Last week, several Michigan universities announced vaccine mandates in response to the latest CDC information regarding the delta variant. We released a message at that time stating that we would continue to track the relevant local data and take appropriate steps based on the science as well as our unique situation – in this case, our already high vaccination rate and our smaller on-campus community. Today, I wish to follow up on that message and emerging data.
The latest data regarding the delta variant is concerning. COVID-19 cases across the country are increasing, and the most recent positivity rate in our community has increased measurably – from 2.5 to 3.3 percent. This variant spreads more easily and may be transmitted by vaccinated individuals with rare breakthrough cases. Thankfully, the data also show that vaccines continue to be highly effective, particularly in protecting against serious illness, hospitalization and death.
As we have from the beginning of the pandemic, we are today revising our campus response to respond to emerging evidence and local data. To best protect the health and safety of our campus community, Wayne State will require all students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus during the fall semester to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Proof of your vaccination must be submitted by Aug. 30 for you to be allowed on campus. You can submit your proof of vaccination online. Please submit even if you have already entered the vaccine raffle. You may also apply online for a waiver of the requirement based on legitimate health or religious reasons. These requests will be reviewed by the Campus Health Committee. Individuals who have an approved waiver will be required to be COVID-19 tested once per week.
WSU students, faculty and staff who knowingly violate this mandate and come to campus unvaccinated after Aug. 30, potentially jeopardizing the health of others, will face consequences. Those learning and working in solely remote formats are not subject to this vaccine mandate at this time. If you have not received your COVID-19 vaccine, you can schedule an appointment at the Campus Health Center or at a location convenient to you.
Full vaccination of our campus community will eventually eliminate the need for masks and allow a renewed sense of normalcy in our interactions. Beginning today through Sept. 15, however, when we can be more confident in our overall vaccination status, masks will be required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. At that point, we will revisit the mask requirement, and hopefully eliminate it. Of course, masks will not be required if you are working alone in your office. We recognize that this is inconvenient, but it is temporary, and more important, safe.
We will continue to hold university-sanctioned activities, although given the heightened alert from the delta variant, plans will once again require prior approval of these events by the Campus Health Committee. All visitors must continue to fill out a Guest Campus Screener, and any who are unvaccinated will not be permitted on campus. For this fall semester only, as a time of transition, we will try to accommodate those who must work remotely because of vaccination status. We recognize that this change will prompt additional questions. We will continue to communicate with you, and we encourage you to visit the university's coronavirus website, which has the most up-to-date information.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been committed to following the latest science and responding in a manner that prioritizes the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. I believe this mandate does just that, and will allow us to continue with plans for more in-person classes and events while still providing effective protection for our community. While this might slow our return to normal, it will not stop it. I remain hopeful for a great fall and a robust winter semester, but we also must remain vigilant. Thank you for doing your part to keep us Warrior safe.
M. Roy Wilson