University of Michigan drops mask mandate for indoor sports, offices, residence halls

Mask requirements still in place for classrooms, buses, other indoor locations

University of Michigan.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan is dropping its mask mandate for indoor sports, offices and residence halls while maintaining its requirements in other school settings.

Where masks are no longer required

Starting Monday (March 14), mask wearing for students, staff members and visitors on any U of M campus will be optional in most indoor spaces. That includes offices, residence halls and athletic venues.

The mask mandate is being loosened due to a high vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff members -- 89% of students and 85% of employees. COVID conditions have also improved in the region, officials said.

“As the rate of COVID-19 activity decreases on campus and our state and region move from a ‘response’ to ‘recovery’ phase of the pandemic, the Campus Health Response Committee is issuing new guidance regarding COVID response on campus,” said Robert Ernst, associate vice president for student life for health and wellness and CHRC director.

New guidance for the community no longer calls for fans attending indoor Michigan athletic events to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, Michigan officials announced.

The latest CDC guidelines suggest mask mandates are no longer needed in areas with a “medium” COVID risk level. That’s the current designation for Washtenaw County.

Where masks are still required

Masks will still be required in classrooms, classroom extensions, laboratories, performance spaces, patient care areas, COVID-19 testing sites and on-campus buses. That mandate will remain in place at least through the end of the winter semester, according to the university.

“Mask use is still an effective strategy for enhanced personal protection, especially for those with compromised immune status, those who are not vaccinated or up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations and anyone with a perceived increased situational risk,” Ernst said.

Campus leaders urge the community to recognize and respect that some on campus will choose to continue to wear masks in spaces where they are no longer required, and they encourage all individuals to be kind and respectful of that personal choice.

Certain units, such as Michigan Medicine and the U-M Children’s Centers, may issue local-level policies that supersede the broader policy.

Masks remain required in all patient care areas, including in Michigan Medicine, University Health Service and the Dental School clinical areas.

Masks remain required for all indoor spaces if an individual is completing the full 10 days of an isolation and quarantine period.

Here are other COVID mitigation measures that remain in place at U of M:

  • The U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy that requires students, faculty and staff to remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Maintaining the availability of free, COVID-19 testing on campus through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program.
  • Weekly testing remains required of U-M community members who have an exemption from the vaccine policy.
  • Meeting or exceeding standards set by the CDC for classroom ventilation, as well as Michigan Building Code heating and cooling system requirements for airflow at maximum occupancy.
  • Quarantine and isolation housing space remains available for students who need space to quarantine or isolate.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.