A shot on top of a piece of paper with CDC guidance on it.

Public Health Guidance

Western's protocols align with public health guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance for the nation and Kalamazoo County in February 2022. With its announcement, the CDC guidance is aligned with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department

The sweeping shift in public policy led organizations like Western to manage COVID-19 in a new way. The guidance moved away from individual case counts and positivity rates and toward community indicators, such as cases per 100,000, new COVID-19 hospital admissions and the percent of local hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. Population-level measures such as broad asymptomatic testing, physical distancing and daily health screening are no longer recommended, and masking guidance has moved from a public requirement to an individual decision. 

The table below provides a summary of how Western’s current policies align with CDC prevention strategies.

Last updated: Aug. 17, 2022

 CDC measures for community-level prevention strategies (as recommended by state or local authorities)Western Michigan University measures
LOWDistribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination coverage and ensure health equity.Western has consistently encouraged and continues to encourage vaccination. The University has taken the extra measure of defining full vaccination as both a full primary series plus a booster. 
Maintain improved ventilation in public indoor spaces.As part of the University’s initial response to the pandemic, ventilation was maximized in Western buildings to the degree that equipment and weather allows. This measure remains in place.
Ensure access to testing, including through point-of-care and at-home tests for all people. Communicate with organizations and places that serve people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease to ensure they know how to get rapid testing.All members of the Western community continue to have access to testing at Sindecuse Health Center.
Ensure access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach and support services for disproportionately affected populations.Western will continue to apply vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach and support services equitably to the entire campus community.
MEDIUMIn addition to following all prevention strategies for COVID-19 LOW community level:
Protect people at high risk for severe illness or death by ensuring equitable access to vaccination, testing, treatment, support services and information.Western will continue to apply vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach and support services equitably to the campus community. Students may continue to seek medical accommodations through Disability Services for Students and religious accommodation through the Office of Institutional Equity. Employees may continue to seek accommodations for medical or religious reasons through the Office of Institutional Equity.
Consider implementing screening testing for high-risk settings.All members of the Western community continue to have access to testing at Sindecuse Health Center.
Implement enhanced prevention measures in high-risk congregate settings (see guidance for correctional facilities and homeless shelters). The guidance specifies correctional facilities and homeless shelters. Residence halls are not specified by the guidance. Please note that Sindecuse Health Center and Unified Clinics have safety protocols appropriate to a health care setting as determined by the facility manager.
HIGH In addition to following all prevention strategies for COVID-19 MEDIUM community level:
Consider setting-specific recommendations for prevention strategies based on local factors.Western continues to follow the guidance of MDHHS and Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department.
Implement health care surge support as needed.While Sindecuse Health Center always stands ready to assist, Western interprets that this provision is related to hospitals.

 

Guidance for individuals from CDC 

Low community level

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible.

  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:

    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing).

    • Talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.

Medium community level

In addition to following all prevention behaviors for COVID-19 LOW community level:

  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:

    • Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g., testing).

    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing).

    • Talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.

  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease:

    • Consider self-testing to detect infection before contact.

    • Consider wearing a mask when indoors with them.

High community level

In addition to following all prevention behaviors for COVID-19 MEDIUM community level:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings).

  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:

    • Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection.

    • Consider avoiding nonessential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.

    • Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g., testing).

    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing).

    • Talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.