University of Michigan Students Told to Shelter in Place

Order comes amid spike in COVID cases, though athletes are exempt
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2020 10:50 AM CDT
University of Michigan Students Told to Shelter in Place
Students register and vote absentee at a satellite location for the Ann Arbor City Clerk at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Sept. 24, 2020.   (Jacob Hamilton/Ann Arbor News via AP)

Campus life will play out in dorm rooms over the next 14 days at the University of Michigan, which is now under a stay-at-home order. University officials announced the two-week mandate on Tuesday, saying social gatherings on campus were "the main cause of recent COVID-19 spread on campus, in the surrounding community and the broader region," per the Detroit News. "The situation locally has become critical, and this order is necessary to reverse the current increase in cases," adds Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck. UM students make up more than 60% of local cases, per CNN. The majority of UM's 31,000 undergraduate students will now have to stay home except when getting food, attending in-person classes, or completing other essential work. Some 80% of coursework is delivered remotely, though that will increase to 90%.

Athletes won't be subject to the same rules, however. "We are planning to continue practicing and ... to play our games as scheduled," Associate Athletic Director David Ablauf tells the Detroit Free Press. UM's football team will play in Minnesota on Saturday before hosting Michigan State on Oct. 31. Players are tested daily, per the News. The outlet notes the order has been met with disdain on campus, but not for the reasons you might think. It "supports what students, faculty, and staff have been saying since May: that the plans that were developed and then implemented were not enough to avoid a crisis on UM's Ann Arbor campus," says the Graduate Employees' Organization 3550. "It was the university's incompetence that got us to this point," a student adds, per the News, claiming parties have gone unchecked. The school has reported 214 cases in the last two weeks. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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