The University of Michigan is expanding its weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing to include graduate and professional students who live on or come to campus.
The mandatory testing will start Feb. 16 as part of continued efforts to protect the university community from the spread of COVID-19, according to a Feb. 5 email from Robert D. Ernst, associate vice president of student life for health and wellness and executive director of University Health Service, and Preeti Malani, professor of medicine and chief health officer.
“Regular testing of the U-M community — including you as a student — is an important part of the multilayered strategy to help identify COVID-19 in the community and reduce potential further spread by quickly moving infected individuals and all of their identified close contacts into isolation,” the email to graduate and professional students said.
The new requirement brings graduate and professional students in line with existing protocols for undergraduate students who have undergone mandatory testing since the beginning of the semester. The testing is required regardless of vaccination status.
Testing will occur through the U-M Community Sampling and Tracking Program. Tests that are conducted through University Health Service, Occupational Health Services or the Michigan Athletics program also will meet the requirement.
“The expansion of the weekly testing requirement has become necessary as the case management and contact tracing efforts on campus have consistently demonstrated that social gatherings among graduate and undergraduate students alike continue to fuel the spread of COVID-19 within our community,” Ernst and Malani wrote.
They also noted that in-person education and teaching will continue, along with research and other important work. Because of the many safeguards in place, there is no indication that COVID-19 is spreading through those activities.
Students who visit campus for any reason are required to use the ResponsiBLUE tool for a quick, daily COVID-19 symptom check. Beginning Feb. 8, all graduate and professional students will see the weekly COVID-19 testing status box in their ResponsiBLUE app.
If students are up-to-date with testing through U-M, their last test date will display on the app. For others, the screen will default to a test status of “Completed” with an expiration date of Feb. 16. Students will have until Feb. 16 to comply with the weekly COVID-19 testing expectation. Students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are excluded from testing for 90 days from the date of the test.
Test results will automatically be captured for people tested through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program, University Health Service or Occupational Health Services. People who were tested elsewhere should submit their positive results at the Campus Maize & Blueprint.