To All Members of the Campus Community:
I hope everyone had a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving recess. COVID-19 activity on the Ann Arbor campus has slowed considerably around the holiday. We are continuing to monitor the coronavirus in our community.
We have conducted about 14,000 COVID-19 tests under the departure testing program, with very low positivity rates. Fall semester surveillance and departure COVID-19 testing remain available to the U-M Ann Arbor community. Eligibility and sign-up information is available here.
Cases in our state are still high, and our hospitals continue to treat increasing numbers of patients. Please remain vigilant to reduce spread. Wear a face covering, practice social distancing, avoid social gatherings and stay home when sick. These things may sound simple, but they really do work to protect you and those you care most about.
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 a new tool to improve the use of Zoom for teaching that Information and Technology Services is bringing to campus, highlighted our College of Engineering “Skunkworks” team and Musical Theatre department’s Ghostlight series, and noted the change in parking availability made by Logistics, Transportation & Parking for graduate students.
- Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon provided an update on housing, discussed Student Life programs and resources as we head into finals season and the end of the semester, and highlighted some recent student and staff efforts and achievements.
- Rob Ernst, chair of the Campus Health Response Committee, discussed virus testing for the campus community in December and plans for the winter term.
- Sandro Cinti, an infectious disease physician and one of the co-leads of Michigan Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Therapeutics Task Force, provided an update on U-M’s planning for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. Also joining were co-leads Stan Kent, Michigan Medicine’s chief pharmacy officer, and Dana Habers, chief department administrator in Radiology.
- Preparations are under way for remote activities to celebrate this semester’s graduates later this month. Spring commencement will be trickier, as it’s difficult to assess right now what might be safe in May. We are engaging with students as part of our process for making a decision.
- To further reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have changed use of the ResponsiBLUE health screener for university visitors. Before entering any University of Michigan building, all visitors, contractors and vendors will need to complete preliminary screening via the guest version of ResponsiBLUE, the health-screening tool developed to help keep the university healthy. As detailed in the University Record, the expectation for guests applies to buildings on U-M’s Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses, as well as at Michigan Medicine and satellite facilities. It is effective immediately and expires on April 14.
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.