ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — Classes at the University of Michigan will resume in-person on Jan. 5, 2022 with additional health and safety protocols in place for the winter semester, the university announced on Tuesday.
“We are prioritizing student learning, the pedagogical needs of our academic programs and the enriching classroom interactions that can’t be fully replicated remotely,” President Mark Schlissel and Provost Susan M. Collins said in an email sent to students, faculty and staff.
The email said the decision was made based on the success of the fall semester with “very high levels of vaccination and excellent compliance with our rules around indoor face coverings.” Even with the announced plans, university officials will continue to monitor the spread of the delta and omicron variants and adapt the health and safety strategies accordingly.
The president and provost said in the email that in recent semesters, whether classes were online or in-person, students have continued to return to Ann Arbor at the start of the semester.
“In addition, our classrooms — with required vaccination and masking — have remained safe throughout the pandemic. Therefore, in Ann Arbor, we do not believe an initial period of remote education will significantly diminish spread of COVID-19,” the email said. “In recognition of the activity of COVID-19 locally and nationally, however, we will implement additional public health measures with the goal of limiting spread of the omicron variant virus and continuing our important work.”
Additional health and safety measures that were developed by the Campus Health Response Committee include:
- Requiring a COVID-19 booster shot for all students, faculty and staff on all three campuses including Michigan Medicine. The deadline to report is Feb. 4, 2022. More details will be released closer to the deadline.
- Requiring all students living in a campus residence hall to get a COVID-19 test upon arrival through the school’s Community Sampling and Tracking Program.
- Requiring face coverings in common areas of residence halls and Recreation Sports facilities, at least through Jan. 17, 2022. The indoor and transit mask requirement will remain in place.
- Requiring all attendees of ticketed events, including on-campus performances and athletic events, show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
- Encouraging all students, faculty and staff to get tested if they’ve traveled over the winter break regardless of vaccination status.
- Recommending food and drinks not be served at on-campus gatherings to limit the need to remove face coverings.
“The more-rapid spread of the omicron variant, now the dominant strain in the United States, means that greater case numbers are likely here, as they have been around the state and nation. These cases seem to be milder than earlier in the pandemic, and those who are vaccinated and boosted almost never get seriously ill,” the email said. “We ask for everyone’s continued vigilance and care as we tackle this next phase of the pandemic. Both of these qualities were essential to our fall term’s success.”