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University of Michigan to require COVID vaccinations — even for remote workers, learners

UPDATED

The University of Michigan will require all students and workers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by the end of August, according to an email sent by school officials on Friday.

The email, signed by UM President Mark Schlissel, Provost Susan Collins and others, mandates that those working and learning remotely also be vaccinated.

“Widespread vaccination is the primary and most effective tool that will bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and it is the key to a vibrant and engaging academic year for all of us in the University of Michigan community,” the message reads.

“The emergence of the more highly infectious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the possibility of breakthrough infections, and our inability to vaccinate the young children of students and employees and those who are immunocompromised have necessitated that we strengthen our approach to keeping our community safe.”

The email notes UM’s policy is in line with “campus public health experts,” as well as the policies of the Veterans Health Administration, Google and the Mayo Clinic.

Those wishing an exemption from the requirement for medical or religious reasons can apply beginning August 4. If granted, one still must wear a mask while on campus and undergo weekly COVID testing.

According to the vaccine FAQ, if a student or worker fails to comply with the vaccine mandate they “will be subject to appropriate campus disciplinary measures.”

In response to a College Fix inquiry about why those working and learning virtually need to provide evidence of vaccination, UM Director of Public Affairs and Internal Communications Rick Fitzgerald said “because it would be quite rare that even [those] students and employees […] would never come to campus.”

According to July 30 CNN report, a new study suggests vaccinations alone aren’t sufficient to prevent the emergence of spread of COVID variants like Delta. It says masks and social distancing should be reinstated even among the vaccinated, and that a rapid vaccination effort be undertaken to “decrease the probability of emergence of a resistant strain.”

Read the full email.

UPDATE: The article has been amended to include comment from UM Director of Public Affairs and Internal Communications Rick Fitzgerald.

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