Vaccination - protecting our community (Students) 7/30/2021

July 30, 2021

Today I joined President Schlissel and other senior leaders in announcing a mandatory vaccination policy, for all three U-M campuses and Michigan Medicine.

Dear Colleagues and Students, 

Today I joined President Schlissel and other senior leaders in announcing a mandatory vaccination policy, for all three U-M campuses and Michigan Medicine. This policy applies to all faculty, staff and students and is being developed to protect our community from COVID-19 infections and provide for a safe return to campus this fall. You are encouraged to view our website for additional information and answers to frequently asked questions. 

After considerable thought, discussion and input, U-M President Mark Schlissel, UM-Flint Chancellor Deba Dutta, Michigan Medicine CEO Marschall Runge, and I, working with many others, determined that this is the best way forward for the University of Michigan community. 

The University of Michigan-Dearborn leadership, Faculty and Staff Senates and Student Government were also consulted and supportive of this important decision. 

As we have seen over the past 18 months, the trajectory of this pandemic continues to ebb and flow. Many organizations such as Google, the Veterans Administration and hundreds of universities across the country, including many Big Ten schools and the entire University of California and California State University systems, are mandating vaccinations. 

UM-Dearborn will grant exemptions for valid medical and religious reasons. The exemption process is being developed and will be communicated by August 4. 

We acknowledge there are some members in our community that have personal reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated, however, only valid medical and religious exemptions will be allowed. The COVID-19 vaccination is free, easily accessible, extremely effective and has been proven safe. UM-Dearborn will soon announce information regarding an on-campus vaccination clinic. The university has begun discussions with unions and bargained for employees. 

Keeping Mission First and taking care of our People Always, we are well prepared for a robust and successful fall semester. As always, we will continue to monitor the state of the pandemic and make necessary changes to keep our community safe while delivering an outstanding education for our students. 

I would like to thank my Senior Leadership Team, the Return to Campus committee, and many others across campus, that have been working continuously on policies and procedures regarding our fall semester. To be sure, this process has been difficult, time consuming and ever changing. I am grateful for, and we have all benefited from, the work of talented, dedicated and caring colleagues. 

Stay safe and Go Blue!

Domenico Grasso

Chancellor 

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To all members of the university community:

Widespread vaccination is the primary and most effective tool that will bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and it is the key to a vibrant and engaging academic year for all of us in the University of Michigan community. We’re seeing the rate of COVID-19 going up around the country, particularly in states and sub-populations with lower vaccination rates.

Roughly 80 percent of students and 65 percent of employees on the Ann Arbor campus and 76 percent of Michigan Medicine employees already have reported their COVID-19 vaccinations. The vaccination rates are lower for some categories of employees including temporary employees and for employees on the Dearborn and Flint campuses, and we know we must do more to keep everyone safe. 

Today we are taking the additional step of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine, by the start of the fall term on Aug. 30. This includes those working or learning remotely.

The emergence of the more highly infectious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the possibility of breakthrough infections, and our inability to vaccinate the young children of students and employees and those who are immunocompromised have necessitated that we strengthen our approach to keeping our community safe.

This step is consistent with the advice of our campus public health experts. It also is in line with recent announcements made on university and health care campuses and by companies across the nation, including the Veterans Health Administration, Google and the Mayo Clinic, though each has variations for its organization. We’ve also heard strong internal support for a vaccine mandate from our campus community.

At least 600 U.S. colleges and universities have announced similar vaccination requirements with the same motivation – to keep their communities as safe as possible while they ramp-up in-person teaching, extracurricular student activities and research during the remainder of the pandemic.

We’re making this announcement today to allow those who remain unvaccinated the time to begin their vaccination series in the month ahead.
 
• If you have received all doses of a COVID-19 vaccine series but have not yet reported your information, please do so here. If you have already reported your vaccine, thank you. There is nothing more you need to do.

• If you have received a first dose of the vaccine, report that here. You will be required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a mask indoors on campus until you have completed all doses and are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks post final dose).

While we will provide exemptions for medical and religious reasons, it is imperative that all members of our community are protected from this devastating virus. The exemption process for Campus and Michigan Medicine is being developed and will be communicated by Aug. 4.

Beginning Aug. 9, the university will make advisers available to students, faculty and staff who have questions about the vaccine, its safety, or the importance of being vaccinated. Those who do not comply with this requirement and who have not been granted an exemption by Aug. 30 will be subject to appropriate campus disciplinary measures. Further details will be shared through the University Record, unit human resources representatives and the Division of Student Life.

The university has consistently and repeatedly encouraged members of our community to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We’ve made vaccination clinics available on campus and offered incentives to become fully vaccinated, which will continue. 

Vaccination against COVID-19 is free, safe and highly effective. It can be obtained through doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies and health departments here and all around the state and nation. U-M has multiple sites where members of our community can be vaccinated, and we provide two hours of paid time off work for each shot.

More information on this new policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites and the university’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is posted here. You can find information on how to report your completed or partial vaccine information, request a limited medical or religious exemption, or learn about vaccine opportunities here. Vaccination rates and the numbers of COVID-19 cases at U-M can be tracked on our dashboard

We acknowledge the magnitude of this decision and we do not make it lightly. Following our principles of putting the safety of our faculty, staff, students and patients first, we are confident this is the right approach. Thank you all for our collective efforts to keep everyone safe and our university vibrant.

Sincerely,

Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.
President

Susan M. Collins, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs

Brian T. Smith
Interim Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Debasish Dutta, Ph.D.
Chancellor, UM-Flint

Domenico Grasso, Ph.D.
Chancellor, UM-Dearborn

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