More Information on COVID-19 Visitor Symptom Tracking Form

We have received a number of questions regarding yesterday’s Tech Today article on campus visitors and the COVID-19 Visitor Symptom Tracking Form.

Beginning July 27, we request that all Michigan Tech guests and visitors complete the form. This includes those visiting the Van Pelt and Opie Library, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, Portage Lake Golf Course, Campus Bookstore, University Images, and other retail outlets, as well as those visiting academic or office spaces. Ice arena patrons will also be required to complete the form when the facility opens to the community.

Individuals who complete the form will receive an email confirmation number to keep with them; at this time, however, the University will not ask visitors for the confirmation number. Additionally, anyone who completes the form with answers that indicate a risk of COVID-19 will be directed not to come to campus.

Protocols for contractors and vendors remain in place and should continue to be followed.

In the near future, signage will be placed outside and around all campus buildings and near visitor parking areas, alerting visitors to the need to complete the tracking form.

For more information, please visit the MTU Flex Portal Information web page or email

Face Shields for Instructional Use

To help ensure the safety of our classroom environments, Michigan Tech is producing a face shield specifically designed for instructors to use while teaching face-to-face in a classroom. The shield permits visibility of the instructor's full face, both for in-person students and those who may be joining via video conference, and is sufficiently comfortable to be worn for more than an hour. 

David Holden and John Schneiderhan from the Van Pelt and Opie Library and many others have worked tirelessly over the summer months to develop the “teaching shield.” Their work began with a successful open-source model for medical personnel — the same model the University modified to produce a face shield for frontline COVID-19 responders. 

The original design was tested and modified for different aspects of usability in an instructional setting:

  • Bharath Lavu and John Schneiderhan conducted break-point strength and flexibility testing of numerous halo modifications in support of long-term comfort and durability.
  • Josh Loar conducted a sonic analysis of different shield shapes and recommended a type of microphone best suited for video conferencing while wearing a shield.
  • Will Cantrell's and Raymond Shaw's research groups conducted an assessment of the reduction of respiratory particles in close quarters.

Prototypes were distributed to approximately 14 faculty members to gather comments and feedback. Most of the faculty concerns were related to glare reduction, greater coverage around the head and chin, overall fit and comfort, and fragility during repeated use. 

As a result of addressing these concerns, the current model is 58% more flexible than the original, permitting a more comfortable fit for a variety of head sizes, while being fivefold more break-resistant under repeated use. The shape of the shield was also extensively modified; the current model wraps around the head more fully and is flatter across the face to reduce glare, both inside and outside the face shield.

Sonic analysis demonstrated that a flat-front design was inferior to a rounder shape, both in the clarity of speech and compatibility with a microphone. The current design preserves the rounded shape near the mouth while working to reduce glare as much as possible. Microphones with a thin boom and an over-the-ear design were deemed to work best with the designs tested.

Researchers also tested the ability of the face shield to reduce respiratory droplets. In a tightly controlled, enclosed-space test that represented a "worst-case scenario," the shield reduced the detection of respiratory-sized particles at a distance of one foot to almost below the detection limit. The researchers cautioned that additional, more sophisticated testing would be necessary to determine the extent of any reduction, if any, of smaller aerosol particles.

With the introduction of these shields to a much wider set of users, the designers look forward to continuing to improve and refine the design for even greater glare reduction, long-term fit for a wide variety of head sizes, durability and maintenance, and audio quality. In working to ensure classroom safety, the face shields represent one very visible measure that complements all other safety measures being taken at Michigan Tech this fall.

Michigan Tech Hockey Announces Incoming Class

Michigan Tech head hockey coach Joe Shawhan has announced eight incoming players for the 2020-21 season. The class consists of goaltenders Cayden Bailey and Mark Sinclair, defensemen Jed Pietila and Brett Thorne, and forwards Carson Bantle, Arvid Caderoth, Nick Nardella, and Blais Richartz.

"We feel we have addressed our needs and continue to build our team for long term success," Shawhan said.

Mark Sinclair is a graduate transfer from Alabama-Huntsville, where he appeared in 65 career games over the past three seasons.

Carson Bantle is a 2020 NHL Draft prospect and recently ranked 104th amongst North American Skaters in the April NHL Central Scouting Report. The Hockey News ranked him No. 66 in their most recent ranking and The Hockey Writers have him 120th.

Jed Pietila is a cousin to current Huskies Blake Pietila, Logan Pietila, Brian Halonen, and David Raisanen. Jed and Raisanen were teammates for one game with the Minot Minotauros in October 2017.

Nick Nardella was teammates with Trenton Bliss at Green Bay in 2017-18 and Blais Richartz at Tri-City in 2016-17. 

Read more about all the incoming players on the official Michigan Tech Huskies website.

Kautzer Named NCAA Division II Academic All-America of the Year

Senior women's skier Amanda Kautzer of Michigan Tech has been named as the 2019-20 Academic All-America of the Year for Division II, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The Academic All-America Division II program is financially supported by the NCAA Division II national governance structure to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2019-20 Division II Academic All-America teams.

A senior biomedical engineering major from Plymouth, Minnesota, Kautzer owns a 4.00 cumulative GPA. She was named to the Academic All-America team twice and was recognized as the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team Member of the Year this year in the women's at-large program.

"I really did not understand the magnitude of this award until my conversation with (2020 CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame honoree) Stacey (Dales)," said Kautzer. "I know a lot of other student-athletes at MTU as well as other universities, and know how hard they work and how talented they are. To be recognized as a standout of that group is hard to wrap my head around.  To be honest, I did not know that this award existed, as winning recognition has never been my goal as a student-athlete."

"Athletically, I've always sought to be the best I can be, so my team can be the best it can be," added Kautzer. "While I am proud of this accomplishment, I truly believe there needs to be an asterisk next to my name to call attention to all the coaches, teammates, study-buddies, race organizer/volunteers, SIDs, and countless other people who have supported me throughout my last 10 years as a student-athlete. I am beyond thankful to all those people, and hope that I can give back to the community that's been so good to me."

Kautzer won the Elite 90 award as a senior, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA at the NCAA skiing championships. She is also an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.

Read more at the official Michigan Tech Huskies website.

Today's Campus Events

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Master's Defense: Hannah Cunningham

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