Michigan’s largest universities announce COVID-19 vaccine requirements

By: - July 30, 2021 6:28 pm

The University of Michigan campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sept. 13, 2020 | Susan J. Demas

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University announced Friday that they both will require all students, staff, faculty to receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the fall 2021 semester. The new requirements come as the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 has spread amongst the unvaccinated and even to some who have been immunized.

At the University of Michigan, all students, staff and faculty across the three campuses — Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint — are required to receive the vaccine by Aug. 30, even if they are working remotely. The order will be extended to Michigan Medicine, too.

According to U of M, 81% of students are vaccinated, along with 65% of Ann Arbor campus employees and 76% of Michigan Medicine employees.

The decision also comes after more than 800 University of Michigan instructors signed a petition demanding a vaccine mandate in May.

U of M President Mark Schlissel sent an email to the university community Friday announcing the requirement, saying he and university leaders “are confident this is the right approach” to prevent the spread and keep students, staff and faculty safe and healthy amidst the new variant and the inability for children under 12 to be vaccinated. 

Michigan State University | Susan J. Demas

Michigan State University quickly followed U of M’s lead, announcing that students, staff and faculty will have to be required to be vaccinated by Aug. 31 if they wish to live on campus.

Individuals will also be mandated to wear masks in all indoor campus buildings and MSU facilities starting Aug. 1 through at least a few weeks into the beginning of the school year.

In a press release to the university community, MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. announced the mandate, saying the decision is a part of his commitment to keep health and safety “at the forefront of all our decisions.”

“We are all in this battle against COVID-19 and its variants together and I firmly believe the actions we are taking today are necessary measures,” Stanley said. “As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the situation and will adjust as needed.”

Oakland University and Wayne State University will also require students who are living on campus to get the vaccine.

Albion College was the first college in Michigan to put in place a COVID vaccine mandate across its campus.

The announcements by Michigan’s two largest universities follow an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updating its mask and testing suggestions. 

More than 600 colleges across the nation have also put in place vaccination requirements for students, faculty and staff. 

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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.