Ending required testing among COVID-19 protocol changes amid state's recovery phase

Dear campus community,

We are now seeing evidence that the communal risks associated with COVID-19 have been declining on our campus, in our county and state, and across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our county health department now classify our area, and most of Michigan and the nation, in the low-risk community status based on the CDC’s updated indicators.

We will continue to monitor these indices and the overall campus and local situation generally. The campus COVID-19 seven-day average positivity rate has been below 1% for more than a month, and all the metrics informing the CDC’s updated measure of COVID-19’s impact on health and health care systems have steadily declined since January and remained at low levels. 

We continue to strongly encourage immunization, including any booster doses recommended. While getting vaccinated is still being strongly encouraged by federal, state and local health officials, they no longer recommend asymptomatic testing, physical distancing or daily health screening. They have shifted masking guidance from a public requirement to an individual decision. We have reached the “post-surge, recovery phase,” according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) three-stage ongoing COVID-19 management approach—readiness (pre-surge), response (surge) and recovery (post-surge). 

In light of federal, state and local guidance and indicators that remain at low, acceptable levels, we will implement the following changes, effective Monday, March 28:

  • Mandatory testing will be suspended indefinitely. We will continue to offer up to three rapid-result antigen COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic individuals who want one during the spring semester at no out-of-pocket cost at Sindecuse Health Center. 
  • Physical distancing, the daily health survey and the use of our badging system will also be suspended indefinitely. 
  • Except for in instructional spaces and a few other campus environments, masks are optional. In addition to instructional spaces, masks must be worn on buses, as is federally mandated, and at Sindecuse Health Center and Unified Clinics, in accordance with specific CDC and MDHHS guidance for clinical and health care settings. 

Find a more detailed breakdown of the coming changes on our COVID-19 guidance page.

COVID-19 has not disappeared, so even in this post-surge, recovery phase, as a community and as individuals, we must remain watchful. As we have from the beginning, the University will continue to follow public health guidance and monitor key metrics. We will adjust our strategies to the evolving nature and prevalence of the virus. As a University, we now have a robust set of well-honed, multilayered strategies for managing the disease, and we stand ready to reimplement those or new strategies as indicated by new public health guidance and community conditions.

We again encourage everyone to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. We are fortunate to be a campus of conscientious community members, the vast majority of whom have taken the step to get immunized. Our vaccination rate for the primary series alone is within 5% of similar-sized campuses in the state, including those that have mandated vaccination.

You also should monitor your health and at the earliest sign of coronavirus symptoms, stay home and make arrangements to be tested. If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a confirmed positive case, follow the current CDC isolation and quarantine protocols.

Our vigilant, measured and proactive response throughout the pandemic has helped safeguard our campus over the past two years. Staying true to this approach will continue to protect our community going forward.

Thank you,

Edward Montgomery