University of Michigan to drop mask mandate for indoor spaces

Masks still required in patient care settings

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan will soon make face masks optional for indoor spaces on campus, including classrooms and on U-M buses, according to an announcement sent out to the school community on Wednesday.

The move will go into effect on Monday, May 2, before the spring and summer terms begin.

Masks will still be required to be worn in certain settings, including at COVID-19 testing sites and in patient care areas within Michigan Medicine, University Health Service and the Dental School.

“The policy is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Covid-19 community level guidance which provides a measure of the impact of COVID-19 illness on health and healthcare systems in addition to current case activity to allow communities to make decisions on mitigation measures as appropriate for their area,” read the email.

U-M still encourages mask use to mitigate the spread of the virus, officials said.

Read: University of Michigan: Campus COVID cases declining, still at ‘elevated plateau level’

The policy will go into effect on all three campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint and will apply to all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Off-campus properties controlled by the university will also have optional masking as of May 2.

Individuals who test positive for COVID or who have a known exposure are still required to wear a face covering for 10 days around others, officials said.

According to the announcement, individuals are exempt from wearing a face mask at U-M properties when they are:

  • Under the age of 2 years old.
  • Someone who is unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • Required to wear assigned respiratory protection for the job tasks they are performing.
  • Granted a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)1.
  • Involved in an activity where wearing a face covering may present an impediment to instruction or present a safety hazard provided that a risk assessment is performed and reviewed by U-M EHS.
  • Communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication (in such circumstances, alternatives such as clear face coverings and other accommodations must also be explored).
  • Receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • Removing a face covering for brief periods to allow for photography-When utilizing this exception distancing from others remains strongly recommended.
  • Asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes.

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.