University of Michigan Mandates Face Masks Following Vaccine Requirement
ANN ARBOR, MI - JUNE 16: A sign for Schembechler Hall, named for former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, is shown on the UM campus on June 16, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Several dozen people are accusing the late Dr. Robert Anderson, former Head of University of Michigan Health Services and former UM football team doctor, of sexually abusing or sexually assaulting them. Matthew Schembechler, son of former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, and others have claimed they had notified Bo Schembechler about the abuse and that he had done nothing about it. Dr. Anderson passed away in 2008.
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The University of Michigan system announced that all students and faculty will be required to wear face masks indoors, despite mandating that all students and faculty get vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

“The University of Michigan will require anyone in a campus building or on-campus transit to wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status,” the university announced in an online statement.

Mask mandates go into effect on Wednesday, August 11, and apply across the entire university system. This includes the University of Michigan-Dearborn and University of Michigan-Flint campuses. 

A notable mask policy exception applies to vaccinated students living on campus. Students who are vaccinated will not be required to wear a face-covering while in their residence halls, including common areas. 

President Mark Schlissel said that the mandates are necessary in light of the COVID-19 Delta variant spike. 

“I know that we’ve already become accustomed to not wearing a face covering if vaccinated, but we want everyone in our community to be as safe as possible, especially as the highly infectious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread,” Schlissel said. “Breakthrough infections’ can occur in vaccinated persons, but while they rarely lead to serious consequences, they can spread to others.”

The announcement claims that the mask mandate is separate from the school’s July 30 announcement that faculty and students are required to submit their vaccination information before August 30. 

“Widespread vaccination remains the primary and most effective tool that will bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, and our vaccination requirement will ensure that all of U-M can have a vibrant and engaging academic year,” Schlissel said. 

Guidance on the vaccine mandate was announced to the community in an email signed by Schlissel, the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs Susan Collin, the executive president for medical affairs Marschall Runge, and the interim executive vice president and chief financial officer Brian Smith. The chancellors for the Dearborn and Flint campuses also signed the email. 

The university offers select exemptions for vaccines, though individuals who request and are approved for a medical or religious exemption “will be required to complete mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing and must continue to mask indoors while on campus.”

Colleges across the nation are grappling with how to safely return to campus learning and living. Many universities have opted to institute vaccine mandates for students who wish to return to campus learning, including large public universities such as Indiana University, Rutgers University, and Michigan State University. 

Other schools have opted to fine unvaccinated students. Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, is fining unvaccinated students $1,500 per semester. Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama is mandating that unvaccinated students pay a $500 fine to cover the cost of weekly COVID-19 testing. 

Birmingham-Southern College told students that the fine will be used to “offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining” costs.”

Related: Citing Lack Of Federal Funds, Alabama College Fines Unvaccinated Students. The School Received Over $4 Million In PPP Loans. 

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