To All Members of the Campus Community:
We’ve seen an increase in COVID-19 cases stemming from social gatherings and household exposures over the past two weeks. As changes in weather have driven more activities indoors, it is very important to wear a face covering, make good decisions when interacting and stay home if you’re sick.
The university is currently assisting students associated with two clusters related to social activities and fall break travel. The clusters involved students in two (separate) academic programs, though the transmissions were not traced to classroom activities. All those who tested positive are isolating, unvaccinated close contacts are in quarantine, and we’re testing additional individuals in those communities to identify any further spread.
Here are additional updates at a glance:
Rising flu cases: The University Health Service has seen more students with influenza and strep infections. As we’ve said before, the flu is likely to be a larger concern this year after several months of fewer in-person interactions. Please get a flu shot. UHS is partnering with our School of Nursing to increase the number of flu vaccine appointments, and flu shot information for faculty and staff is available here. There are many non-university options for flu shots as well. The Washtenaw County Health Department has answers to questions about the flu vaccine and a vaccine locator. Retail pharmacies also offer the flu shot.
COVID-19 vaccination for 5-11-year-olds: University of Michigan Health will offer COVID-19 vaccination to children ages 5 to 11 beginning Monday at clinics in Ann Arbor, Brighton and Northville. Scheduling vaccine appointments for this age group begins today. WCHD is also offering vaccinations to this age group beginning Nov. 9. Michigan Medicine pediatrics experts answered 20 common parent questions about COVID-19 vaccines in a Health Blog post.
Contact tracing in classrooms: In response to requests for more information, we’ve updated the Maize and Blueprint FAQ on what happens when a student in a class tests positive for COVID-19. The additional information spells out the case investigation process, which includes work that our Environment, Health and Safety Department does to identify and reach out to any close contacts, provide information, and ensure that our response is aligned with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Holiday travel COVID-19 testing: U-M is partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide free, pop-up, rapid antigen testing on campus Nov. 18-20 to the university community and family members in anticipation of holiday travel. Registering in advance using the online portal here is recommended. Please note that antigen testing does not meet CDC requirements that call for PCR testing for international travel, though our Community Sampling and Tracking Program does offer PCR tests.
Federal travel regulations: The White House has revoked some measures that restricted travel from certain areas and implemented vaccination requirements and proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Our International Center has additional details.
Briefing: Provost Susan M. Collins and I will hold a Campus COVID-19 Briefing on Friday, Nov. 12 from 10 to 11 a.m. We’ll share the latest information and answer questions from the community. I’ll send an invitation next week.
I will continue to provide COVID-19 updates when needed to help keep everyone informed, address concerns and respond to feedback and questions from our community. You also may read the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.