Eastern Michigan University adjusts COVID-19 policies; face masks no longer required in many indoor public spaces on campus

YPSILANTI --  Beginning Monday, March 28, face masks will no longer be required in many indoor public spaces on Eastern Michigan University’s campus. The University remains mindful, however, of providing safe spaces for faculty, staff, students, and community members in all situations. In this regard, masks will continue to be required in spaces that likely involve individuals gathering for an extended period of time in a relatively confined area:required and optional face mask signs

·       Face masks will continue to be required in classrooms, labs, and other instructional spaces while class/lab is in session. Instructors who are vaccinated and have reported their vaccination status to the University may be maskless while teaching.

·       Face masks will be required in larger events, including the April Commencement ceremonies and the Friday, March 25 Undergraduate Symposium.

·       Face masks will continue to be required in the COVID-19 Testing Center, located in the Student Center.

·       Face masks must be worn in University vehicles or other shared transportation (cars, vans, buses, trains, air).

·       Face masks may also be required in private individual offices at the office occupant’s discretion because these spaces are typically smaller and used for longer interactions. However, there will be no requirement for masking in shared reception or student or employee service areas. By way of example, in an office such as the University Advising and Career Development Center (UACDC), the reception areas will have no masking requirement, while an individual advisor or career coach may require face masks in their private individual office.

Masking remains required for individuals who are verified by University Telehealth as close contacts or diagnosed with COVID-19, and individuals must still report to the University if they are a close contact or test positive for COVID-19. 

The University will continue to make face masks available for free at the Student Center Information Desk, DPS Headquarters (1200 Oakwood), and other locations around campus.

Additionally, the University will stop enforcing the daily health screening on Monday, March 28, but the campus community is encouraged to voluntarily continue using the tool as a helpful resource.  

Other EMU Safe policies remain in place

Employees and students must continue to complete a COVID Report Form if they test positive for COVID-19, experience symptoms of COVID-19, have a close contact with someone with COVID-19, or meet other conditions.

Mandatory COVID-19 testing will continue for unvaccinated employees and unvaccinated students who are subject to a vaccine mandate or the Students Stay Safe program. 

COVID-19 testing continues to be available for free to all members of the campus community at the campus Testing Center at the Student Center. Appointments are required.

Employees and students are encouraged to use the University’s Telehealth Clinic with questions about these policies or if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.

Rationale for adjustments

The University made the decision to adjust its policies after consulting with the EMU Safe Steering Committee, based on significant improvements in key COVID-19 data:

COVID-19 case counts are down dramatically statewide, in our County, and on our campus.

COVID-19 testing continues to be free and accessible at the campus testing center, and testing positivity rates are among the lowest since we opened the center in fall 2020.

The EMU community has an extremely high vaccination rate: Over 90% of EMU employees and an overwhelming majority of EMU students with an in-person component have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has classified Washtenaw County as having a “low” risk of transmission” of COVID-19, the State of Michigan has determined that we are in a post-surge “recovery phase”, and the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) advises that  there is “no longer broad recommendation to wear face masks in indoor public locations.”

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral, and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences, and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors, and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

 

March 24, 2022

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Contact:
Melissa Thrasher
mthrashe@emich.edu
734-487-4401