Navigating an in-person fall amid COVID-19

As your student joins tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff in kicking off a new in-person academic year on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, a number of university COVID-19 response efforts, policies and community expectations are in place for a productive and healthy fall term.

Here what you and your student need to know for the fall 2021 term:

  • The U-M campus community is highly vaccinated. As of Aug. 25, 91 percent of students, 88 percent of faculty and 73 percent of staff on the Ann Arbor campus were fully vaccinated. Additionally, 77 percent of Michigan Medicine employees were fully vaccinated.
  • Many employees continue to work on campus in person. Others will return with the start of the fall term and still more are developing in-person work plans that are being managed at the unit level.
  • Face coverings are currently required indoors in most settings on campus regardless of one’s vaccination status.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are required, with limited exemptions, for all students, faculty and staff.
  • All members of the U-M community coming to campus are required to use ResponsiBLUE, the daily symptom checker.
  • Testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 remains available through the Community Tracking and Sampling Program for those who want it or who are required to test weekly.
  • People should stay home if they are sick. This helps reduce the likelihood of spreading a range of infections including COVID, influenza and other illnesses.

Face coverings required indoors

Under the U-M face-covering policy, all students, staff, faculty and visitors must wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose while indoors and on U-M transportation, regardless of vaccination status.

The university policy cites limited exceptions in which a person is not required to wear a face covering indoors, including while alone in a single, enclosed, private office with the door closed; while actively eating or drinking; or while receiving a health care service that requires them to temporarily take off their face covering.

A key exception to the policy allows for vaccinated students living on campus to not wear a face covering while in their own residence hall, including common areas.

COVID-19 vaccine required

All students, faculty and staff are required to submit proof of their COVID-19 vaccination or request an exemption by Aug. 30 under the U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Vaccines are available through Michigan Medicine, University Health Service and Occupational Health Services.

Advisers are available to speak with individuals with questions about the vaccine’s safety and the role of vaccination in personal and community health.

Student compliance accountability

Students who do not report their vaccination information or obtain an exemption as required under the university’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy will be subject to a number of interventions and administrative actions, including having an administrative hold placed on their accounts.

The hold prevents a student from adding or dropping classes, registering for the winter term and accessing transcripts. The measure also will apply to unvaccinated students who comply with weekly testing requirements.

Any student who is not fully vaccinated by August 30 will be required to get tested weekly for COVID-19 until they are fully vaccinated. This includes those who are not fully vaccinated for any reason, including partially vaccinated individuals, students for whom their last dose of vaccination was less than 14 days ago, and students with approved exemptions or temporary postponements or those awaiting a response to their exemption request.

If your student has not taken action to either report their full or partial vaccination or submit a request for exemption or temporary postponement yet, please encourage them to take one of the following actions today: 

  • To report that your student has received all doses of a vaccine series, submit information via the COVID-19 Vaccination Completed form.
  • To report that your student has received one dose of a two-dose vaccine series, submit information via the Partial COVID-19 Vaccination form. Then, encourage your student to get their second dose as soon as they are eligible, and resubmit their vaccination form to be exempted from mandatory weekly testing.
  • Request a medical or religious exemption or a temporary postponement (if unable to obtain a WHO or FDA-approved vaccine where your student is living currently) via the Exemptions and Temporary Postponement Request form.
  • Contact the Campus COVID-19 Call Center if your student needs assistance submitting their information. The Call Center can be reached at 734-936-7000, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

COVID-19 testing

Testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 remains available through the Community Tracking and Sampling Program for those who want it or are required to test weekly.

Weekly testing is required for individuals who have received a medical or religious exemption under the vaccine policy, as well as for those who have started their vaccination series but are not yet considered fully vaccinated.

The weekly testing requirement will be waived for those individuals who received an exemption and who are in fully remote situations, but it is expected that those individuals be tested within the previous week if they come to campus for any reason. ResponsiBLUE will track compliance with weekly testing for all students and employees granted vaccine exemptions, even those usually in a fully remote arrangement.

Students with symptoms of COVID-19 or a close-contact exposure should contact the University Health Service.