The University of Michigan announced on Friday that students who choose to live on the Ann Arbor campus during the 2021 fall term must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

The requirement will apply only to students living in residence halls and other university housing, though U-M says that all students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Martino Harmon, U-M vice president for student life, said in a release,

We know that widespread vaccination will be the only way to facilitate a return to normal and robust campus life. And we would like to provide a living environment for students this coming fall that is as close to the fall of 2019, pre-COVID-19, as possible. This is not a mandate to be vaccinated, but rather a choice to live in communal living and therefore make the choice to get vaccinated.

F. DuBois Bowman, dean of the School of Public Health, said he supports the decision, adding,

Congregate living settings, like residence halls, are at high risk for spread of illness, especially with B.1.1.7 and other variants that spread more easily. Vaccination is a key prevention tool to be used in this space, and beyond, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Students are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. U of M says students must provide proof of their vaccination or an approved exemption by July 15 , 2021 to be permitted to move into their assigned room.

Currently, Michigan is experiencing a surge in children being hospitalized due to COVID-19. According to the The Michigan Hospital Association, pediatric patient hospitalizations grew by 311% from Feb. 19 to April 20, increasing from 17-70 inpatients.

To date, the State of Michigan has reported 888,806 positive cases and 18,075 deaths.

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