For the past few weeks, COVID-19 cases at the University of Michigan have been trending downward, according to data from the University’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Percent positivity has also declined for both the Community Sampling and Tracking Program and tests administered by the University Health Service. Last week, U-M students made up only 10% of the cases in Washtenaw County, and Quarantine & Isolation housing is currently at 2.5% occupancy, nearly 40% less than the omicron peak of 42%
The University required students to receive a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine with a Feb. 4 deadline. Robert Ernst, Associate Vice President of Student Life for Health and Wellness and director of the COVID-19 Campus Health Response Committee, said it is essential for everyone in the University community to report booster updates and information.
“A highly vaccinated community is crucial to the success of all our activities,” Ernst said. “Please help us by reporting your information. We need to hear from everyone.”
Students can use a University-provided infographic to check if they are in compliance with the University’s updated COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements.
For the past semester, students across campus have followed all of the necessary protocols in hopes of a return to “normal.” LSA freshman Ian Prchlik said he believes the lower case counts are a result of the University’s COVID-19 protocols.
“I think for now it seems to be working,” Prchlik said. “I would be okay with them updating it for next semester, but for this semester it is working and I don’t think anything needs to be changed. But definitely for the future, if cases are low, they can reduce the protocols.”
As a part of the University’s updated plan for the winter semester, the campus community is required to wear masks in most campus settings and get tested if symptoms appear. Ernst told the University Record public statement the existing COVID-19 mitigation strategies allowed for an in-person fall experience which had a variety of benefits for the entire community.
“From the high vaccination rate and required weekly testing for those who are not fully vaccinated, layered on top of indoor masking… we’ve maintained an environment on campus that has allowed our community to return to many of the pre-pandemic experiences that were missed in 2020,” Ernst said. “We continue to take additional precautions to keep our community safe, healthy and together.”
University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an email to The Michigan Daily the University’s Campus Health Response Committee is constantly reviewing the latest data to recommend changes to University COVID-19 policies.
“At this moment we have no changes in protocol and with Spring Break so quickly upon us, it seems unlikely there will be any changes before classes resume the week of March 7,” Fitzgerald wrote. “Watch for any updated narratives on the COVID-19 dashboard and follow University updates to hear about any potential future changes.”
Prchlik said he would like more in-person student interactions when cases are low, and if they do start to rise again, more cautious protocols can be reinforced.
“I really enjoy sporting events and clubs,” Prchlik said. “Hopefully we can continue to attend those in the coming semesters. If masks or vaccinations are required for that, I’m fine with doing whatever has to be done.”
Daily Staff Reporter Sejal Patil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.