Campus Weekly COVID-19 Briefings


Oct. 20, 2020 briefing

President Mark S. Schlissel noted the Washtenaw County Health Department Stay in Place order and U-M’s update to class formats. (Timestamp: 1:00)

Washtenaw County Health Officer Jimena Loveluck discussed the county’s order and collaboration with university health leaders. (1:52)

U-M Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani discussed the campus conditions that led to the decisions. (9:04)

Dr. Rob Ernst, chair of the Campus Health Response Committee, discussed the campus response metrics and the university’s actions. (14:43)

Provost Susan M. Collins discusses details about the new guidance on class formats, library services, research labs, undergraduate on-campus jobs, and winter semester surveys and planning. (21:00)

Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon discussed Student Life outside the classroom during “Stay in Place,” choices for leaving campus, winter semester considerations, voting, and urged everyone to help curb the spread and finish the semester strong. (33:14)

President Schlissel thanked the many members of our community who have been following PH guidelines or working to make our community safer, and discsused how today’s changes provide choices to students and instructors. (33:14)

The leaders answered questions from the community:

  • We’ve been asked a lot about plans to enforce compliance with public health guidelines in recent weeks. Now there’s a county order to consider as well. Can you discuss enforcement measures? (37:56)
  • Can you share more about U-M testing for students who want to leave campus? (44:33)
  • Why do the county order and U-M’s changes to class formats affect undergraduate students only? (49:15)
  • Is there a possibility that this order will be extended after its initial expiration? Can you confirm that this order will indeed only be for two weeks? (50:24)
  • Can you address why athletics is continuing? (51:40)
  • May I stay in my classroom and teach even though my students will all be remote? It is easier for me to teach at school than at home. (56:10)
  • Can you address what you’ve done to deal with clusters in places like Markley and Greek Life houses? (56:45)

Oct. 16, 2020 briefing

Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani shared an update on campus conditions. (Timestamp: 1:17)

Provost Susan M. Collins discussed surveys of the community on winter semester planning, challenges that are affecting members of our community, and our Democracy and Debate Theme Semester. (7:50)

Vice President for Student Life Harmon discussed the possibility of offering safe dining-in options for students, health & wellness information, and civic engagement opportunities. (13:35)

President Schlissel discussed the importance of cooperating with U-M’s case investigators and contact tracers and thanked the professionals at Environment, Health and Safety for their tremendous work. He also emphasized the importance of getting a flu shot. (19:24)

Dr. Malani discussed testing options for members of the campus community and the new Community Sampling and Tracking Program testing schedule in residence halls. (20:58)

Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones discussed the Wolverine Culture of Care campaign, and provided updates on ongoing planning around football safety, alternative engagement for students, Halloween and the election. (27:37)

The leaders answered questions from the community:

  • What accommodations are being made for students who have technical difficulties while submitting exams? Is there a University wide policy on how to deal with this? (35:19)
  • What should we do when we are in class and our teachers are not following the social distancing guidelines that have been emailed to us by our advisors? For example, requiring us to move around the move and/or pass projects around for critique. (36:39)
  • Why are students getting sent back to their in-person classes when multiple students receive an email saying someone in their in-person class has COVID, that class being their only in-person class? (38:13)
  • With the holidays approaching will the university shut down activities/non-essential buildings and such earlier than the normal late December timeline? (39:32)
  • Can you talk about how you’re handling the increase in the number of persons in quarantine and isolation housing? (41:12)
  • If you have a negative COVID test after 5 or 7 days of exposure, can you return to work/school?  Rather than waiting the 14 days. (46:10)
  • What is someone supposed to do if they test positive? UHS takes up to 24 hours to respond, so what is someone supposed to do during that time if they have roommates, live in a dorm, etc.? (47:08)
  • Can you discuss where the planning for winter term stands right now? (49:41)
  • What are the staff infection numbers that are directly tied to working on campus? (52:14)
  • Will COVID-19 vaccination be mandatory for faculty and staff? (54:24)
  • President Schlissel responded to questions about working with local K-12 schools. (57:41)

Oct. 9, 2020 briefing

Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani shared an update on campus conditions.

Provost Susan M. Collins discussed midterms, increasing study spaces for students, and support resources during these stressful times. She also reiterated that junior faculty who are dealing with research disruptions are encouraged to request a clock extension using our existing policies.

Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon discussed socialization and engagement opportunities for students to combat isolation and loneliness, football safety and alternative activities for students not interested in fall sports and compliance with safety measures in University Housing.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology Emily Martin and Director of COVID-19 Campus Health Response Dr. Rob Ernst discussed our status in the context of our campus response metrics, as well as the actions we are taking to prevent spread of the virus.

I spoke about our COVID in the Classroom chart and the new COVID-19 hotline (734-936-7000)

The leaders answered questions from the community:

  • Please address the recent Michigan Supreme Court decision over Governor Whitmer’s use of emergency powers. If the executive orders are left to expire, what will the university do to keep students, faculty, and staff safe?
  • This question applies more broadly to our layered approach. A question submitted in advance asks “People tested positive on every floor in Alice Lloyd so I was just wondering, why didn’t the whole building get tested?”
  • Can you discuss any actions you’re thinking about taking as students prepare to leave in November?
  • What do you think will be the best way that U-M can work together to ensure that we will have a smooth transition into the winter semester? Are there plans to have a fully remote semester for Winter 2021?
  • What will the options be for students who are unable to return “home” given their situation?

Answers to additional questions submitted for the briefing.

Oct. 2, 2020 briefing

Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani shared an update on campus conditions.

Provost Susan M. Collins discussed the university budget and winter term planning.

Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon discussed safety measures for Student Life employees, our Rec Sports reopening, student safety, and student engagement.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology Emily Martin discussed the campus health response metrics.

President Schlissel spoke about the updates to U-M’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The leaders answered questions from the community:

  • What was involved in getting this list of response metrics?
  • What’s the difference between March (when U-M moved to remote instruction) and now?
  • Why are we doing a semester with some in-person instruction?
  • I’m teaching an in-person lab course and I’m inundated with students concerning possible exposures and how to react. For instance a roommate has been exposed and is being tested. Is it safe for them to attend? Or should they quarantine until the test results come in?
  • Why won’t you give us free weekly testing like many other college campuses are doing? Can you talk about our levels of asymptomatic testing?
  • What other things are we learning from exposures?

Answers to additional questions submitted for the briefing.