University of Michigan, Michigan State mandating vaccines

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LANSING  — University of Michigan and Michigan State University will require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the fall semester.

Both university presidents said last week that action is being taken due to the spread of the more infectious delta variant.

Michigan State is taking things a step further and requiring masks to be worn indoors starting in August for the first few weeks of school, university President Samuel Stanley Jr. said.

Stanley said the university hoped to not have to create a vaccine mandate, but the possibility of high transmission of the delta variant warranted the policy.

A letter from University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said 81% of students and 65% of employees at the Ann Arbor campus had reported receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The university previously announced a vaccine requirement, but only for students living on the Ann Arbor campus.

Vaccine mandates are gaining momentum in Michigan. Earlier this week, more large hospital systems announced that they would require all employees and affiliated physicians to get vaccinated.

Other colleges and universities have made vaccinations policies in anticipation of the fall. Albion College will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated to return, and Oakland University will require students living on campus to be vaccinated before move-in.

The state on Friday reported 2,250 additional coronavirus cases over three days. The seven-day average, 573, was up from 219 two weeks ago. Michigan‘s case rate, however, was lower than in all but three states as of Thursday.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state‘s chief medical executive, tweeted that she was “very concerned” about trends in Michigan — including rising cases, testing positivity rates and the spreading delta variant. Vaccines, she said, “significantly decrease your chance of getting COVID and if you do, it’s likely less severe and you get to live.”

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