COVID Weekly Update 2/19/21

February 22, 2021

As we begin the transition to limited in-person campus activity we will resume our weekly COVID-related campus updates.

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin the transition to limited in-person campus activity we will resume our weekly COVID-related campus updates. As we move through the winter semester, with spring on the horizon, there is a sense of optimism about returning to life before COVID and building on what we've learned from this experience. 

We are certainly not yet out of the woods. Please take a moment to review this week’s campus communication regarding information you need to know about campus operations for the remainder of the semester. Today, we had over 300 faculty and staff members participate in a virtual town hall meeting. A recording of the town hall has been posted to the UM-Dearborn YouTube channel. 

We shared this week that temporary workspace for faculty and staff members (and study space for students) will continue or resume. An incorrect link was provided in the communication, more information on faculty and staff workspace can be provided on the website including the form to reserve temporary space. As a reminder, our COVID-19 website is frequently updated with the latest information regarding the university response. And, we’ve developed Return to Campus guides for faculty and students that outline key information for those that are returning to campus for classes or work on/after March 1. 

Athletics
On Wednesday, we announced that the university would not participate in athletic competition this winter/spring because schools in our conference did not have health and safety protocols in place consistent with our safety measures. Yesterday, we were informed by the WHAC that they have begun working on a conference-wide policy that will help ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes. In addition to this information, most schools in our league are assuring us that they will adhere to acceptable versions of our health and safety guidelines. After consultation with our U-M chief health officer, Dr. Preeti Malani, we have shared with our athletics community that our teams will return to spring athletic competition, contingent upon all involved following appropriate health and safety guidelines (testing and masks) during competitions. We remain cautiously optimistic that the conference will finalize a conference-wide policy to protect all student-athletes during competitions. 

COVID-19 Testing
Just a reminder, the university will provide and pay for COVID-19 tests for all interested faculty, staff and students. Testing is not mandatory but strongly encouraged for those returning to campus on March 1 for classes or work. Testing is also encouraged for UM-Dearborn students living in cohorts at the Union at Dearborn, Fairlane Woods and Fairlane Meadows.

The university will hold its first testing clinic on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, in the lobby of Fairlane Center South. If you are not feeling well or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms please do not register or attend this testing clinic. Faculty, staff and students that are in need of a COVID-19 test due to being symptomatic and/or unable to participate in these clinics are advised to contact their health care provider or visit the state of Michigan site to identify available testing locations.

If you receive a positive test result you will need to follow the reporting protocol the university has in place. To register please complete the form at michmed.org/mlabscovid19 and then call the scheduling line at 734-539-5111, Monday - Friday between 8am - 5pm.

Vaccine Distribution 
To achieve a balance of efficiency, effectiveness and equity, and target populations most at-risk, the state of Michigan has revised its strategy for distributing COVID-19 vaccine doses. That change — coupled with an overall shortage of the available vaccine — has led Michigan Medicine to recommend U-M employees age 65 and older and those defined by the state as frontline essential workers sign up with their local health department and retail pharmacies in addition to registering with Michigan Medicine’s Blue Queue. 

Well-Being Days
Next week, the campus has a much-needed, mini “well-being” break scheduled for Thursday, February 25 and Friday, February 26. Announced in December 2020, these dates were designed to have no scheduled academic activities allowing students and faculty an opportunity to take a pause, get caught up and refocus for the second half of the term. Please be mindful that this is intended to be a break and do not assign student work or due dates during this time. We’d also like to ask staff to refrain from scheduling any meetings on these days, and if possible, use a few vacation days to take a well-deserved break. 

Thank you for continuing to make our campus as safe as possible while we all work together to create an exciting, engaging and meaningful Michigan experience for our students! We look forward to the limited return to campus and the 40-degree weather forecasted for next week. 

Go Safe - Go Blue - Go Dearborn!

Domenico Grasso
Chancellor 

Sue Alcock 
Provost 

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