of the semester (you can still elect to pick them up at the Bookstore, even if you order online). This will help minimize the number of people visiting and the amount of time spent in the Bookstore. Pay close attention to posted signage and staff directives regarding maximum occupancies and traffic flow.

 

Vande Bogart Library

We look forward to seeing you in the library this spring! Please note that some changes have been made to the library building and functions due to COVID-19. Please visit the Library website for updates, building hours and access to resources.

Here are a few highlights of key adjustments for this spring…

  • Computer labs have been spaced for social distancing. Please use a computer with a chair.
  • Study tables are intended for single users and small groups. Do not move furniture around to work as larger groups.
  • Face coverings and social distancing are required the entire time you are in the library.
  • The Coffee Cart will be closed this semester.
  • No food or drinks are allowed in the library.
  • No study rooms are currently available, as all have been utilized to store furniture removed for social distancing needs.

To better accommodate cleaning and sanitization needs, hours of operation for the Library will be adjusted as follows…

  • Mondays through Thursdays | 8 AM to 8 PM
  • Fridays | 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Sundays | 1 PM to 8 PM

Here are a few key offerings that haven’t changed (though, please remember to socially distance and wear masks at all times) …

  • 24/7 access to electronic resources.  Find us on the Current Student web page. Any off-campus use of resources requires only that you use your BrightSpace username and password for access.
  • A librarian is available to you Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, via phone, email, or by appointment.
  • The KIC scanner is an easy way to digitize documents to share online in BrightSpace.
  • Books can be checked out at the circulation desk for three weeks at a time with renewals allowed. 

If we can all commit to making an effort to support practices that keep us all safe, there is a good chance we can continue to learn here, together. Please take seriously your responsibility to support your and your neighbor’s health and safety.

 

See you all very soon!

 

Corey Kopp

Dean of Students

 

See also: Past Communications