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The University of Michigan will require vaccinations against COVID-19 for all students planning to live in a University residence hall during the Fall 2021 semester, Martino Harmon, vice president of Student Life, announced in a COVID briefing Friday afternoon.
Students planning to live in residence halls will need to show proof of receiving both doses of a two-dose series vaccine or a single dose of a one-dose series vaccine by July 15th in order to live in University housing.
Requiring vaccinations was the best way to ensure the University could have a safe return to campus that resembled some form of normalcy, Harmon said.
“We know that widespread vaccination will be the only way to facilitate a return to normal and robust campus life,” Harmon said. “And we would like to provide a living environment for students this coming fall that is as close to the fall of 2019, pre-COVID-19, as possible. This is not a mandate to be vaccinated, but rather a choice to live in communal living and therefore make the choice to get vaccinated.”
F. Dubois Bowman, Dean of the School of Public Health, said the decision was also made in part due to rising cases of the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant in Michigan, as well as the risks of increased spread associated with communal living.
“Congregate living settings, like residence halls, are at high risk for spread of illness,
especially with B.1.1.7 and other variants that spread more easily,” Bowman said. “Vaccination is a key prevention tool to be used in this space, and beyond, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Students will be able to upload proof of their vaccinations to Wolverine Access in order to move into their dorm. Students may also apply for an exemption by July 15th.
The move comes after the University announced that Fall 2021 will “feel like a transition,” with the return of a more traditional residential experience. Following that announcement, campus groups began organizing in support of mandating vaccinations not long thereafter, though University President Mark Schlissel declined to get behind a mandate in an earlier interview with The Daily. The Senate Assembly passed a resolution supporting a mandate for students, faculty, and staff during their April 19 meeting.
No further decisions have been made on vaccination requirements for other members of the campus community, or for attending activities such as in-person classes or sporting events, according to an email to The Daily from U-M spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald.
“At this time, the university will continue to monitor the evolving COVID situation and strongly urge everyone in the university community to get vaccinated,” Fitzgerald wrote.
If off-campus students decide to report their vaccination through Wolverine Access, they will be exempt from testing requirements starting during the Spring 2021 semester.
On Wednesday, Michigan Medicine opened up walk-in vaccinations to all adults 16+ from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has announced another walk-in vaccination clinic at Michigan Stadium will take place Friday. For more information and scheduling information, visit the Maize & Blueprint Vaccination page.