University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel joined 7 UpFront on Friday night, just one week after the university announced its plans for the 2021 winter semester.
The new plan includes a provision that undergraduate students who don’t need to live on campus should remain at their permanent residences for the semester to reduce density in U-M residence halls.
It also includes mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for undergraduate students living, learning, working or doing research in person on the Ann Arbor campus, major increases in asymptomatic testing for all members of the campus community and new measures to support mental health and well-being.
According to Schlissel, they have had a scaled back semester, with about 70-80% of students starting online and now near 90% online. Dorms are at about 2/3 occupancy.
The good news, he said, is that research labs are up and running at about 60% capacity, as is the health system.
Schlissel also talked about how the school of public health workers have become advisers to the governor's office for the pandemic, and that the research teams are testing two vaccines and a new antibody treatment. They are also screening new drugs that can drop the effects of COVID-19, and the studying the biology of a virus that can bring the world to a halt.