Open Safe

Opening Safely for Fall 2020

FinnU's Safe Open Plan Fall 2020


Fall 2020

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Additional policies and details regarding student life, athletics, and dining services are forthcoming. 

FinnU’s Spring 2020 Covid-19 Response


Updates to the Academic Calendar

As Finlandia prepares for a safe return to face-to-face instruction in the fall, adjustments have been made to the fall 2020 academic calendar. The revisions include the following:

  • Following the Thanksgiving Break (November 23 – 27, Monday – Friday), the final two weeks of the fall semester (one week of instruction and one week of finals) will be completed remotely (online). 
  • The residence hall will close for the fall semester on Saturday, November 21 at noon. Plans to accommodate students who need to remain on campus will be in place.
Key Dates for 2020 Fall Semester

First Faculty Meeting AY2020/21: Monday, August 17
Check-in: Begins August 6 (all students will receive individual instruction on arrival times)
New Student Orientation: Friday-Saturday, August 21-22
Residence Hall Open for Returning Students: Saturday, August 22
Classes Begin: Monday, August 24
Residence Hall Closes for Fall Semester: Saturday, noon, November 21 
Thanksgiving Break: Monday-Friday, November 23-27
Classes Resume Remotely: Monday-Friday, November 30-December 4
Fall Semester Remote Finals: Monday-Friday, December 7-11

The 2020/21 academic calendar otherwise remains unchanged.    

Finlandia’s Priorities for a Safe Open Fall 2020
  • first and foremost, the health, safety and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and our neighbors in the Hancock community;
  • limit and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout our campus and Hancock community;
  • providing an excellent Finlandia education to every student; and 
  • standing by our commitment to being a learning community dedicated to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service. 
Commitments to Wellness Resources and Practices
Health and Wellness Center

This new service is complemented by Finlandia’s own nursing faculty and regional healthcare providers who offer a professional, highly trained resource for serving the health and wellness needs of our community at such a time as this.

Finlandia’s new, on-campus health center will provide the following services:

  • Physical Wellness and Screening 
  • Mental Health 
  • Telehealth 
  • Wellness Programming across campus
  • Coordination of healthcare needs with appropriate qualified professionals
Mandatory Training and Education

All students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete online training prior to the start of the fall semester. Training and education modules will be built using recommended tools by the American College Health Association and others.  Content will include general health and safety practices including appropriate use of personal protection equipment (PPE), as well as campus-specific protocols addressing cleaning and disinfecting practices. Training and education will continue and evolve as needed throughout the semester.


Finlandia is preparing for baseline testing for all students when arriving on campus. This testing will be coordinated through Finlandia’s wellness center as part of our collaboration with Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center. More information will be provided as plans are completed.

Symptom Monitoring/Daily Screening

At the start of the fall semester, all students, faculty, and staff will receive a personal monitoring and prevention kit that includes:  

  • 2 pair gloves
  • 1-12-pack of alcohol wipes
  • 2 oz. hand sanitizer
  • 1 disposable mask 
  • Digital thermometer

Finlandia has developed an automated, daily online questionnaire for daily, personal screening.  All students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete this health screen each morning.  Based on the answers provided to the seven questions, the tool will inform them that they are clear to attend class or report to work, stay in their room, or stay home.  Human resources and student affairs offices receive notice of screening results that indicate additional attention is required.  


Any student, faculty or staff member exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be required to remain in their place of residence and report to 1) to their healthcare provider; or 2) Finlandia’s health and wellness center. All faculty, staff and students will be provided a listing of contact information for local health systems, the WUP Public Health Department, and other health and wellness resources.

Isolation and quarantine protocols are being prepared for students testing positive with COVID-19.

Contact Tracing 

Systems and protocols for contact tracing will be in place, facilitated by the health and wellness center in collaboration with the Western Upper Peninsula Public Health Department.


Students, faculty, and staff must wear face coverings when inside buildings and when outside in situations when physical distancing is not an option. This expectation will not apply when eating in dining areas and when employees are working alone in their offices.

Safe Learning

Finlandia’s small class sizes make it ideal for students looking for an on-campus learning experience while staying safe. While the classrooms may be set up differently this year with social distancing protocols in place, our professors are prepared to provide the exceptional learning experience Finlandia is known for.

