UM to require face masks in all campus facilities starting Wednesday

The Detroit News

The University of Michigan will require face masks for everyone entering any campus building starting Wednesday.

"In light of increasing case transmission due to the Delta variant, the university is again requiring the use of face coverings by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status ...," the new policy states. "The requirements of this policy will be in place for at least the first weeks of the fall semester to aid in protecting the UM community from the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant."

The university says it is acting on a recommendation from its Campus Health Response Committee following guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local officials.

The policy applies to all three campuses: Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn. There are exceptions to the requirement based on activity: Anyone actively eating or drinking, people alone in their offices with the door closed and residents in their campus residence halls, including common areas, are exempted. Additional exemptions are listed here.

"I know that we’ve already become accustomed to not wearing a mask if vaccinated, but we want everyone in our community to be as safe as possible, especially as the highly infectious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread," UM President Mark Schlissel says in a letter to the UM community dated Monday. "'Breakthrough infections' can occur in vaccinated persons, but while they rarely lead to serious consequences, they can spread to others. We’ll continue to assess conditions as they evolve and revisit this policy once the semester begins."

In late July, both UM and Michigan State University announced they would require vaccinations for the fall semester. Wayne State University followed soon after. Other Michigan colleges, such as Oakland University and Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan, have said they strongly encourage vaccines but are not requiring them. They will, however, also require people to wear masks indoors.

More information is available to UM students, faculty and staff on the vaccine page of the Campus Maize and Blueprint site, which includes details about the school's vaccine requirement, upcoming vaccine clinics, how to get a vaccine through the University Health Service and how to submit proof of a vaccine.