COVID Weekly Update 4/2/21

April 2, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, the university's decisions have been guided by the key tenets of health and safety, academic excellence and equity across our community.

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout the pandemic, the university's decisions have been guided by the key tenets of health and safety, academic excellence and equity across our community. Please find below important information regarding the campus HVAC systems, reservable final exam study space, reminders about Winter 2021 Pass/No Record COVID grading option, faculty office access policy and the upcoming expansion of vaccine availability across the state. 

Campus HVAC Information 
We have received questions, through various forums from members of the campus community, regarding the university HVAC systems and how they have been adapted in response to COVID and the usefulness of additional air purifiers/filtration systems. The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team has posted up-to-date and helpful information on their website. In summary, all of the HVAC systems across campus are currently operating above the suggested CDC guidelines. Facilities Operations and EHS teams are constantly reviewing best practices. For now, instead of introducing individual room air purifiers, a better solution is relying on building-wide filtration systems and increasing supplemental outside air in our campus buildings. Look for a story in the Reporter, in the coming weeks, with more details on this topic. 

Winter 2021 Pass/No Record COVID Option
As a reminder, in December 2020, the governing faculty approved an extension to the selective drop period and the Pass/No Record COVID (NRC) grading option for the winter term. Students are again being advised to speak with an academic advisor to consider potential implications to financial aid before making the decision to use the Pass/NRC option. If you are a faculty or staff member who is aware of students with concerns about the semester, please remind them of this option. Details and deadlines for both are outlined on the website.  

Reservable Final Exam Study Space in the Library
The Mardigian Library will be providing a limited number of student study spaces for the Winter 2021 final exam period. Reservable spaces will be available April 12 through April 28, daily, from 11:30am - 6:00pm; the spaces will not be available on Fridays or Saturdays. Students will be able to reserve space for three contiguous hour blocks. A link with information about reserving space will go out in the weekly all-student email, next Sunday, April 11. 

Faculty Office Access Policy 
This week faculty members were allowed to return to their offices without needing to request prior approval. While faculty members are still encouraged to work remotely, we recognize that some need access to their office in order to teach or fulfill other responsibilities. As a reminder, at this time, this policy does not apply to general staff office access. Staff members must continue to follow the One-Time Access Process for single visits lasting less than one hour or the MCard Access Process for single visits greater than one hour or for multiple visits.

State of Michigan Vaccine Availability Expansion
Aspects of our fall 2021 planning are predicated on the expectation  that all faculty and staff members who wish to be vaccinated will have access to the vaccine prior to the start of the semester and that many of our students will have been vaccinated as well. Over the last several weeks, we have seen a steady increase in the percentage of people vaccinated throughout the state. Although the numbers are still low, we are seeing the vaccine become more available every day. We expect vaccine availability to increase on Monday, April 5, when it  becomes available to anyone over the age of 16. Please visit the vaccine area of our website for more information. 

This week there has been a spike in COVID cases, especially in Michigan. As of this writing, the positivity rate in Michigan is 12.8% with 6,036 new confirmed cases, and a Wayne County positivity rate of 18.1% with 1,086 new confirmed cases. This is an important reminder that we all must remain vigilant and follow health and safety guidelines such as wearing masks, maintaining social distance, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick. If you are coming to campus for any reason, you must follow our health and safety guidelines, including completing the ResponsiBlue daily health screening. 

Be Safe - Go Blue - Go Dearborn!

Domenico Grasso 

Sue Alcock 

Bryan Dadey 
Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs

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