Washtenaw Co. updates stay-in-place order for UM students with voting clarification

The Washtenaw County Health Department made two updates Friday to its stay-in-place order for University of Michigan undergraduate students. 

Students are allowed to leave their residence to vote or attend election-related activities, and to access essential technology at university-designated study areas that provide access to single-person study spaces. 

The Washtenaw County Health Department issued the health order earlier this week on Tuesday, Oct. 20, as it reported a total of 4,229 confirmed cases in the county since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those confirmed cases, 1,000 have been confirmed among students on campus in Ann Arbor since the start of the fall semester. 

According to the health department, there is evidence that activity either on campus or near it is driven by social gatherings that do not adhere to the MDHHS epidemic orders limiting indoor gatherings of no more than 10 individuals with face coverings and social distancing.

According to the WCHD, since August 24, case rates have continued to rise, indicating disease spread among U-M students and daily rates have far exceeded maximum indicator thresholds for risk to the community. Most cases are among residence hall students and off-campus students living in fraternities or sororities.

While cases are up, the county says it has not seen an increase in hospitalization or death rates and has not been connected to other populations in the county.

As part of the order, all UM undergraduate students living on campus, near campus, or in off-campus housing are ordered to stay in place until at least November 3. 

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.

Under the order, students will be allowed to do the following - in addition to the clarifications made above - providing that strict adherence to preventive measures is done:

  • Attend in-person classes
  • Leave room/residence for food or basic needs including medication, voting, and religious practices
  • Go to work with approval of employer if it can't be done remotely
  • 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
  • Students can leave in groups of two for physical outdoor activity
  • Students involved with athletics can attend practices and competitions as necessary, provided that athletic medical staff is present during the entire process and supervises the team's COVID-19 mitigation