November 1, 2021

HAPPY NOVEMBER! We hope you enjoyed the rainy Halloween weekend. Downtown street closures for outdoor dining will end today for the winter, although they may be back in spring.

On Saturday, Michigan State football toppled U-M in a close 37-33 win. In a game of touch football on Friday however, The Michigan Daily beat the State News for the 16th time in a row.

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Survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson and other protesters gathered on the Diag to call on U-M to take action for a safer campus Tuesday afternoon. Keith Melong/Daily. Buy this photo.

CLOSURE ON THE BOOKS: Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Janice Swift announced that classes would be canceled today amid staffing shortages and COVID-19 challenges. The move comes after a last-minute decision to hold classes virtually at select schools on Oct. 22.

According to Swift’s update at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, Oct. 22 held the highest daily amount of staff absences this year, with more than 500 AAPS staff members ill or absent.

Some community members have expressed frustration about the closures, and Swift has emphasized that she hopes to keep schools open after this cancellation.

PROTECT AND SERVE: Mayor Christopher Taylor emphasized Wednesday that the city of Ann Arbor will be enforcing its mandate establishing a Nov. 19 deadline for city employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, according to Michigan Radio. Taylor said employees who aren’t vaccinated will be suspended for 30 days and then terminated if they still have not submitted proof of vaccination.

The Police Officers Association of Michigan pushed against the mandate arguing that it is illegal according to Public Acts 86 and 87 of 2021, but the city has released a legal memo arguing that the mandate isn’t subject to the provisions of the acts.

Taylor said that more than 80% of the department has already submitted proof of vaccination and that he believes most Ann Arbor police officers support the mandate.

VAX ENFORCEMENT: U-M announced last Monday that if University staff and faculty are not vaccinated for COVID-19 before Nov. 8 and the end of the semester, respectively, they will be placed on a 30-day unpaid leave. 

If staff or faculty members have still not received the vaccine by the end of the leave, they will be subject to termination. Currently 97% of faculty and 88% of staff are vaccinated, and those who are exempt from vaccine requirements are still required to participate in weekly testing. 

SPREAD STUDY: A new preprinted study conducted by U-M found that there was little evidence of COVID-19 spread from U-M students and staff to the Ann Arbor community last fall. 

Dr. Adam Lauring, the lead researcher and a virologist at Michigan Medicine, said that the effect might be due to the student and townie communities congregating in different social settings and within their own groups.

IN THE RUNNING: Jenn Cornell, a marketing executive at Ann Arbor SPARK, announced that she will be running for the Ward 5 seat on Ann Arbor City Council, currently held by Councilmember Ali Ramlawi and in which Carrie Rheingans is also in the running. Cornell will need to collect at least 100 nominating petition signatures to be eligible.

“To me, community means neighborhoods with a variety of options for housing and transportation, a strong school system, excellent public services, safe streets, and neighbors respecting and helping each other,” Cornell wrote on her website. “It means green spaces where people can come together and children can play. It means finding what we have in common and leading with dignity and respect.”

BULLETIN BOARD: The city of Ann Arbor is seeking applicants for its new Renters Commission, including 10 voting members, a voting attorney with experience advocating for renters and two non-voting landlord representatives.

The city of Ann Arbor is also looking for residents to participate in interviews on Tuesday, Nov. 9. about their parking experiences.

We value your opinion! Each week we will pose a question and share reader responses in the following edition. Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

This week’s prompt: How do you feel about Ann Arbor Public Schools’ decision to cancel classes on Nov. 1 and hold remote classes for select schools on Oct. 22, amid staffing shortages and COVID-19 challenges?

“Ann Arbor Public Schools explains shortage of subs, breaks down staff absences”MLive

“Ann Arbor transit system investigating cyber attack that caused temporary disruptions”MLive

“Ann Arbor spent over $10M on city employee overtime in last three years” MLive

“Ann Arbor rolls out rapid EV chargers for public use downtown” MLive

“‘This campus will be safe’: Students and survivors protest against Anderson allegations, sexual misconduct on campus”The Michigan Daily

“Remembering Aut Bar: How the Iconic Ann Arbor Bar Brought a Community of LGBTQ+ People Together”Pride Source

“Looking back at 25 years of Ann Arbor’s Edgefest”Concentrate

“Could a new bandshell configuration bring rock concerts back to Ann Arbor’s West Park?”MLive

“Ann Arbor’s first ‘farm-to-table’ marijuana microbusiness sells what it grows”MLive

“U-M researchers debut robotically fabricated timber structure at Matthaei Botanical Gardens”Michigan News 

Washtenaw County reported 78 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 944 cases in the past two weeks. 73.8% of Washtenaw County residents aged 16 and over have received at least one vaccine dose. 

News tips? Comments? Questions?
A2 Outlook editors Dominick Sokotoff and Shannon Stocking can be reached at and, respectively.

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