University of Michigan: No masks needed outdoors, unless at events of 100 or more

Measure now in effect at all three U-M campuses

A woman holds a face mask. (Pexels)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan updated its face-covering policy on Friday, allowing individuals to go mask-free on all three campuses while outdoors.

The only scenario where the rule does not apply is at gatherings of 100 or more people, announced U-M President Mark Schlissel in his weekly update.

The measure lifted a mask order that was put into effect in July 2020 that required all students, faculty, staff and visitors to where face masks on all U-M property, whether indoors or outdoors and on U-M transportation.

According to a release, individuals must still wear a face mask when “inside buildings, on U-M transportation, participating in organized contact sports, and when outdoors in gatherings of 100 or more.”

Read: University of Michigan will require COVID-19 vaccination for students living in Ann Arbor campus dorms this fall

The updated policy aligns with Michigan’s newest guidance on face coverings outdoors, which mandates even unvaccinated individuals can go mask-free.

“We are aligning with the current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Gatherings and Face Mask Order, as well as current evidence-based studies, to alter our requirements for outdoor face coverings,” U-M’s chief health officer and professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases at Michigan Medicine, Preeti Malani, said in a statement.

“As our community vaccination rates increase, we would expect masking rules to adjust as well. Your best defense against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, so if you haven’t already done so, please get vaccinated.”

Those studying and working on or visiting campus are still asked to carry a face mask in the event that masking is required.

Once U-M students are fully vaccinated, they are encouraged to enter their vaccination status through Wolverine Access to become exempt from mandatory weekly COVID testing and potential quarantine measures.

Read: Michigan universities pull together fall vaccine policies

Due to the low COVID-19 transmission rate in the U-M community, unvaccinated individuals who have had a recent close-contact exposure with a positive case may quarantine for 10 days.

However, those exposed to a known or suspected variants P.1, B.1.351, B.1.617 or to an individual who recently traveled to India must quarantine for 14 days.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms do not need to quarantine if they come into close contact with an individual who is positive with COVID-19.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.