Additional Q&A from Briefings

Here are some of the questions President Mark Schlissel and other university officials were not able to get to during last week’s briefing.

SAFETY & HEALTH

Does the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling on Gov. Whitmer’s emergency order powers have any effect on the university? (Oct. 9, 2020)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Washtenaw County Health Department announced emergency measures Oct. 5 to keep COVID-19 prevention and control strategies in place, after a Michigan Supreme Court ruling last week created uncertainty for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders. The measures include wearing face coverings, limiting gathering sizes and mandatory daily health screenings of employees. U-M and the county have existing measures in place for these orders. To learn more, click here.

What U-M efforts are underway to limit or prevent large group gatherings for tailgating? (Oct. 9, 2020)

Tailgating is prohibited on the U-M campus and strongly discouraged in Ann Arbor. University parking lots will be closed and tailgating will not be allowed at Pioneer High School or Ann Arbor Golf and Outing. The university is actively working with city and campus partners to address football safety and alternative activities for students not interested in fall sports. The focus will be on socialization and engagement opportunities that are small, reduce harm and promote well-being. The Washtenaw County Health Department issued an order on gathering size restrictions to 25 or less for outdoors/10 for indoors. More information on events and planning efforts to come soon.

How is the university community being notified of potential exposures in campus buildings? (Oct. 2, 2020)

Public health community notification is designed to proactively make the U-M community aware of positive cases that were present in a U-M building during the infectious period. U-M Environment Health & Safety is conducting investigations of positive cases and their close contacts in conjunction with the Washtenaw County Health Department. Those individuals and their close contacts receive specific communications regarding their situation. Further information on public health community notifications and how the university community is being notified of potential exposes can be found here. A poster focused on addressing COVID in the classroom can be found here.

What are the consequences for individuals not following the COVID-19 guidelines on campus? (Oct. 2, 2020)

Information on how the university is addressing individuals not following the COVID-19 guidelines on campus can be found here.

How long will employees be required to work from home? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The university continues to encourage those who are able to work from home to continue to do so. University employees can find information on working from home here.

How does the university view its responsibility toward the community? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The health and well-being of the entire community is the university’s highest priority and that extends to the Ann Arbor area. University plans are informed by the latest safety measures put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Michigan, the Washtenaw County Health Department and the guidance of U-M experts from public health, education, medicine and others across our campus community who are working with the governor to keep the state of Michigan safe. The university continues to evolve its plans to protect members of the community, which include the development of a digital toolkit containing information and signage to help protect the community. U-M and the city of Ann Arbor have developed the digital toolkit based on health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Michigan. Learn more on U-M’s COVID-19 community toolkit here.

TESTING, SAMPLING & TRACKING

When and where will rapid saliva testing be available to staff/students who want it? (Oct. 9, 2020)

U-M has made some changes to its Community Sampling & Tracking Program with the move to saliva-based testing, more testing locations across campus and made the sign-up process easier for the community. The Ann Arbor U-M community is encouraged to sign up for surveillance testing through the enhanced Community Sampling and Tracking Program.

U-M announced additional CSTP testing locations that can be found here. Each week, the CSTP will bring testing to different residence hall locations. Read more on the program here.

How does the university plan to encourage students to get tested for COVID-19 when they think they have it or have been exposed? (Oct. 9, 2020)

University public health experts, in close collaboration with the Washtenaw County Health Department, recommend if you believe you have had sustained close contact (within 6 feet of a case for more than 15 minutes) with a person who has COVID-19, you should quarantine. A guide for the U-M community on available testing options on campus can be viewed here.

The university also has created graphics for on-campus students and off-campus students on what to do based on potential COVID-19 scenarios. This is in addition to the instructor’s guide for COVID in the classroom.

The university also continues to encourage the entire U-M community to use the ResponsiBLUE symptom tracker daily to check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. Additional information on what students should do if they think they have been exposed or have COVID-19 can be found here.

Why is student athlete COVID-19 testing prioritized yet other students find it more difficult to access testing as frequently? (Oct. 9, 2020)

Testing for student athletes is provided by the Big Ten Conference, and this does not affect testing capacity for others on our campus. We are relying on daily testing for student athletes since their sport does not allow them to use methods to prevent the spread of disease available to everyone else —masks, social distancing and the avoidance of interacting with large groups of people.

All students with symptoms can receive a COVID-19 test at UHS. Additionally, the U-M COVID-19 Community Sampling and Tracking Program is a free, opt-in, voluntary surveillance testing program for those on the Ann Arbor campus. All students are encouraged to sign up for the program. Learn more on the program here. 

Will U-M community member hospitalizations or deaths be listed on the U-M COVID-19 dashboard? (Oct. 9, 2020)

Michigan Medicine posts daily weekday snapshots of our current COVID-19 testing and inpatient count, which can be found here. For University of Michigan campus data, see the U-M COVID-19 Data dashboard.

Can you please define the administration’s definition of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The University of Michigan follows CDC guidelines on the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak as “a higher-­than-expected number of occurrences of disease in a specific location and time,” which is outlined on its website here.

