Tips for Travel in the Time of COVID-19

Michigan Tech's Fall Break starts today (Oct. 15) with classes and activities suspended until Monday (Oct. 19). Some students and staff are taking advantage of the break to return home to reconnect with family and friends, while many will stay close to campus practicing physical distancing and other behaviors to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Traveling during the pandemic is a topic most of us have thought about, from this "mini-vacation," to the much longer upcoming holiday breaks. Traveling in and of itself is really not the issue, according to epidemiologist Kelly Kamm (KIP) — the behavior we practice while traveling is. "The rules have certainly changed," said Kamm. "We have to have a mindset that we are at risk by who we come into contact with and, conversely, we could be putting those who come into contact with us at risk."

Kamm said in some ways the script has flipped from when students returned to campus several weeks ago. "When the semester started we had very little positive cases and many people coming into the area were coming from hot spots, locations with much higher rates," she said. "Now things have slowed down elsewhere and we are now the hot spot, and we certainly don't want to spread the coronavirus." She notes that while the number of positive cases on campus remains low, numbers remain high in the larger community.

"It's a good idea for travelers to learn about the levels of transmission at their destination. That information should be included in the process of deciding whether or not to travel," Kamm added.

Kamm said if there is one cardinal rule, it is not to travel if you are in quarantine or isolation under the guidance of the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD). This is especially important when it comes to contact tracing and other factors. "If you leave the area, you enter the jurisdiction of another health department," she said. "If you should become sick, contact tracing becomes much more complicated, as it entails communication between two or more health departments." Kamm said it is also imperative to stay where you are if you get sick during the break.  

She notes that it's important to realize the disease can strike quite suddenly, which has to be taken into account when making travel plans. "If you are riding with someone, you have to consider what will happen if they get sick," she said. "Not only are you left without a ride, but you may have to remain where you are if you are required to quarantine or isolate."

While traveling, it is important to take your safe health practices with you. "Consider bringing food with you rather than eating out," Kamm advised. "Be aware of sanitary conditions when stopping on the road — and of course, wear a face covering at all times, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands often." 

Once you've arrived, other rules should be followed. "Don't go to see people who are considered at high risk," said Kamm. This includes older individuals, those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, and those with compromised immune systems. 

There are also some commonsense practices to keep in mind. If you want to have a drink or a cup of coffee with a friend, carefully consider the location. "No matter where you go, there is the danger of community transmission," Kamm said. "Rather than meeting in a bar or coffee shop, choose a safe location where distancing can be practiced."

Kamm said we should adopt the mindset that we could already have the virus, and those we come into contact with may have it as well. "It's important to remember that someone else's heath affects your life, just as your health affects someone else," she stated.

Kamm advised that many of these practices need to be part of our lives whether we travel or not. "This is not going away anytime soon," she said. "Human interaction is not only possible, it is essential. But we have to do it safely."

More information on COVID-19 can be found at the WUPHD website. Information on Michigan Tech's response to the pandemic can be found at

Celebrate Conflict Resolution Day

Conflict Resolution Day was conceived in 2005 by the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) to:

  • Promote awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation and other creative, peaceful means of resolving conflict
  • Promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system
  • Recognize the significant contributions of (peaceful) conflict resolvers
  • Obtain national synergy by having celebrations happen across the country and around the world on the same day

The third Thursday of October has become a time to promote and celebrate peaceful conflict resolution practices worldwide. Dedicated dispute resolution practitioners are helping to educate the public about mediation and other innovative conflict management processes. The ACR, as well as numerous other organizations, are working to raise awareness of the importance of mediation and conflict resolution.

This past summer a group of faculty and staff at the University developed a system for faculty, staff and students to request conflict assistance. There are a number of faculty and staff who are trained as mediators and/or facilitators to assist individuals with resolving interpersonal conflicts. Please visit here for more information on the Conflict Resolution Network at Michigan Tech.

Frank Vahid of ZyBooks to Present Lecture Oct. 23

A lecture by Frank Vahid will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 via Zoom. Vahid will present, "Teaching intro CS: Online and in-person techniques for improved learning, cost savings, and reduced cheating."

Vahid is a professor of computer science and engineering, University of California, Riverside, and zyBooks co-founder and chief learning officer.

Joel L’Esperance signs with Dallas for two more years

Former Michigan Tech hockey player Joel L'Esperance has signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Dallas Stars. L'Esperance has appeared in 21 games for the Stars over the past two seasons and has three career NHL goals.

L'Esperance originally signed a two-year deal with Dallas in July 2018 as an undrafted free agent after beginning his professional career with an amateur tryout agreement in March 2018 with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

The Brighton, Michigan native appeared in three regular-season games for Dallas at the beginning of the 2019-20 season. He scored one goal and had two penalty minutes. In his first full pro season in 2018-19, L'Esperance played 18 games for Dallas in the regular season and scored a pair of goals. He also scored 30 AHL goals to rank ninth in the league in scoring while leading the Texas Stars. He was second amongst all rookies in the AHL in goals and also added 15 assists in 54 games.

L'Esperance played four seasons for Michigan Tech, appearing in 152 career games from 2014-18. He was an alternate captain as a senior and finished with 98 career points, racking up over 25 points in each of his final three seasons. In 20 career playoff games, he had 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists while finding the scoresheet in all three NCAA games with two assists and a goal.


