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Dear Rackham Students,

I would like to follow up on today’s announcement regarding the upcoming requirement of mandatory weekly testing for all U-M students living on or coming to campus—including Rackham students—starting February 16. As with the initial approach to the winter term and the protocols put in place for mandatory testing for undergraduates, this decision is driven by what data have shown is needed to protect our community. Whereas undergraduate students represented the vast majority of the university’s COVID-19 cases during the fall semester, this step has become necessary as we learn through case management and contact tracing efforts that social gatherings among graduate and undergraduate students alike are fueling the spread of COVID-19.

One point from the announcement to emphasize is that in-person education and teaching will continue, along with research and other important work. There is no indication that COVID-19 is spreading through these activities, thanks to your careful attention to the safeguards already in place.

In light of this necessary addition to the university’s overall strategy to promote the health and safety of the U-M community, I want to ensure that you have the information you need. Here are some key steps to remember:

Since I have been coming to campus weekly in my role, I have been making use of the U-M testing program on a frequent basis. The scheduling system is convenient to use, the saliva test is easy to take, and I need to spend only a brief time at the testing facility. I also want to stress that the chosen locations have been carefully designed to protect the safety of staff and students during the testing process.

Rackham’s COVID-19 Resource Page has been updated with relevant information, including testing locations and hours. In addition, the university will continue to share COVID-19 news and messages and to hold regular COVID-19 briefings with campus leaders and health experts. Michigan Medicine’s next virtual town hall will take place today, February 3, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

I realize that this testing marks another adjustment during a challenging academic year, and I thank you for your continued vigilance and flexibility. The requirement does not go into effect until February 16 in order to provide ample time for you to adjust and plan for this new dimension of the term, as we work to slow transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

Mike Solomon,
Dean

 

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