U of M Ann Arbor Students Asked to Stay Home Amid COVID Outbreak
University of Michigan students at the main Ann Arbor campus are being ordered to stay home for two weeks amid a significant increase in coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday, the Washtenaw County Health Department issued a public health emergency stay in place order for all undergraduate students at U of M. The order will now remain in effect until November 3 at 7 a.m.
According to the order, all undergraduate students must remain in their residence, with the exception of attending class, accessing dining services, or carrying out approved work that cannot be done remotely. Those students who wish to return to a primary residence may do so only if they have completed the U-M’s procedures for leaving campus safely.
There has been a increase in cases amongst U of M students, and those cases account for 60% of the local cases in that area. The Washtenaw County Health Department believes that most of of the infections are the result of social events and gatherings. As of Monday, Washtenaw County has reported 4,229 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“The situation locally has become critical, and this order is necessary to reverse the current increase in cases,” says Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer for Washtenaw County. “We must continue to do what we can to minimize the impact on the broader community and to ensure we have the public health capacity to fully investigate cases and prevent additional spread of illness.”
Violations of the local order are subject to the citations and penalties outlined in the Michigan Public Health Code (MCL 333.2451 and 333.2453). The University of Michigan is in full support of the current order and working along with them to bring the case numbers down.
“The university has been working closely with the Health Department all along in response to the pandemic and supports this decision to issue this stay at home order,” says Robert Ernst, executive director of U-M’s University Health Service and associate vice president for Student Life. “This action is intended to reduce the strain on our capacities for contact tracing and quarantine and isolation housing. Many individuals and off-campus residences are cooperating fully, and we hope this additional guidance on limiting social activities reverses the trend of increased cases related to social gatherings.”
The university will be holding more classes remotely for the rest of the fall semester, and also offers housing for those students that do test positive for coronavirus.