When will saliva tests be used for the U-M COVID-19 Community Sampling and Tracking Program? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The University Health Service has an agreement with Ann Arbor-based LynxDx Inc. to offer saliva-based COVID-19 diagnostic surveillance testing services on the Ann Arbor campus. This additional testing is scheduled to launch the week of Oct. 12.

The agreement will allow the university to ramp up its testing capacity to up to 6,000 individuals per week through the U-M COVID-19 Community Sampling and Tracking Program, a free, opt-in, voluntary surveillance testing program open to students living on or off campus as well as faculty and staff who work in-person on the Ann Arbor campus.

How are students testing outside of U-M being correctly tracked? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The U-M COVID-19 dashboard presents data from several sources, which are identified by the Washtenaw County Health Department. You can learn more about how the data is being tracked here.

When will you be making COVID-19 testing accessible to the entire student body (this includes asymptomatic individuals)? (Oct. 2, 2020)

Testing is available to the U-M community through the COVID-19 Community Sampling and Tracking program, which is designed to systematically sample the campus community for early identification of changes in virus spread. This testing program is being streamlined as of the week of Oct. 12 and is able to handle more tests. Resources for asymptomatic testing can be found here.

CLASS FORMAT

When will there be a decision on the format for the winter 2021 term? (Oct. 9, 2020)

An announcement on the format for the winter 2021 term will be made no later than Nov. 1. For all university messages and news related to COVID-19, please click here.

When will there be a decision for the winter 2021 term? (Oct. 2, 2020)

U-M is actively working on a plan for the winter term and will announce details as they become available in the coming month. The university continues to learn from fall teaching experiences, which is essential for incorporating winter planning and will reach out to gather information from instructors, students and staff across the schools and colleges to help assess what’s working well and what are some of the things that need improvements.  U-M has revised its fall and winter term 2020-21 academic calendars for the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses due to challenges posed by COVID-19. You can read more here.

Will new undergrads be let into research labs this semester? (Oct. 2, 2020)

Beginning Oct. 12, all undergraduate students will be eligible to participate in in-person research and scholarship. Read more on the announcement here.

RESOURCES

How is the university responding to the mental health crisis on campus during the pandemic? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The world has changed in ways large and small. For those who could benefit from someone to talk to, support is available year-round for all students, faculty and staff on every campus and at Michigan Medicine. Resources are available in person and virtually.

As with physical well-being, mental health is a continuum. At any point in time, especially at this point in history, we all find ourselves at different states of emotional health. Some may be struggling, and some may be doing OK. No matter where one is on that continuum, the university offers support services.

Health & Wellness Resources:

  • Well-Being for Students is Student Life’s resource page for information and wellness tips related to COVID-19.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services provides information, services and tools to help students, staff, faculty, and family members reach their full potential.
  • University Health Service offers health care and individual wellness coaching to support students’ well-being and can be provided in-person or virtually.

Who do I contact if I have questions regarding COVID-19? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The U-M COVID-19 Hotline serves the campus community by connecting them to U-M resources and support during the pandemic. To reach the hotline, please call 734-936-7000. For additional contact information, click here.

RESPONSE METRICS & MITIGATION STRATEGIES

How often is the dashboard residence hall data refreshed? (Oct. 9, 2020)

The data on the number of cases in each residence hall will now be updated twice a week. Updates will be posted on Tuesday and Friday and can be viewed here. Case numbers for residence halls include new cases and historical probable cases, in addition to those confirmed cases reported previously.

What are the metrics the university is using on determining whether to ramp-down again and move to all remote teaching? (Oct. 2, 2020)

Currently defined metrics, existing mitigation tools, and possible enhanced measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are outlined here.

FINANCE

How long is the university hiring freeze expected to last for staff positions? (Oct. 9, 2020)

University hiring remains frozen with the possible exception of staff or faculty in roles considered critical and those fully funded by grants from the federal, state or non-profit sectors. Learn more here.

Can university leadership please share a clear and transparent overview of our financial situation? (Oct. 2, 2020)

The university’s financial situation has been stabilized in the short term, but there is much uncertainty ahead. University officials will consider a financial update as a topic for a future Friday live session.

RESOURCES

What support is available to employees working remote with children? (Oct. 9, 2020)

The University of Michigan is taking steps to address child care needs of faculty, staff and students. Resources available to the U-M community can be found here.

Additional information about measures related to COVID-19 from Work-Life is available here.

Where can I find COVID-19 information and resources for faculty, staff and students? (Oct. 9, 2020)

Resources and support are available for all U-M students, faculty and staff. The following resources can be found on the Campus Maize & Blueprint website:

Instructional

Non-Instructional

Research

Academic Support & Accommodations Resources

Health & Wellness Resources:

  • Well-Being for Students is Student Life’s resource page for information and wellness tips related to COVID-19.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services provides information, services, and tools to help students, staff, faculty, and family members reach their full potential. While so many students are in remote locations (in Ann Arbor or elsewhere in the country and world), in different time zones, etc., CAPS would like to highlight SilverCloud as a helpful resource. This resource can be accessed 24/7 and can be used whenever you want, have the time, at your own pace, etc.
  • University Health Service offers health care and individual wellness coaching to support students’ well-being and can be provided in-person or virtually.