Fill Out the COVID-19 Symptom Tracking Form Before Coming to Campus

A reminder that no one is permitted to come to campus with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. All employees are required to monitor their symptoms daily before coming to campus. The Daily Symptom Tracking Form is a short form that will help you determine if you have COVID-19 symptoms. 

In addition, all visitors must fill out the Visitor Symptom Tracking Form each day before coming on campus. 


Michigan Space Grant Consortium Funding Opportunities

The Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) aims to foster awareness of, education in, and research on space and Earth-related science and technology in Michigan. Funding opportunities are available in the following categories:

  • Undergraduate fellowship
  • Graduate fellowship
  • Pre-college education
  • Public outreach
  • Teacher training
  • Research seed grant


  • Friday, Oct. 30 at noon — Internal deadline for pre-college education, public outreach, teacher training, and research seed grant proposals
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2 at noon — Internal deadline for undergraduate and graduate fellowship proposals
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. — Final materials, after review and approval by SPO, must be uploaded to MSGC by the applicant

Proposals exceeding stated page limits or submitted without prior review by Michigan Tech will not be considered for funding. Women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply to all MSGC funding opportunities.

Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for fellowship grants. For instructions detailing proposal submission procedures and requirements, visit For more information, contact Paige Hackney in the Pavlis Honors College or call 7-4371.


Creditable Coverage Notice for those Covered by Medicare

Federal regulations require Michigan Tech to send the Medicare Part D, certificate of creditable coverage disclosure form, prior to the annual Medicare Part D election period, which begins today (Oct. 15) and runs through Dec. 7.

The disclosure only applies to those employees who are age 65 and older or who have a dependent that is enrolled in Medicare. Michigan Tech’s prescription coverage is creditable, meaning that it is expected to cover on average as much as the Standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The certificate of creditable coverage notice can be viewed online.


Biological Sciences Seminar Today

The next Biological Sciences Seminar Series will take place at 4 p.m. today (Oct. 15) via Zoom. Clare Chialvo will present "Characterizing a Biochemical Novelty: Toxin Tolerance in Mushroom-feeding Drosophila." Chialvo is an assistant professor of biology at Appalachian State University.


MTU Research Forum 2021 Distinguished Lecture Nominations Open

Nominations are open for the Spring 2021 Michigan Tech Research Forum Distinguished Lecture. A faculty member's selection to give the MTRF Distinguished Lecture honors the faculty member for their research impact.

Faculty are selected for their ability to increase the knowledge of our community by connecting their research with societal and community concerns. Topics are broad, spanning all colleges and schools at Michigan Tech.

The Distinguished Lecture will be given at the April 2021 Research Forum event. Nominate a colleague or yourself by completing the online form by Nov. 1. Contact Shari Stockero with any questions.

In the News

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted in the story 3D Printing for Preppers: Ultimaker on Emergency 3D Printing in 3DPrint.


Guy Meadows (GLRC) is mentioned in the story "Group thinks it has found proof of 10,000-year-old, Ice Age culture in Straits of Mackinac," in the Detroit Free Press.


In Print

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored the article " Decentralized Renewable Hybrid Mini-Grids for Rural Communities: Culmination of the IREP Framework and Scale up to Urban Communities" in Sustainability.


On the (Virtual) Road

Liz Fujita (ECE) will present at the fall Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) Virtual Conference on Saturday (Oct. 17).

Her presentation "Two Approaches to ECE Pre-College Outreach," will focus on the two K-12 outreach awards secured by the ECE department through MSGC virtual outreach device accessibility ($5,000) and a cascading mentorship outreach program ($10,000) in collaboration with Gretchen Hein (MMET/SWE).

Today's Campus Events

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Walking Gallery Tour: Hero City: Documentary Photography by Meghan Kirkwood

Hero City: Documentary Photography by Meghan Kirkwood features a collection of silver gelatin and inkjet photographs made as part of a documentary project about modern...


PhD Defense: Chaitanya Ganesh Bhat

Civil Engineering Advisor: Amlan Mukherjee Life Cycle Information Models: Communicating Environmental Impacts to Support Design Decision-Making Attend Virtually:...


Building Resilience Workshop

When faced with difficulty and challenges in life, how does a person cope, adapt, and bounce back? This workshop focuses on the concept of resilience and how to build these...


Bio. Sci. Seminar - Dr. Chialvo

Here is the link to see the recorded seminar. Link:...


Brain Break - College of Computing

Join us for an informal chance to meet others and learn more about the opportunities associated with the College of Computing.


Building Emotional Strength Workshop

Unhappy and don't know what to do about it? Life is messy - rise above the mess. Learn how to understand your emotions and keep them from taking over. Sign up here:...


Cubing Club - General Meeting

Come to learn about, practice, compete, and take joy in solving various twisty puzzles, such as the 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube. If you plan to attend, please fill out this Google...


Adult Huskies Swim Clinic Session 1

Adult Huskies Swim Clinic provides additional attention and competitive guidance to swimmers ages 18 and up who are looking to improve their swimming skills and fitness levels...


Game Show Night

Love watching game shows? Well, this event is for you! Join us for an evening playing some of your favorite game shows. There will be prizes! This is also an online...