Students in field

Finlandia Prepares for Fall 2020

August 17, 2020

learning, covid-19, classroom, mask, fall 2020

Students are making their way back to Finlandia’s campus for the Fall 2020 semester. As the university prepares to welcome approximately 400 students, new protocols and practices are being enforced to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 on campus and in the Keweenaw community. 

“We have had a task force meeting regularly since May to discuss, evaluate and implement new physical changes to campus, policies, and procedures,” said Dean of Students Erin Barnett.  “Because of our size, we have been nimble and done an extraordinary amount of work this summer to prepare for students returning.”

Finlandia’s priorities for a safe Fall 2020 include: 

  • First and foremost, the health, safety and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and our neighbors in the Houghton/Hancock community;
  • Limit and mitigate the spread of Covid-19 throughout our campus and Hancock community; 
  • Provide an excellent Finlandia education to every students; and 
  • Standing by our commitment to being a learning community dedicated to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service. 

Finlandia attempts to open safely by requiring all students and employees to:  

  • Be baseline tested for Covid-19 by the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGL) prior to the start of classes. After being tested, they are asked to quarantine until their results are processed. In order to ensure all tests are processed prior to the start of classes, Finlandia is moving the first week of classes online. FinnU is working with the Western UP Health Department to provide contact tracing.
  • Fill out a Daily Covid-19 Symptom Tracker Survey prior to arriving on campus or leaving their dorm room each day. If a person presents with symptoms, they will be referred for Covid-19 testing provided by UGL. 
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Sign the Community Promise, which is a promise to abide by social distancing and health guidelines, wear a mask, and cooperate with contact tracers.
  • Stay home if feeling unwell. 

All employees and students will also be given a personal protective equipment kit upon arriving on campus that will include a face mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and a thermometer. All employees also have to complete a Covid-19 training. Employees who are at an increased risk for Covid-19, or who live with someone at an increased risk, are allowed to work remotely, as applicable. 

In an effort to keep classrooms safe, Finlandia is pleased to offer multiple forms of instruction this year including a combination of face-to-face and livestream learning. Finlandia has also reconfigured classrooms and larger spaces on campus such as the Leroy Keranen Conference Room and the Finnish American Heritage Center to accommodate for social distancing guidelines. Professors are working directly with students who do not feel comfortable attending class in-person to offer remote learning opportunities. Finlandia adjusted its academic calendar so that classes will be online-only after Thanksgiving break. 

FinnU has also increased cleaning and invested in new technologies across campus to keep students and faculty safe including touchless water fountains and faucets, hand sanitizer dispensers and refill stations, and an OZZI machine for the Finlandia Cafe. Another initiative is that Finlandia has purchased approximately 200 wireless keyboards and mice that students can use on campus computers and check out for the entire semester from the Maki Library.  

Finlandia has introduced a new Safe Open Level System that provides insight into how the university is operating at each MI Safe Start Level. Currently, Finlandia is in Level 2. To learn more about Finlandia’s Safe Open Plan for Fall 2020, please visit finlandia.edu/fall2020

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