To All Members of the Campus Community:
Highly concerning increases in the incidence of COVID-19 are happening throughout our surrounding community and state, as we are seeing across much of the nation. Increasing disease activity is placing much greater burdens on county and regional medical resources, including U-M’s hospitals.
These challenges are discussed in a video we are sharing, as well.
It is essential that we all follow public health guidelines as we enter the holiday season. We urge everyone to follow the City of Ann Arbor ordinance to restrict gatherings to no more than 25 outside and 10 inside, along with the consistent use of face coverings.
We are very concerned about the possibility of community members taking COVID-19 with them when they travel or return home for Thanksgiving. Students departing from campus this term are required to complete U-M’s departure testing protocol. Students living off campus can reserve a test time here. Many slots for departure testing are going unfilled, so please sign up if you are a student. Our general guide for students or faculty and staff on getting a COVID-19 test is available here.
We have also published safe travel guidelines, University Human Resources has posted guidance for faculty and staff, and the state has a guide on Holiday Safety for Colleges and Universities. These are important measures we can all use to protect our families and communities.
We are seeing an increase in positive tests for COVID-19 within the U-M community, as well, though U-M cases as of Nov. 10 accounted for less than 25 percent of the new cases in the county. We have identified and addressed clusters from social gatherings that occurred over the Halloween weekend involving professional and graduate students, and a cluster in South Quad. The students are in isolation and those identified as close contacts are now under quarantine.
The only Campus Response Metric being met is the local community metric for Washtenaw County of more than 70 new cases per million.
To help support our COVID-19 response, we have added staff in our Environment, Health and Safety department to assist with case management.
We have launched a new web form for community members to report their positive COVID-19 test results from outside of the University of Michigan. This will assist with prompt case investigation, contact tracing and measurement of the overall rate of illness in our community. Please see the information in the University Record about using this tool.
Campus Weekly COVID-19 Briefing
The video for this week’s Campus Weekly COVID-19 Briefing is available here. We are continuing to post videos of previous briefings and answers to some of the questions we weren’t able to get to on the same page.
At today’s briefing:
- Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani gave an update on campus conditions.
- Provost Susan M. Collins discussed changes to undergraduate grading and course evaluation information, and reiterated the request that faculty be flexible where they can to account for disruptions at the end of the term.
- Vice President Martino Harmon discussed density in our residence halls, details about housing and students heading back to permanent residences, and safe in-person and virtual engagement.
- Executive Vice President Marschall Runge discussed the COVID-19 outlook for hospitals nationwide and for Michigan Medicine, and provided an update on vaccine trials and new treatments.
- Washtenaw County Health Officer Jimena Loveluck provided an update on what’s happening locally.
During the semester, I am providing weekly COVID-19 updates to help keep everyone informed and address concerns and respond to feedback and questions from our community. You may also view the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.