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University of Michigan: All students, faculty, staff must be vaccinated by Aug. 30

Mandate applies to all three U-M campuses, Michigan Medicine

Credit: Michigan Photography
Credit: Michigan Photography

ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan leadership announced on Friday that all students, faculty and staff on all three campuses and at Michigan Medicine are required to receive a COVID vaccination by Aug. 30, when the fall term begins.

The measure includes both those working in campus buildings and remotely.

“Widespread vaccination is the primary and most effective tool that will bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and it is the key to a vibrant and engaging academic year for all of us in the University of Michigan community,” read a letter released by U-M officials. “We’re seeing the rate of COVID-19 going up around the country, particularly in states and sub-populations with lower vaccination rates.”

Approximately 81 percent of students and 65 percent of employees on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus have self-reported being fully vaccinated. Additionally, 76 percent of Michigan Medicine employees say they have gotten the vaccine.

In a letter to the campus community, school leadership cited the highly infectious delta variant, the risk of breakthrough cases and the fact that young children of employees and students can not yet be vaccinated as well as those who are immunocompromised as reasons for the decision.

Officials noted that at least 600 colleges and universities across the country currently have a similar vaccine mandate with the goal of keeping their communities safe.

“This step is consistent with the advice of our campus public health experts. It also is in line with recent announcements made on university and health care campuses and by companies across the nation, including the Veterans Health Administration, Google and the Mayo Clinic, though each has variations for its organization,” reads the letter. “We’ve also heard strong internal support for a vaccine mandate from our campus community.”

Those who are fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated and have not yet reported their vaccine status are asked to do so here.

The university will provide exemptions for religious and medical reasons, and the community will receive further instruction on the policy by Aug. 4.

University of Michigan leadership announced on Friday that all students, faculty and staff on all three campuses and at Michigan Medicine are required to receive a COVID vaccination by Aug. 30, when the fall term begins.
University of Michigan leadership announced on Friday that all students, faculty and staff on all three campuses and at Michigan Medicine are required to receive a COVID vaccination by Aug. 30, when the fall term begins.

Read the complete letter below:

To all members of the university community:

Widespread vaccination is the primary and most effective tool that will bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and it is the key to a vibrant and engaging academic year for all of us in the University of Michigan community. We’re seeing the rate of COVID-19 going up around the country, particularly in states and sub-populations with lower vaccination rates.

Roughly 81 percent of students and 65 percent of employees on the Ann Arbor campus and 76 percent of Michigan Medicine employees already have reported their COVID-19 vaccinations. The vaccination rates are lower for some categories of employees including temporary employees and for employees on the Dearborn and Flint campuses, and we know we must do more to keep everyone safe.

Today we are taking the additional step of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine, by the start of the fall term on Aug. 30. This includes those working or learning remotely.

The emergence of the more highly infectious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the possibility of breakthrough infections, and our inability to vaccinate the young children of students and employees and those who are immunocompromised have necessitated that we strengthen our approach to keeping our community safe.

This step is consistent with the advice of our campus public health experts. It also is in line with recent announcements made on university and health care campuses and by companies across the nation, including the Veterans Health Administration, Google and the Mayo Clinic, though each has variations for its organization. We’ve also heard strong internal support for a vaccine mandate from our campus community.

At least 600 U.S. colleges and universities have announced similar vaccination requirements with the same motivation – to keep their communities as safe as possible while they ramp-up in-person teaching, extracurricular student activities and research during the remainder of the pandemic.

We’re making this announcement today to allow those who remain unvaccinated the time to begin their vaccination series in the month ahead.

  • If you have received all doses of a COVID-19 vaccine series but have not yet reported your information, please do so here. If you have already reported your vaccine, thank you. There is nothing more you need to do.
  • If you have received a first dose of the vaccine, report that here. You will be required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a mask indoors on campus until you have completed all doses and are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks post final dose).

While we will provide exemptions for medical and religious reasons, it is imperative that all members of our community are protected from this devastating virus. The exemption process is being developed and will be communicated by Aug. 4.

Beginning Aug. 9, the university will make advisers available to students, faculty and staff who have questions about the vaccine, its safety, or the importance of being vaccinated. Those who do not comply with this requirement and who have not been granted an exemption by Aug. 30 will be subject to appropriate campus disciplinary measures. Further details will be shared through the University Record, unit human resources representatives and the Division of Student Life.

The university has consistently and repeatedly encouraged members of our community to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We’ve made vaccination clinics available on campus and offered incentives to become fully vaccinated, which will continue.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is free, safe and highly effective. It can be obtained through doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies and health departments here and all around the state and nation. U-M has multiple sites where members of our community can be vaccinated, and we provide two hours of paid time off work for each shot.

More information on this new policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites and the university’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is posted here. You can find information on how to report your completed or partial vaccine information, request a limited medical or religious exemption, or learn about vaccine opportunities here. Vaccination rates and the numbers of COVID-19 cases at U-M can be tracked on our dashboard.

We acknowledge the magnitude of this decision and we do not make it lightly. Following our principles of putting the safety of our faculty, staff, students and patients first, we are confident this is the right approach. Thank you all for our collective efforts to keep everyone safe and our university vibrant.

Sincerely,

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

Susan M. Collins, Ph.D.Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D.Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs

Brian T. SmithInterim Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Debasish Dutta, Ph.D.Chancellor, UM-Flint

Domenico Grasso, Ph.D.Chancellor, UM-Dearborn


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.