Effective Monday, May 2, the University of Michigan will no longer mandate the use of masks in classrooms or on U-M transportation — including all campus Blue Buses and buses contracted by the University — according to an email sent to the U-M community by Robert Ernst, Associate Vice President of Student Life, and Preeti Malani, U-M Chief Health Officer, on Wednesday.
“The changes to the face covering policy are consistent with the COVID-19 community level guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides a measure of the impact of COVID-19 illness on health and health-care systems in addition to current case activity to help inform decision making for mitigation measures at the local level,” the email reads.
Mask usage in classrooms will still be required until the end of the winter 2022 term for the two schools, the Law School and the Medical School, whose winter term classes and exams do not finish until early May. Masks continue to be required for all patients, faculty and visitors at Michigan Medicine, as well as in COVID-19 testing sites.
The updated policy comes over a month after the University lifted its mask mandate for most indoor spaces.
The campus community is still expected to remain up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations — completion of a primary series and a booster — according to University policy.
Members of the campus community with an exemption from the vaccination policy are still expected to get weekly testing, which remains available through the University Community Sampling and Tracking Program (CSTP).
Weekly COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County have consistently risen since early March. The case rate reached the year’s lowest point the week of March 5, when only 219 confirmed cases were recorded. Cases have been steadily increasing since then, with 949 cases confirmed in the last full week. However, the number of new COVID-19 cases on campus has decreased over the past two weeks but remains at a rate hundreds of cases higher than this year’s low rate of 29 additional cases in the week ending in March 5.
Other college campuses have reinstated mask mandates this month after a rise in COVID-19 cases. Colleges such as Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University have made masks required in classrooms and in certain indoor spaces.
“Masks remain an effective measure for enhanced personal protection against the spread of COVID-19, especially for individuals who have a compromised immune status, who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, or who have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19,” the email reads.
Managing News Editors Riley Hodder and Eli Friedman and Daily News Editor Anna Fifelski can be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.