Some Members Of The U-M Faculty Senate Say More COVID-19 Student Testing Is Needed

Sep 2, 2020

Some members of the University of Michigan’s Faculty Senate are concerned about what they call a lack of COVID-19 testing among students.  

Members of the Faculty Senate are asking the university to shift to all-virtual instruction for the current fall semester, which began Monday.  Silke Weineck is a professor of German and Comparative Literature and says it’s not that they believe classroom set-ups during COVID-19 are unsafe, it’s that the university did not require students who live off campus to get tested for the coronavirus.  Only those living on campus were required to get tested. 

Silke Weineck: Students who live in private housing or live in the frat, they go to the same parties, they go to the same bars, they got the same classes.  So, I’ve never understood why they weren’t tested.

In a statement sent to WEMU, the university says that by the end of September, they plan to test about 3,000 individuals a week who are considered high-risk individuals.  Among them are people living in congregate settings on and off campus.  Students, faculty, and staff will need to register in order to be tested.   

Below is the full statement the University of Michigan sent to WEMU:

U-M has done significant testing prior to students’ return, and are ramping that up this month.

●      91 percent of undergraduates living in campus housing were tested under our pre-arrival testing program. The remainder are being tested currently.  Those who tested positive in advance of coming to Ann Arbor have delayed their arrival for at least 10 days.

●      Surveillance testing asymptomatic students, faculty and staff will occur each week. We will launch registration for our program next week and anticipate ramping up testing to approximately 3,000 individuals weekly by the end of September. This testing can be focused on highest risk individuals, especially those living in congregate living on campus and off. Additional testing efforts include 1500 tests for students moving into affiliated fraternity and sorority houses. 

●      Case investigation and contact tracing is conducted under the authority of the Washtenaw County health Department, in collaboration with the university department of environment, health, and safety, and experts from the school of Public health supported by approximately 75 graduate and professional students.

We have set aside approximately 600 single rooms for quarantine as needed.

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu