University of Michigan issues COVID safety guidance to school community ahead of winter break

A woman receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Eastern Michigan University's campus. (Jeremy Borton | St. Joe's)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan has issued guidance for students, faculty and staff on preventing the transmission of COVID-19 during the upcoming academic break.

While many plan to travel and gather for the holidays, U-M officials are reminding members of the school community to practice several prevention strategies.

“COVID-19 case activity on campus has returned to the elevated levels seen before the Thanksgiving break,” Robert Ernst, associate vice president of student life and director of the Campus Health Response Committee said in a news release.

“With the growing presence of the omicron variant in the U.S. and now Michigan paired with many members of our community planning to return to their permanent residence or travel abroad during the break, we want to remind everyone of the important prevention strategies to keep them healthy.”

Although getting a COVID booster shot is not currently required under U-M’s COVID Vaccination Policy, officials strongly encourage everyone over the age of 16 to get a booster. Appointments can be booked through the University Health Service and Michigan Medicine. Local pharmacies also offer booster appointments.

While most international travel requires a negative COVID test or proof of recovery ahead of each flight, domestic flights do not require testing. U-M encourages vaccinated individuals traveling domestically to get tested before and after their flight and unvaccinated individuals get an extra test both the week before and the week they return to campus.

All international travelers are urged to register their trip in the school’s travel registry. Those with international travel plans are also encouraged to review U-M’s Considerations for International Travel During COVID-19 document.

Ahead of holiday travel, the Campus Health Response Committee has issued the following recommendations for on campus gatherings:

  • Adhere to the U-M face covering policy.
  • Minimize unmasked interactions at events, including eating and drinking unless it can be done in a socially distanced manner.
  • Restrict event attendance to U-M community members only.
  • Check guests with ResponsiBLUE.

“While U-M is a highly vaccinated community — with 98 percent of students and faculty and 91 percent of staff verified as fully vaccinated — case investigation has shown that breakthrough infections are occurring,” reads a U-M news release.

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.