University of Michigan: COVID-19 booster required for students, faculty, staff

School says the omicron variant has been detected on campus

University of Michigan asks students to test for COVID-19 before going home for holidays

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan announced on Friday it is now requiring all students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID booster shot as part of new mitigation efforts to reduce transmission during the upcoming term.

The new requirement spans all three U-M campuses and school community members are required to get a booster by Feb. 4 or as soon as they become eligible based on their vaccination status.

School officials also announced that the omicron variant of the virus has been detected on its Ann Arbor campus and said they are working with the Washtenaw County Health Department to establish new prevention strategies.

All community members are urged to wear masks indoors, stay vigilant, get tested prior to leaving campus and isolate as soon as possible if testing positive or if symptoms develop.

More information will be announced soon about how community members can self-report their booster status.

U-M officials said all in-person activities will continue on the Ann Arbor campus through the end of the current term, including the Dec. 19 in-person commencement. Classes will resume on Jan. 5 when the winter term begins.

“The existing mitigation strategies have allowed our campuses to have a successful in-person fall experience, which has benefited our entire community in so many ways despite the ongoing pandemic,” Robert Ernst, associate vice president for student life and director of the Campus Health Response Committee said in a statement.

“From the high vaccination rate and required weekly testing for those who are not fully vaccinated, layered on top of indoor masking, prompt case investigation and contact tracing and our wastewater surveillance program, we’ve maintained an environment on campus that has allowed our community to return to many of the pre-pandemic experiences that were missed in 2020. We continue to take additional precautions to help keep our community safe, healthy and together.”

Additional winter term COVID mitigation measures include required testing for all students living in residence halls when they return to campus.

The university strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get tested upon arriving to campus and before attending in-person events within the school community, regardless of vaccination status.

Starting on Jan. 2, all students living in residence halls will be expected to wear a face covering while in common areas, regardless of vaccination status. This measure will be in effect at least through Jan. 17.

Winter Commencement will take place on Dec. 19 at the Crisler Center. All guests and graduates will be required to wear face coverings and fill out the REsponsiBLUE health screening prior to entering the event.

According to a news release, the new mitigation strategies are in addition to current COVID safety measures in place at U-M, including:

  • Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty and staff with limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons.
  • Required weekly testing for those who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Required face coverings while indoors on campus property or on U-M transportation.
  • Requirement that all members of the U-M community coming to campus use ResponsiBLUE, the daily symptom-checker app, and refrain from coming to campus if ill.
  • Wastewater surveillance of campus and surrounding areas which is designed to detect any increases in cases or hotspots of COVID-19 in the community.

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.