Every day, we seem to get closer to the end of the pandemic, and we are excited for a fall semester that will see a return to campus and many beloved events and traditions. We are very encouraged by the less restrictive CDC guidelines, which the state also has adopted, as this moves us closer to our return to campus.
As we’ve said from the beginning, however, the health and safety of our campus community will remain our top priority. While we will adopt the new guidelines wherever possible, we will also continue to follow sensible protocols recommended by our Public Health Subcommittee. And we encourage all faculty, staff and students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is readily available.
On Tuesday, May 18, we held a virtual town hall to discuss the fall semester and our return to campus. If you were unable to participate, it is available to watch online. Several campus leaders shared information and answered questions. We can’t provide definitive answers to some of the questions right now, as we are adapting our plans based on the new guidelines, and we expect that conditions will change even further by fall, but below is a summary of information that we're able to share:
For now, we will continue to require masks indoors for everyone, whether they are vaccinated or not. Although the CDC has issued new guidelines regarding masks for vaccinated individuals, there is no practical way of differentiating between those vaccinated and those unvaccinated.
Masks are not required outdoors for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals.
The Campus Health Center (CHC) will continue to serve as the lead for tracking and reporting COVID-19 cases on campus, COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution.
The CHC will continue to use the Campus Daily Screener to monitor cases on campus and guide the response. All faculty, staff, students and visitors must complete the Campus Daily Screener prior to coming to campus each day.
Housing will be open for all students who wish to live on campus this fall. As the conditions allow, we anticipate that we will reinstate guest visits to housing throughout the fall and reinstate in-person dining.
Students are invited to attend a virtual town hall Monday, June 7, where Dean of Students David Strauss and Associate Vice President and Chief Housing Officer Tim Michael will discuss these topics in greater detail. More information on the town hall will be available soon.
We are excited to see the return of events across campus. Outdoor events are welcome and encouraged throughout the summer; masks are not required for any outdoor gatherings. We anticipate a phased return to indoor events in the fall as it becomes safe and appropriate.
The question of intramural sports was raised at the town hall. We are still determining what activities can be provided in accordance with state guidance during the spring/summer semesters, and additional information will be provided as soon as it’s available. For fall, we will resume intramural sports with a normal schedule. At this time, masks will be required for indoor sports.
We will begin a phased return to offices during the summer. Human Resources will soon publish a return-to-work guide and an updated policy on flexible work arrangements. Many employees have experienced life benefits by working from home and enjoy the flexibility this provides. Others have continued to work on campus throughout the pandemic, for which we should all be grateful. We’ve learned a great deal about working remotely throughout the past 14 months, and we hope to adopt that learning into new flexible work arrangements. We ask that employees and supervisors discuss and develop work arrangements that allow for flexibility, but also continue to meet the needs and serve the mission of the university. Some positions within the university require employees to serve that mission on campus, so there will be less flexibility in such cases. Other positions have more flexibility. Nevertheless, it is important that everyone spends some of their work time on campus — even those who can complete all of their work remotely. This is necessary to nurturing our culture of collaboration, engagement, support and participation in events that define the university experience. Human Resources will seek your input on returning to on-site work through a survey in the coming days. Your insight is extremely valuable in helping to ensure a successful transition back to campus. Human Resources is also developing training and other support for supervisors and employees.
We anticipate that all Wayne State Libraries will be fully open this fall. Please continue to visit the WSU Libraries website for information on updated hours, safety guidelines, material pickup and more.
Campus recruitment tours will resume in mid-June, allowing visitors to tour Wayne State and experience the excitement of Midtown. Consistent with our campuswide policy, masks will be required inside all buildings but will not be required outdoors.
A number of questions were raised concerning campus conditions, i.e., the safety and readiness of our buildings and facilities for our return. Campus has been maintained and, in many instances, improved throughout the pandemic. We are confident in its cleanliness, air quality and water quality. We have also continued work on elevators and other major base-building HVAC improvements.
Domestic travel restrictions are lifted for conferences, out-of-town lectures and other requirements; international travel will not be approved for reimbursement at this time.
For now, we will continue our restrictions on hosting on-campus conferences that include outside visitors.
There were many comments and questions regarding the resumption of parking fees. We recognize that with flexible work arrangements, some people may not be on campus as often and may not wish to pay full parking fees for the times they work remotely. We are currently analyzing options that recognize this concern, and we will provide updates as appropriate.
The Public Health Subcommittee, in collaboration with campus leadership, will work throughout the summer to address remaining concerns and finalize a safe return to campus. Please continue to visit Wayne State’s coronavirus webpage and check your email for updates. We appreciate your patience, and we are eager to see many new — and many familiar — faces on campus this fall.