March 26, 2021
To All Members of the Campus Community:
COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in Washtenaw County and the state of Michigan. However, U-M COVID-19 student case counts remain lower and represent 9 percent of the cases in the county. The only Campus Response Metric currently being met is the local community metric for Washtenaw County of more than 70 new cases per million.
Please continue to follow prevention measures for socializing safely and travel. Statewide, the number of new infections is increasing dramatically, and more transmissible COVID-19 variants are in our communities.
Spring and summer term COVID-19 testing
Weekly asymptomatic testing will be required for students during the spring and summer terms. This applies to students living on campus, those registered for in-person/hybrid classes, and those accessing U-M buildings and facilities, including for work or research.
Effective May 4, students who are vaccinated will have the option to request an exemption from the mandatory testing requirement. We’ll post more information on the details of the exemption process when they’re finalized. Spring and summer information is available on the Campus Maize and Blueprint website.
Since we started vaccinations in December, Michigan Medicine has stressed that it wants to eventually vaccinate all members of the U-M community who want vaccine. However, the vaccine supply that Michigan Medicine has received from the state has not been enough to allow us to move quickly into populations like our campus employees and students.
Faculty, staff and students will be part of the Michigan Medicine vaccination program when we receive sufficient vaccine supply from the state. But please sign up at pharmacies and health departments or mass vaccination sites such as the one at Ford Field in Detroit when it is your turn. Don’t wait for a Michigan Medicine appointment. We want everyone to get a vaccine as quickly as possible.
Michigan Medicine continues to administer 100 percent of the vaccines it receives, and this week was able to schedule nearly 2,500 first dose appointments. Michigan Medicine also posts regular vaccination updates.
University Human Resources has created a COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and availability page with resources to help everyone get an appointment through a clinic, pharmacy, health department, or Michigan Medicine. The Campus Maize and Blueprint’s vaccine site has information, as well. Students may find these pages helpful, as eligibility expands on April 5 to all Michigan residents age 16 and older.
Campus COVID-19 briefing
We will continue to schedule these biweekly briefings on Fridays through at least May. Highlights from March 26, 2021:
- Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani gave an update on campus conditions and important reminders and recommendations for our community.
- Provost Susan M. Collins provided an update on spring and summer activities.
- Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon discussed the return of canopies on campus, helping students with opportunities for in-person interactions, and new details about what we’re doing to create a special experience for sophomores in Fall 2021.
- Dana Habers, chief department administrator in Radiology and a co-lead of Michigan Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Therapeutics Task Force, addressed COVID-19 vaccination and encouraged everyone to sign up wherever possible for an appointment.
- Yesterday, we announced that we will open Michigan Stadium to graduates during our May 1 virtual commencement ceremony. We’re adding this opportunity to help those graduates who want to celebrate their accomplishments together with classmates following two important changes: The state of Michigan has increased the allowed capacity of outdoor stadiums, and we are seeing far fewer COVID-19 cases among students. We’ll have many health and safety protocols in place.
- As campus events are being planned to allow more opportunities for students to engage together safely and in person, we remind everyone to stay in compliance with screenings and testing. All students attending in-person campus events are required to complete the daily ResponsiBLUE health questionnaire and weekly COVID-19 testing to meet U-M requirements for accessing campus buildings and facilities.
- Students and employees can access COVID-19-related resources on Wolverine Access. This includes our ResponsiBLUE screening check, links to sign up for asymptomatic testing, reporting positive COVID-19 test results and reporting close contact exposures for students.
During the semester, I will continue to provide weekly COVID-19 updates to help keep everyone informed and address concerns and respond to feedback and questions from our community. You may also read the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates. Stay safe and be healthy.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.