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The University of Michigan announced Friday that Fall 2021 COVID-19 policies, including indoor masking, vaccination requirements and weekly testing for those with vaccine exemptions, will remain in place for the Winter 2022 semester.
According to a statement published in the University Record, the plan is “building off the success of the fall term.”
The announcement comes after the University has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases since late October, attributed to socialization without masks and traveling over Fall Break. Prior to that, student cases on campus had been relatively stable. University President Mark Schlissel announced in an email Friday that though cases increased after Halloween weekend, they decreased the week of Nov. 8.
Methods of instruction will remain similar to what they were in Fall 2021, with most classes being taught in person but with some remote and hybrid options.
“U-M officials report there has been no established association with COVID-19 transmission in classrooms due to the university’s high vaccination rate, indoor masking requirement and ventilation rates that exceed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations,” the statement reads.
Face coverings will still be required indoors on campus and on campus transportation, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently ranks Washtenaw County as having high COVID-19 transmission. The statement says the transmission rate would have to fall below substantial to moderate or low transmission for the face covering requirement to be reconsidered.
For vaccinated students living on campus, masks will remain optional inside residence halls. Additionally, individuals in an enclosed private office, giving a speech from at least six feet away or receiving a health care service will not have to wear a face covering.
Weekly testing will still not be required for fully vaccinated individuals but will continue to be available through University Health Service and the Community Tracking and Sampling Program.
The University will continue to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff on all three University campuses under the vaccination policy that was announced in July. Additionally, the vaccine requirement will extend to bargained-for U-M employees who were previously exempt from the vaccination policy under the federal vaccine mandate. This includes Michigan Medicine nurses who were previously exempt.
The University will continue to allow vaccine exemptions for a limited number of medical or religious reasons. Weekly testing will continue to be required for those who receive exemptions, including temporary staff and those who work or study remotely.
As of Friday, 98% of students, 98% of faculty and 90% of staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
To submit your COVID-19 vaccine information or request an exemption, click here.