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U of M wants to get faculty back at work on campus in preparation for in-person fall

A sign of the University of Michigan Central Campus
Anna Schlutt
Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan is planning for a mostly in-person fall semester after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many operations to go remote. 

Part of that process is getting faculty and staff who have been working remotely back on campus for in-person work. President Mark Schlissel announced today that the school is beginning a gradual phasing-in of on-site work.

Individual units, departments, and colleges will have the freedom to create different return-to-work plans that address requirements and guidelines for their employees. 

Provost Susan Collins says that summer will be a great transition period, as many people will need time to re-adjust to commutes and other aspects of on-campus work.

"With our size and scale, we’re going to need quite a long runway. So it’ll likely take much of the summer to dial up operations to meet the university’s goal of a primarily in-person academic year," she says.

She says a lot of what will happen over the summer will be a hybrid of on-site and remote work. Schlissel says that he plans to work three or four days in his office and campus and the other days from home.

Another crucial component of the school's reopening plan is getting students vaccinated. Last month, U of M announced that any student living in university housing would be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It's asking students to self-report when they've been vaccinated. U of M Dearborn will require anyone on campus to either have a negative COVID test or proof of vaccine.

Director of University Health Service Dr. Robert Ernst says so far, they've had almost 9,000 students self-report being fully vaccinated. U of M's Ann Arbor campus has 31,266 undergraduates and 16,653 grad students.

"That’s a high number given that it was just the first week of April when young adults first became eligible in Michigan. So we’re really encouraged by the enthusiasm there. We have seen a drop of a little in the demand," he says.

Dr. Ernst says they're working to come up with incentives to get even more students vaccinated.

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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