CMU's fall health and wellness plans
Dear students, faculty and staff,
We are just weeks away from the start of an incredible new academic year at Central Michigan University! I am truly Fired Up to welcome everyone back to campus for IMPACT, Leadership Safari, move-in and the first day of classes.
While we are excited for the start of fall semester, we also know that COVID-19 remains a concern for our community. Today, I would like to share some information and updates about CMU’s ongoing efforts to monitor and mitigate the spread of the virus. In this email, you will find:
- Information about the new variants.
- Guidance for returning the campus and updates to CMU’s COVID response.
- Links to resources for health and wellness.
- Updates on flu and other health concerns.
What you need to know about the new variants
Since the arrival of the Omicron variant last fall, new subvariants or strains of the virus have emerged. One of these new subvariants, called BA.5, is currently linked with most new cases of COVID-19.
According to the CDC, these new variants are highly transmissible, yet appear to be milder in terms of the severity of symptoms and illness they may cause. Based on what we know about the variants and following the guidance of our health partners and local leaders, we have made some adjustments to CMU’s health and safety plans for the fall semester.
Returning to campus and CMU’s plans
If you have traveled during the summer months, we encourage you to be tested for COVID-19 before coming to campus. Free at-home COVID tests are available from several local pharmacies and by mail from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID test webpage. You may also contact the Central Michigan District Health Department for information about testing sites throughout our region.
CMU also will offer COVID-19 testing on campus beginning Aug. 29; however, weekly testing is no longer mandatory for any individual.
National health leaders — and our own CMU Health experts — still say vaccination is a vital tool in preventing serious illness from COVID-19, and so we strongly encourage every member of our community to receive their full vaccination regimen, including the booster. Although vaccination is not mandatory at CMU, we hope everyone will take this important step to protect their health and safety. We will continue to provide access to vaccines and boosters on campus throughout the semester, and we will keep our community informed as new boosters become available later this year.
As has been the case on campus all summer, masks are not required in most indoor and outdoor spaces on campus. Anyone who wishes to wear a mask may continue to do so, and individuals completing experiential learning in a health care-related setting, such as rotations or internships in health clinics, may be required to wear a mask in those spaces. Please carefully review our mask guidance on the health and wellness webpage.
Protect yourself and others
Personal responsibility is critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Please, stay home if you feel sick. You can use the CMU health screening app to report symptoms of COVID-19, or you can contact your preferred health care provider for an appointment.
It’s also a good idea to adhere to the CDC’s best practices for preventing virus spread, such as washing your hands often and covering coughs and sneezes. Each of us can take steps to protect our own health and well-being, as well as the safety of our friends, classmates and colleagues.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, university leaders have closely monitored trends in the virus and have partnered with state and local health officials to make decisions related to our health policies and practices. We will continue to do so this semester — making decisions to protect the health and safety of our community while allowing us to continue to carry out our vital mission of education, research and service.
Members of the CMU community can stay abreast of new cases, COVID-19 community levels and other data points by visiting the Michigan.gov COVID information page.
Other health concerns
We also are preparing for flu season, which typically occurs in fall and winter. We will once again offer flu vaccines on campus; dates and information for vaccination clinics and individual appointments are coming soon.
We also are monitoring trends in the monkeypox virus. At present, this is not a major concern for our campus community, but we are staying abreast of current information and guidance from health officials. Dr. Kikano will share an informational message about the monkeypox virus later this week.
Take care, CMU
Your overall health and wellness are important to your success, whether you are a student, faculty member or staff member. CMU provides several resources to help you manage your well-being, from physical health to mental health. Please visit our health and wellness page to learn about the tools and resources available to you.
We are known to be a community that lifts each other up, and that means we treat each other with respect, patience and kindness at all times. That is especially important during this ongoing pandemic. While some members of our community may be experiencing pandemic fatigue, others may be experiencing heightened anxiety. Please, treat everyone with compassion and seek to understand their unique experiences and perspectives.
Together, we can enjoy a successful start to this new academic year. Best wishes for a Fired-Up fall!
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University