University of Michigan to resume in-person classes on January 5, with extra caution

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan will resume in-person classes starting Jan. 5, with additional COVID safety precautions in place.

“We prioritize student learning, the educational needs of our academic programs, and rewarding classroom interactions that cannot be fully replicated remotely,” said U of M President Mark Schlissel, in an email.

The post said Michigan’s plan to resume in-person classes was based, in part, on high immunization levels and compliance with masks during the fall semester.

University officials said they will continue to monitor the spread of the omicron and delta variants.

“Additionally, our classrooms – with mandatory vaccinations and masks – have remained safe throughout the pandemic,” the post from Schlissel and Provost Susan M. Collins said. “Therefore, in Ann Arbor, we do not believe that an initial period of distance education will significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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“In recognition of COVID-19 activity at the local and national levels, however, we will be implementing additional public health measures with the goal of limiting the spread of the omicron variant virus and continuing our important work. “

Here are some of the additional health and safety measures in place:

  • A COVID-19 vaccine booster is required for all students, faculty, and staff at all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine. The reporting deadline is February 4, 2022, and details on how to report will be available soon. “We urge you to boost yourself as soon as you are eligible,” the president and provost wrote, noting that a booster increases protection against symptomatic omicron infection to about 75%.

  • All students living in a dormitory are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival through the UM’s community sampling and monitoring program.

  • Students must wear face coverings in common areas of residences and at recreational sports facilities, at least until January 17, 2022. The UM indoor and transit mask requirement will remain in effect.

  • As of January 1, 2022, anyone attending paid events, including campus performances and sporting events, must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. More details will be shared soon. For the UM community, vaccination verification can be done through the ResponsiBLUE app.

  • UM strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff, regardless of their immunization status, to get tested if they have traveled during winter vacation. Most UM employees return to work on January 3 after the break.

  • The university also recommends not serving food or drink at campus gatherings to minimize the need to remove face covers.

These additional protocols are designed “to provide the best possible educational experiences for our students as safely as possible and largely in person,” the email said.

“During the break some of us experienced holiday events that family members were unable to attend due to testing positive for COVID-19,” Collins and Schlissel said. “The faster spread of the omicron variant, now the dominant strain in the United States, means more cases are likely here, as they have been in the state and nation.

“These cases appear to be milder than at the start of the pandemic, and those who are vaccinated and boosted hardly ever get seriously ill. We call on all for vigilance and continued care as we tackle this next phase of the pandemic. These two qualities were essential to the success of our fall session.

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