January 4, 2023: Updates to CMU's COVID practices
Changes reflect local, state and national trends
Dear students, colleagues and friends,
Welcome to an exciting new year at CMU! I hope you were able to rest and relax over the winter break and are preparing for a strong start to 2023.
As we begin the spring semester, we are updating our COVID-19 practices to better align with the practices of our local health partners, as well as those of many of our peer institutions of higher education. These changes also are consistent with state and national trends and the patterns we have seen on campus over the last year.
In this blog, I will outline the following changes at a high level, and I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 Information and Resources website to learn more about:
- Ending the requirement to self-report symptoms or positive test results.
- Discontinuing on-campus isolation/quarantine housing.
- Continuing to offer vaccines, boosters and COVID tests on campus.
No requirement to notify CMU of symptoms or positive test result
With the widespread availability of at-home COVID-19 tests and the challenges of collecting data on new cases, many public health organizations have shifted practice and no longer require individual case reporting or contact tracing.
Following this trend, CMU will no longer require students, faculty and staff to report COVID symptoms or positive test results using the health screening app. Instead, if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, you should contact your preferred health care provider and visit the CDC’s COVID-19 webpage for additional guidance on testing and isolation.
Please do not come to campus if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least five days; you can use the CDC’s isolation and exposure calculator to help you determine how long to isolate.
As with any other illness, it is your responsibility to notify your instructors and/or supervisor that you are unable to attend class or work.
No on-campus isolation or quarantine housing
Based on updated guidance from the CDC related to residential dorms and COVID-19 community levels, CMU will no longer offer quarantine and isolation housing for residential students. This step already has been taken by many of CMU’s peer institutions of higher education, and it is consistent with the decline in demand for on-campus isolation housing over the past year.
Students who feel sick should limit non-essential contact with others, follow CDC guidance for COVID-19, and contact their preferred health care provider if symptoms do not improve or worsen. Again, there is no requirement for students to report their symptoms or test results to CMU. Residential students who have questions about this change may contact the Office of Residence Life by calling 989-774-3111.
Testing, vaccination and masks
Vaccines are still the strongest defense against serious illness from COVID-19, and so we will continue to offer primary series vaccine doses and the bivalent boosters at the University Health Services Clinic in Foust Hall. Please visit the vaccines webpage for clinic hours and appointment information.
At-home test kits are available to order free from covid.gov website, and you can find testing services and at-home kits at many local pharmacies and health care agencies. CMU also will continue to offer testing services on campus for students, faculty and staff; please visit the COVID-19 testing webpage for clinic hours, test options and other information.
Masks will continue to be optional in all outdoor and most indoor spaces at CMU. Some locations, including health care clinics and those mandated by state or federal guidelines, will still require masking.
Ready to pivot
Isabella county continues to have a low community level, as determined by the CDC; however, CMU will continue to monitor trends in the virus to ensure our policies and practices remain in alignment with local, state and national recommendations. We remain ready to adapt our plans as needed to keep our campus and community as safe and healthy as possible.
Each of us has responsibility for our own health and safety, and our actions also impact the well-being of our colleagues, neighbors and friends. I appreciate all that you do to care for yourself and others.
Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University