University of Michigan urges thousands of students to move home amid COVID-19 surge

UM "M"
Photo credit WWJ/George Fox

(WWJ) Officials at the University of Michigan (U-M) are pushing to reduce the number of students on campus this winter semester amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

“We currently have about 5,300 students living in residency halls. We are going to limit that to 3,000 students winter semester with all of those students living in single occupancy rooms,” University Spokesperson, Rick Fitzgerald, said on WWJ.

Students who don’t need to live on campus are asked to live at home and continue classes remotely, according to Fitzgerald.

In previous years, U-M had closer to 10,000 students in residence halls.

The University recently released its Winter 2021 plan “incorporating public health guidance, lessons learned from the Fall Semester, and extensive feedback and engagement with the community.”

Read University of Michigan's full Winter 2021 plan here.

Testing is also a key part of U-M’s strategy to try to quell the spread of the virus, Fitzgerald said.

“Weekly testing for all students and others who are in person, in campus,” he told WWJ.

The plan also includes increased access to mental health care, scheduled “well-being breaks,” and allowing U-M recreational facilities to remain open.

While some in-person classes will still be offered, the University said it will push to move as many courses to online learning as possible.

U-M’s fall term ends on December 20; with winter semester slated to start on January 19. Fall commencement has been cancelled.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports 1,019 students and staff at U-M have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 28 days.

Michigan State University, by comparison, reported 22 positive cases tied to staff and students between October 26 and November 1.

This comes as the state reports 3,763 cases of COVID-19, and 43 deaths in just the past 24 hours. On Thursday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reported its highest single day record with more than 5,700 cases and 25 deaths. 26 additional deaths were also identified through a vital records review board.

2,088 adults are hospitalized with the virus statewide right now, with just over 200 on ventilators; according to the MDHHS.

121,093 Michiganders, more than 60% of the state’s total confirmed cases, are deemed recovered after surviving one month since testing positive.