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The University of Michigan will relax its mask and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff, the University’s Board of Regents announced during its meeting Thursday afternoon.
Starting June 21, fully vaccinated individuals who self-report their vaccination status to the University will no longer be required to wear a face covering in University buildings. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine series authorized for use in the United States.
Individuals in classrooms, on transit vehicles and in patient care areas must continue to wear face coverings. Michigan Medicine has not relaxed its policy and still requires masks be worn in all Michigan Medicine buildings. The University has said it will reevaluate rules regarding classrooms as more information about vaccination rates becomes available.
As of June 16, the University had verified 21,435 students’ vaccination information across all three campuses. Members of the University community can continue reporting their vaccination status by using the COVID-19 Vaccination Self Report Form on Wolverine Access.
The ResponsiBLUE app will also be updated later to include vaccination status. The Michigan Daily asked the University if this would be used to enforce the new face covering restrictions and in response, University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the University will have other measures in place to ensure guidelines are being followed.
“The U-M Accountability and Compliance team will continue to review participation and follow up with students in the mandatory testing cohort to address any non-compliance,” Fitzgerald wrote. “The university’s approach for fall will rely on the systems it has built to communicate and encourage compliance directly with participants. The university will re-evaluate measures to address compliance, including possible ResponsiBLUE screen checks at various campus locations, if necessary based on conditions in the fall.”
University President Mark Schlissel called the event an important step in returning to normalcy and encouraged those who have not been vaccinated to get their shot.
“We are pleased to see the progress of our community throughout this pandemic, and the lifting of masking and distancing for fully vaccinated individuals while indoors is one more important milestone as we resume more traditional activities,” Schlissel said. “Vaccines work and are safe. All members of the U-M community are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and self-report their vaccination information as soon as possible to inform the university’s COVID-19 management plan for the upcoming fall term.”
Individuals who have not reported their vaccination to the University, and all those who have not been vaccinated, must still wear face coverings and maintain social distance. Unvaccinated students must also continue to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing through the University’s Community COVID-19 Sampling and Tracking Program.
Students living in University Housing have until July 16 to upload their vaccination cards to Wolverine Access or request an exemption. If students do not submit the information by that date, they will be ineligible for University Housing in the fall. Students who have been exempt will still be required to wear face coverings and receive weekly testing for COVID-19.
The announcement is part of a series of restrictions being eased both at the University and statewide. University officials announced the repeal of mask mandates outdoors in May, and the state of Michigan will end all COVID-19 restrictions on June 22.
Vaccines are available on a walk-in basis at Michigan Medicine and University Health Services.
Daily Summer News Editor Dominic Coletti can be reached at email@example.com.