December 19, 2021
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified at the University of Michigan. Similar to what we’ve seen with other variants, this was to be expected and it is likely this will not be the only occurrence. I am writing to let you know that it specifically was found within Fraternity & Sorority Life. Environment, Health, & Safety (EHS) at the U-M, in partnership with the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD), have been in contact with the case and associated close contacts to provide guidance on next steps.
The current understanding of the Omicron variant suggests that it is highly contagious, and affected individuals may be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. The U-M community is reminded to stay vigilant, wear masks when around others indoors, get tested before departing campus, and isolate immediately if symptoms develop or they test positive. Given we are at the end of the term and many individuals are planning to travel, we strongly recommend that every individual get tested prior to departing campus. If you’ve already departed campus we strongly encourage you to test as soon as possible to prevent any exposure to family members, if positive. Until testing and subsequent negative results, we encourage you not to interact with family without masking and distancing, where possible.
The University will continue to closely monitor the situation in consultation with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and WCHD, and will continue to communicate should there be any substantive changes in COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies.
In light of President Schlissel’s message published yesterday (Friday) afternoon entitled Campus COVID-19 Update: Winter term safety, case update, Omicron variant, we strongly encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine booster during the Winter recess, if not done already. The COVID-19 vaccine booster is now required under the U-M vaccination policy starting February 4th.
Looking ahead, in order to maintain our in-person experience, Fraternity & Sorority Life recommends the following measures upon returning for the Winter term:
Testing Prior to Returning to In-person Activities (i.e. recruitment/intake, socials, etc) - U-M will require all students living in the residence halls to test for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus through the COVID-19 Sampling & Tracking Program (CSTP). In addition, we strongly encourage everyone to sign-up to get a COVID-19 test through CSTP, regardless of vaccination status, upon return for the Winter term prior to participating in any in-person activities.
Face Covering In Common Areas In Off Campus Congregate Living Facilities (i.e.chapter facilities, annexes, group living, etc) - Initially, recommend everyone to wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status, while in common areas of any congregate/group living facilities/houses through at least January 17th.
As we look to continue to pursue our in-person experience, we thank you, in advance, for continuing to do your part to keep our community healthy by getting vaccinated, boosted, testing, and masking when appropriate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your council advisor or myself.
Travis L. Martin, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Students
Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life