The Washtenaw County Health Department has put in place a two-week stay-at-home order for undergraduate students at the University of Michigan, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon. The order is effective immediately and runs through Nov. 3 at 7 a.m.
Michigan Athletics — including football — are allowed as long as the medical staff is present during all events to ensure that protocols are being followed. The Big Ten’s daily testing and guidelines will continue to be the policies in place for those teams. Everything still goes on as planned ahead of this weekend’s football opener at Minnesota and basketball practices, among other events.
The reasoning for the order is that U-M students make up 61 percent of Washtenaw County’s COVID-19 cases with over 1,000 since students returned to campus on Aug. 24. Prior to the move-in, U-M students accounted for two percent of cases.
“The U-M-associated surge in cases is overwhelming the ability of WCHD, including U-M Environmental Health Safety (UM-EHS) who conducts on-campus COVID-19 case investigation, to adequately address the COVID-19 pandemic and other critical public health mandates that are in place to protect the health and well-being of Washtenaw County residents,” the release said. “The U-M administration has been actively engaged in discussions of these determinations and epidemiological findings and has partnered in the decision to take the actions described in the (order).”
Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh stated on Monday that there are not currently any players in danger of missing Saturday night’s game due to positive COVID tests, though that there have been a few cases within the program since September.
Here is the official wording of the order and what is expected:
Beginning immediately on October 20, 2020 and ending November 3, 2020 at 7:00 a.m., all U-M undergraduate students enrolled in U-M Fall 2020 on the Ann Arbor Campus, living in on-campus, near-campus or off-campus housing will be required to “stay in place” and remain in their current designated residence. It is recommended that all students remain at their current address. Students who live in U-M housing may only return to their permanent address if they follow U-M testing and checkout procedures. If students living in off-campus housing return to their permanent address, it is strongly recommended they undergo COVID19 testing prior to leaving their current residence and stay in place at their permanent address for the duration of this order. For the purposes of this order, “staying in place” means that gatherings or group activities shall not occur outside the listed exceptions below:
a. Students will be allowed to attend in-person classes, including instructional labs. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required.
b. Students will be allowed to leave their room/residence for the purpose of picking up food and other basic needs, attending medical appointments, picking up medication, voting or election related activities at polling places, attending religious practice activities or obtaining COVID-19 testing. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required.
c. Students will be allowed to attend work with the approval of the employer, if the work cannot be done remotely. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required.
d. Students who have clinical rotations, student teaching or other off-campus experiential learning assignments that are held in person will be allowed to continue only with approval from the college dean and disclosure to the organization of placement such that both the school and site are aware and supportive of continued participation. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required.
e. Students will be allowed to leave their room/residence for purposes of physical activity outdoors in groups of no more than two. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required.
f. Students who are associated with intercollegiate varsity sports may attend practices and competitions provided that athletic medical staff is present during the entire process, actively supervises the team’s COVID-19 mitigation activities during the practice, has the authority to suspend the practice if he or she believes COVID-19 mitigation practices require that result, and testing is conducted per governing athletic organizations’ (i.e. Big10) policies.
The first event that Michigan Athletics is set to host is the football game against Michigan State at home on Oct. 31. That showdown is now going to take place on a locked down campus.