With safety policies in place, return-to-campus on track for July 6

Dear campus community,

The warm weather and our blooming campus landscape signals both spring and the last few weeks of the semester. While there is still much work to be done in this term, we can’t help but look ahead to the summer and then fall semester.

You may have seen news of the six-month extension of workplace restrictions from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). In her announcement, Gov. Whitmer emphasized that the extension focuses on protocols that “get people back into the workplace when it’s safe to do so.” She said it gives the state the tools needed to transition employees back to their workplace.

The necessary policies and practices are in place. Since the beginning of the pandemic, safety has been paramount as we have adapted to new public health contingencies as the course of the pandemic developed. We have implemented targeted interventions in departments and residence halls when a rise in cases required them. We will continue to adapt our safety protocols as necessary. In short, though we are always adapting and evolving, we have the systems in place to safely and successfully increase our in-person presence on campus this fall.

As a result, we can continue to plan for a near-normal fall and expect that by July 6 all offices will be open, functioning and serving their constituents. I don’t expect every faculty and staff member will be on campus at that point. However, we should move through a steadily enhanced physical presence as we prepare for the return of students to campus for the fall semester. This is a good opportunity to review our basic policies and practices:

  • Masking remains required indoors in all non-residential settings.
  • Continue social distancing of at least six feet.
  • For indoor, nonresidential, out-of-class settings, gathering is permitted for no more than 25 people. Masking and social distancing are still required.
  • Outdoor gatherings are permitted at residential venues when 50 or fewer individuals are together. Masking is required when six feet of social distancing cannot be consistently maintained.
  • Continue personal vigilance
    • Wear a mask
    • Social distance
    • Keep your hands clean
  • I strongly encourage all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated. Take advantage of the Pfizer vaccination clinic on campus tomorrow, Thursday, April 15, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Student Recreation Center. Appointments are required and can be made in the patient portal.
  • Visit wmich.edu/safereturn for all pandemic policies and practices.

Finally, I want to remind employees that you are not required to disclose your vaccination status to your supervisor. And I request that supervisors not request such information. We must remain respectful of the protected nature of this personal information and any disclosure must be strictly voluntary.  

In the last year, we have worked together and persevered and our community has prevailed. If we continue in that spirit, follow basic health practices and get vaccinated, we can plan on a strong start to next year.


Edward Montgomery