1. Weekly U-M Ann Arbor COVID-19 Update

    April 30, 2021

    To All Members of the Campus Community:

    Here are the main updates at-a-glance:

    • To enhance health and safety as we engage in end-of-term activities, we are offering free, walk-up pop-up rapid COVID-19 testing to the public and the U-M community through May 2.
    • The Michigan Medicine COVID-19 vaccination clinic will continue next Tuesday through Sunday at Michigan Stadium. You can walk in and get your first dose even if you’re about to head out of town. Information on getting a vaccine is available on the Campus Maize and Blueprint vaccine page.
    • The federal government has asked pharmacies to administer second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to anyone eligible, even if they received their first dose somewhere else. We encourage students who may be leaving Ann Arbor soon to get a first dose as soon as possible if a second dose will be available at your destination.

    Campus COVID-19 Update

    COVID-19 cases are declining at the campus, state and county levels. Cases involving U-M students continue to decrease and represent only 4 percent of cases in Washtenaw County.

    To enhance health and safety as we engage in end-of-term activities, we are offering pop-up rapid COVID-19 testing to the public and the U-M community through May 2 at triangle parking lot W16, 600 Thompson Street, south of the Munger Graduate Residences. This free, walk-up testing is being done in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    We strongly encourage anyone who plans to depart Ann Arbor to follow the latest travel safety guidance from the CDC regarding testing and quarantine following travel for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Students can view additional reminders and tips that apply to those departing or remaining in Ann Arbor.

    As a result of the current low transmission rate in the university community, U-M, in alignment with Washtenaw County Health Department, has shifted back to a 10-day (down from 14 days) quarantine period for close contacts. A 14-day quarantine will remain in place if the COVID-19 exposure is to a known or suspected case of certain variants or travel.

    We are examining the U-M face-covering policy for outdoor areas that aren’t crowded based on updates from the CDC. For now, the existing policy remains in place, including during this weekend’s end-of-term activities. Please continue to wear your face coverings, especially during the busy days ahead.

    Vaccination Update

    The Michigan Medicine COVID-19 vaccination clinic will continue next week at Michigan Stadium. It’s available to walk-ins seeking a first dose. Appointments are not necessary for a first dose. Information on getting a vaccine is available on the Campus Maize and Blueprint vaccine page.

    We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated, which will help our university return to a more traditional fall semester and beyond. 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, as well. Remember, vaccination is completely free.

    All students should self-report their vaccination information following their final dose. Verified vaccination status will exempt students from weekly mandatory virus testing and potential quarantine requirements.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer yesterday announced that MDHHS will use a set of vaccination-based milestones to determine when epidemic order restrictions are eased. I join her in emphasizing that vaccination is the key to our society being able to return to more normal activities.

    The federal government has asked pharmacies to administer second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to anyone eligible, even if they received their first dose somewhere else. We encourage students and others who may be leaving Ann Arbor soon to get a first dose as soon as possible if a second dose will be available at your destination.

    For second-dose appointments through Michigan Medicine when the first shot was administered elsewhere, individuals should call (734) 763-6336 to provide information on their first-dose manufacturer and be scheduled. Please note that the phone number is the only way to obtain a Michigan Medicine second-dose appointment for those who received their first dose elsewhere.

    Campus COVID-19 Briefings and Michigan Medicine Town Halls

    Next Friday, we will host 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 leaders have scheduled virtual town halls once per month for the remainder of the calendar year.

    Additional Updates

    • On Monday, I shared an On the Agenda post about the COVID-19 health care catastrophe in India. Many members of our community have asked how they can help, and the post describes some of the ways our community is stepping up.
    • The U-M International Center has posted information on this week’s Department of State announcement that F-1 and J-1 students traveling from China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa can now travel directly to the United States provided that their academic programs begin August 1, 2021 or later. We look forward to welcoming international students to our campuses this fall.
    • Michigan Medicine has produced a video addressing vaccine hesitancy and hosted a livestream to answer questions for those deciding whether to be vaccinated. The livestream was recorded and is available here. It features Michigan Medicine faculty members Diane Harper, who has studied vaccination issues and preventive care guidelines, and Payal Patel, who studies infection prevention and was one of the first U-M employees to be vaccinated. I’ll add here my perspective as an immunologist that the data we have on the current vaccines demonstrate that they are very safe and remarkably effective at preventing serious illness. I am happy to have been vaccinated myself and feel much safer now.
    • There has been strong interest in our community about how we used modeling to inform our decision-making during the pandemic. I invite everyone to the “Computing our way out of a pandemic: modeling in the face of COVID-19” symposium on Thursday, May 6. The symposium, organized by our School of Public Health and Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering, will include presentations by and discussions with U-M researchers in data science, biostatistics, complex systems, epidemiology, engineering, medicine and public policy. Registration information and the full agenda are available on the symposium site.

    Congratulations, and a special GO BLUE! to our thousands of graduates. You’ve earned your degrees in the most challenging of times and deserve all the credit in the world. Best of luck with everything that lies ahead.

    During the semester, I will continue to provide weekly COVID-19 updates to help keep everyone informed, 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.

    Sincerely,

    Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.
    President