ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Face mask rules are beginning to return to everyday life as more infections from the highly contagious Delta variant continue to trend up. The University of Michigan is now joining the growing chorus of institutions with new mask rules.
Effective Aug. 11, anyone on campus and indoors at any of the three locations run by the university will need to wear a face mask - regardless of vaccination status.
The requirements on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses will be in place for "at least the first weeks of the fall semester to aid in protecting the U-M community".
The new mask rule also relates to school-run buses, as well as the hospital. However, the Michigan Medicine hospital may implement more restrictive policies as it sees fit.
U-M recently announced it would be mandating COVID-19 vaccines for every student, staff, and faculty member that attends class.
Here are the university's exceptions to wearing a mask. It includes if someone is:
- Alone in a single enclosed private office with the door closed;
- In their assigned residence hall or apartment including common areas; unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask in common areas;
- Actively eating or drinking;
- Under the age of 2 years old;
- Someone who is unable to remove a face covering without assistance;
- Required to wear assigned respiratory protection for the job tasks they are performing;
- Granted a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)1;
- Involved in an activity, including certain types of instruction, where wearing a face covering may be infeasible or present a safety hazard provided that a risk assessment is performed and reviewed by U-M EHS;
- Communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication (in such circumstances, alternatives such as clear face coverings and other accommodations must also be explored);
- Receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
- Asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes.
While there have been no recent COVID-19 surges in Michigan, other states in the Southeast U.S. like Florida are suffering through the highest rate of hospitalizations it witnessed during the onset of the pandemic.
However, Michigan is still registering a notable uptick in new cases. It's creating concerns about the potential for an increase in pediatric admissions into the health care system.
While the vaccine remains the single most effective way to curb new coronavirus cases and reducing the chance for further mutations, the Delta variant is proving to be the country's most difficult challenge to date since vaccinated people can still spread the virus.