University of Michigan mandating COVID vaccinations for all student athletes, athletic staff

FILE - This Aug. 13, 2020 file photo shows the University of Michigan football stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. A report says staff at the University of Michigan missed many opportunities to stop the late Dr. Robert Anderson, who committed sexual misconduct against hundreds of patients over decades at the school. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan is now requiring all student athletes to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1, according to a recent email sent to athletes and their families.

The same rule applies to athletic staff who come into regular contact with student athletes.

This is not the first group to have mandatory vaccinations on campus -- in April, the school announced all students planning to live in university housing must be fully vaccinated.

In a statement provided to A4 on Thursday, U-M spokesman Kurt Svoboda said the school views both communal living and athletics as high-contact, and therefore high risk, settings.

“The level of day-to-day physical interaction between student-athletes, their coaches, athletic medicine trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and other student-athlete services, is such that absent vaccinations we would continue to see COVID-19 spread amongst our population,” reads the statement.

“We have concluded, therefore, that a mandatory vaccination policy is in the best interests of the health and safety of our overall Michigan Athletics community.”

Student athletes may request exemptions based on religious or medical reasons. Those granted vaccine exemptions will have to adhere to additional COVID safety protocols like regular testing, said the school.

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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.