Instructional Spaces

  • Classroom spaces will be arranged in low-density configurations, cutting capacity from 100% to 40%. To illustrate, a classroom currently arranged for 30 students will be reconfigured for 12 students. 
  • Finlandia will be prepared to schedule and convert larger meeting spaces into effective instructional spaces better able to accommodate distancing guidelines.  These include, for example, the Leroy Karanen Room at the Jutila Center, The Chapel of St. Matthew, and the Martha Wiljanen Hall at the Finnish American Heritage Center. 
Science Labs and Clinical Sites

Finlandia is preparing for a hybrid approach to science lab work.  This includes the use of virtual technology that allows lab partners to conduct their work while maintaining wellness and distancing protocols.  

Students participating in off-campus clinical education will be accountable to those standards and protocols governing each individual site. 

Maki Library

Protocols and practices will be in place for safe use of the resources at Maki Library.  These will include directional signage, special disinfection practices and use of PPE, additional safety measures for use of computers and other equipment, and modified check-out procedures.   

Computer Labs

Computer lab spaces will be arranged for low-density use to ensure that users maintain 6-foot distancing. Continual cleaning of the computer lab spaces will remain a top priority to help in reducing the spread of germs.

Student Support Offices

Offices and individuals that personally interface with students, such as Campus Safety & Security, the TLC, academic advising, and Student Accounts, will employ various safety measures to maintain physical distance and reduce contact. These include plexiglass shields between staff and students, making appointments in advance online instead of waiting in groups, and virtual meetings.

Safe Housing

Residence Halls

For many students, Finlandia Hall is a home away from home. We’re committed to ensuring that home is as safe as possible for its residents.

  • Finlandia Hall is preparing for operating at reduced capacity with dedicated rooms for isolation/quarantine needs.  
  • Access hours will be assigned to the laundry room.  
  • Floor lounges will be closed.  
  • In addition to the normal list of items to pack for the life in the residence halls, resident students should bring 3-4 washable cloth face coverings (or a face shield) and any personally preferred cleaning supplies to augment what is provided by the University. 
  • Overnight guest visitation is suspended for the 2020/21 academic year.  
  • Elevator use will be highly restricted, available only at the time of check-in, or by students with mobility challenges.

All students will be mailed and emailed detailed information regarding residence hall move-in procedures prior to arrival.  These procedures will include assigned arrival times, special arrangements for students arriving by air, and dedicated disinfection protocols related to move-in activities and high traffic areas.

Opening Safe for All

Finlandia is committed to opening safe for all.  The systemic racism that contributed to the violent killing of George Floyd and other black Americans in the past weeks calls us to reaffirm Finlandia’s essential commitment to foster enduring positive change in how we think, act, and feel in matters of the self, others, and the wider world.  

Finlandia is small. We are multi-colored. We are from various faith traditions and no faith traditions.  We are rural and urban. We are gay and straight.  We are local.  We are from coast to coast and beyond.  The common calling of ELCA Lutheran higher education urges the practice of radical hospitality, of service to neighbor, of bold questioning, and to love one another as God has loved us.  We welcome all to learn from all so that all may flourish.   Finlandia’s spiritual and intellectual tradition calls us to embrace and value each story, in order to more fully understand and celebrate our differentness and work toward a more just and peaceful world. To this we aspire.  This is our shared vision.  You are welcome here.

Opening safe for all means thoughtfully and deliberately preparing for a year of honest talk, deeper reflection, and  sustained action.  This work may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable for many.  We will not all hold similar convictions or draw the same conclusions. Perhaps the riskiest work of all is the journey inward; exploring and naming one’s own  deeply seated motivations, assumptions, and fears.  Finlandia is committed to accompanying you in your daring self-examination as well as in your unique self-expression. In all of this, our community’s speech and action will be life-giving, not life-diminishing.

Over the coming weeks I will work and learn with you, our campus pastor, our equity and diversity committee, and other faculty and staff.  We will imagine meaningful ways to foster conversations, encourage reflection, and engage in constructive action that leads toward enduring positive change in how we think, act, and feel in such matters.  We will be doing this together because Finlandia believes opening safe for all matters as much as a safe open.

More on Covid-19

See Finlandia’s Full Covid-19 response in the Spring 2020 semester here.


