To All Members of the Campus Community:
Here are the main updates at-a-glance:
- We are addressing a significant surge in COVID-19 cases among U-M undergraduate students, graduate students and employees. This trend is occurring as Washtenaw County case counts also continue to increase. We urge everyone to continue to follow prevention measures for socializing safely.
- U-M students represent about 15 percent of the cases in the county. Two of our Campus Response Metricsare being met: more than 70 new cases per million in Washtenaw County and five days of sustained increases in infections.
- COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands April 5 to all Michigan residents age 16 and older. This change in eligibility presents students with the opportunity to get vaccinated. We’ve created resources to help students find places to be vaccinated.
- Employees of our Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses are eligible to use up to two hours of paid regular time per vaccine dose (not exceeding four total hours) when receiving vaccinations from any community source.
More details, links and additional information are provided below.
Campus COVID-19 Update
We are addressing a significant surge in COVID-19 cases among U-M undergraduate students, graduate students and employees. This trend is occurring as Washtenaw County case counts are increasing. U-M students represent about 15 percent of the cases in the county.
Social gatherings continue to be identified as a significant factor associated with transmission.
Two of our Campus Response Metrics are being met: more than 70 new cases per million in Washtenaw County and five days of sustained increases in infections.
With more upcoming in-person campus events and activities, we urge everyone to continue to follow prevention measures for socializing safely. Those who are required to do so must undergo COVID-19 testing weekly. Noncompliance will be addressed through accountability measures.
Michigan Medicine continues to administer 100 percent of the vaccines it receives, and this week was able to schedule 2,900 first dose appointments. Michigan Medicine also posts regular vaccination updates.
The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows vaccination remains very effective (90 percent) at preventing infection. And vaccination is completely free.
Eligibility expands April 5 to all Michigan residents age 16 and older. We know the change in eligibility presents challenges to our students, as the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must be received from the same location within either three or four weeks of one another. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, on the other hand, is a single dose – one and done! Please be mindful of your timeline for travel and availability. We’ve created a resource with key vaccination facts for easy reference. This includes scheduling tips to help create your own vaccination plan.
We encourage everyone, including our students who become eligible on Monday, to seek vaccination appointments from all sources. Michigan Medicine has posted tools to help find vaccines in your area. University Human Resources has created a COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and availability page with resources to help everyone get an appointment through a clinic, pharmacy, health department or Michigan Medicine. The Campus Maize and Blueprint’s vaccine site has information, as well. Washtenaw County is opening appointments based on the new eligibility guidelines.
Our plans for the fall are predicated on all faculty and staff having had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and a significant fraction of students having been vaccinated as well. A high rate of vaccination is the only way we can start easing back on masking and distancing requirements. Everyone has to do their part to help us get back to normal as soon as possible.
Campus COVID-19 Briefings and Michigan Medicine Town Hall
Next Friday, we will schedule our usual biweekly 1 p.m. COVID-19 briefing with Provost Susan M. Collins, Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon, and Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani. We’ll send out the invitation next week, which will include a form to submit questions. Previous briefings are posted here.
Michigan Medicine’s next town hall also will be on Friday, April 9, at 2 p.m. Information on joining is available here.
- Employees of our Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses are eligible to use up to two hours of paid regular time per vaccine dose (not exceeding four total hours) when receiving vaccinations from any community source. Employees receiving vaccines at Michigan Medicine are already eligible to do so during work hours with regular pay. Although regular pay for vaccinations cannot be charged to research grants, flexibility wherever possible should be encouraged. University Human Resources has more information.
- Brad Uren, a Michigan Medicine assistant professor of emergency medicine, offers four tips on viewing March Madness games safely. Congratulations to our men’s and women’s basketball teams who made it deep into the NCAA Tournaments this year, and to men’s Head Coach Juwan Howard for winning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
- Four U-M undergraduates have launched a project that aims to compile at least 1,000 notes of gratitude by April 10 from fellow students, U-M employees and outside community members. The notes will form a massive art installation at University Hospital, in which large letters will spell out the words: “THANK YOU.” More details are available here.
During the semester, I will continue to provide weekly COVID-19 updates to help keep everyone informed and address concerns and respond to feedback and questions from our community. You may also read the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates. Stay safe and be healthy.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.