Universities prep for possible COVID-19 surge when classes resume in 2022

Posted at 7:36 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 19:36:42-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Leaders at colleges in Michigan are making plans for how they'll return next semester.

"We do know that even vaccinated people are getting infected right now because the omicron variant is quite infectious," Oakland Univesity Dr. Ora Hirsh Pescovitz said.

And because of an increase in that highly transmissible variant, classes at Oakland University will resume online only from Jan. 5 through Jan. 17 of 2022. Classes will resume normal delivery formats on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

"It's unfortunate that we have to do it, but everyone really understands the reasons for it and they understand that it is for the common good," Pescovitz said.

Pescovitz added that the hope is that any students, faculty and staff who have not received a booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine will do so. The pause in face-to-face instruction will also allow people to quarantine if necessary as they return from traveling and gathering.

On Thursday, leadership at Wayne State University is expected to announce a decision on whether they will resume in-person instruction or move to virtual lessons for a limited period of time.

In January, a booster shot will be added to the university's required vaccine mandate.

"Everyone who is eligible for a booster will need to provide proof of that booster," said Dr. Laurie Lauzon Clabo, Wayne State's chief health and wellness officer.

Indoor masking rules will remain in place at both institutions.

The University of Michigan is requiring all students, faculty and staff on all three of its campuses to get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Right now, in-person classes are expected to resume at U-M. The university is tightening its face covering policy and will require masking in the common areas of residence halls.

Everyone living in U-M housing will also be tested for COVID-19 the first week of their return.

"The existing mitigation strategies have allowed our campuses to have a successful in-person fall experience, which has benefited our entire community in so many ways despite the ongoing pandemic," said Robert Ernst, associate vice president for Student Life and director of the Campus Health Response Committee.