The best offense is a good defense. Finlandia is encouraging all who visit its campus to practice prevention techniques recommended by the CDC, including wearing a mask. Wearing a mask not only protects yourself against the disease, but also protects others in the event you have Covid-19 without realizing it.

Face Masks/Coverings
  • One disposable face mask is provided in the personal health kit that is distributed to all students, faculty, and staff at the beginning of the school year.  
  • All residence hall rooms will be supplied with additional PPE, including disposable face masks and gloves.
  • All members of the campus community are encouraged to bring extra masks when coming to campus.  Face shields will be provided for those unable/unwilling to use face masks and for instructional activities that require them.  
  • Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear masks or shields when inside common building areas or where distancing is not possible.  
  • Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms.   
  • Face coverings will be worn in the dining room in Finn Hall except for when sitting and eating.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, even in their own rooms.  
  • While in campus offices, faculty and staff members are not required to wear masks unless others are present.   
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  • Students who cannot wear face coverings due to a diagnosed disability must contact the Dean of Students with appropriate disability documentation from the treating specialist. Please contact Disability Support Services to obtain the guidelines for appropriate disability documentation.
Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
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  • A refillable 2 oz. hand sanitizer is included in each student’s wellness packet, which they will receive at check-in.  
  • Hand sanitizer refill stations will be available at numerous locations across campus.
  • Educational materials about infection control, social distancing, hand washing, covering coughs/sneezes with elbows, and staying home for work/class will be distributed to the community at the beginning of the semester. 
Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Finlandia will take the necessary steps to establish protocols and practices for cleaning and disinfecting based on CDC and the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department guidelines.
  • Common areas will be subject to frequent sanitizing.  All classrooms and residence hall rooms are being thoroughly sanitized before students arrive this fall.
  • Laptop, keyboard, and phone cleaning stations will be set up in the Maki Library, the TLC, Mannerheim Central, and Finlandia Hall.
  • Housekeeping staff will be focused on cleaning in the most critical areas of campus. Therefore, our entire community will have to do their part to assist with sanitizing and cleaning our campus environment.
Larger Group Gatherings
  • Finlandia will adhere to the State of Michigan’s guidelines in place regarding group gatherings.  At Phase 5, indoor gatherings of 50 or less and outdoor gatherings of 250 or less are permitted, as long as appropriate social distancing can be maintained.
Off-campus Activities
  • Students who live on campus are encouraged to limit time off-campus, as is appropriate and possible.
  • Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to wear a face-covering when in public spaces off-campus and to maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Fall athletes who are required to travel off-campus will self-monitor symptoms and report changes in health to their coach for further monitoring.
  • Employee Travel: All international travel is suspended.  Domestic travel must be approved by supervisors.  
  • Student Travel: Any student traveling internationally will be required to register and quarantine for two weeks following return.  Students are encouraged not to travel unnecessarily.

Know the symptoms
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are exhibiting these symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider to discuss next steps and testing options.

Community Standards

Safety and Wellness Policy Enforcement
  • Campus Safety and Security personnel will address policy violations.
  • Supervisors will ensure departmental staff compliance.
  • Housing staff, including resident advisors, will be empowered to issue warnings, and repeat offenders would be sent through the University’s student disciplinary procedures for violating University policy.
  • Maxient, a campus safety/security reporting software, is available to all community members so they themselves can report violations for follow up from Campus Safety and Security.
Bias Based Discrimination and Stigmatization
What is cognitive bias?
  • Cognitive bias is when humans filter information in a way that helps to simplify it so that it results in inaccurate assumptions.
What is stigmatization?
  • Stigmatization is when humans make negative assumptions about people or groups of people based on perceived or real differences, which can lead to discrimination.

The fear and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has provoked cognitive bias and discriminatory behaviors against people of certain ethnic backgrounds as well as anyone perceived to have been in contact with the virus. That fear and anxiety can also create a stigma aimed toward specific people, groups of people or places, which can lead to discrimination, labeling or stereotyping. We know that people of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and physical abilities are susceptible to COVID-19.

Finlandia University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the community (students, faculty, and staff) are respected and treated with dignity, free from bias and harassment.

We encourage victims of hate crimes, harassment, or bias to report the incident to the appropriate authorities or use the Maxient reporting form

Finlandia’s Equity Policy is available here.

It is more important than ever for the Finlandia community to treat one another with kindness and respect.

Safe Open Plan Fall 2020Latest Updates