Even in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Central Michigan University remained open for face-to-face learning opportunities for students in the fall and spring semesters. Students, faculty, staff and community partners made this possible by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, participating in surveillance testing and adhering to university health and safety guidelines designed to protect themselves and others.
Now, to empower CMU to resume a wider array of on-campus activities safely, university leaders are encouraging everyone to be vaccinated. CMU President Bob Davies this week announced that CMU has joined the White House's COVID College Vaccination Challenge.
Through the challenge, CMU aims to increase the rate of vaccinated individuals throughout campus. And while everyone can participate, the challenge is particularly focused on students.
Low vaccination rates among college students
Even as many more Americans are being vaccinated, the younger generations lag. According to Michigan.gov, only 37% of Michiganders age 16-29 have received their first dose, and even fewer, 31.5%, have received their second dose to complete the vaccination process — well below the state's goals. The goal of the #COVIDCollegeChallenge is to encourage those younger people to receive their shots, too.
Returning to campus for a robust fall semester is a driving force behind CMU's involvement in the challenge.
"Vaccines are our best chance to get back to all of the engaging, hands-on, in-person activities that make education at CMU unique," Davies said.
"The science is clear: Vaccines are a safe, effective defense against COVID-19. We are committed to making them accessible to every member of our community who wishes to receive them."
Members of the CMU community can join the challenge by registering for a vaccine appointment through the Central Michigan District Health Department website.
Over the past year, CMU reported a total of 1,168 positive cases, never exceeding 5% of the campus population. CMU students, faculty and staff set the leadership standard by social distancing, following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and remaining passionate about the health and safety of others.
"We are a community that lifts each other up and takes care of one another — we have proven that time and again over the past year," Davies said. "I know we will continue to do so in the year ahead."
This story was written by University Communications intern Caroline Kramer.