Wayne State is planning on implementing new COVID-19 restrictions starting Wednesday, April 7, amidst increasing cases in Detroit and statewide. This includes limiting in-person classes and building closures.
Michigan’s COVID-19 numbers were reported to be the highest in the United States as of Friday, according to ClickonDetroit.
WSU's decision is based on public health metrics that were established to guide the university’s response to the pandemic. Detroit’s seven-day positivity rate passed 15%, triggering actions to depopulate campus. These actions will not go into effect if the city’s positivity rate decreases within WSU’s metrics.
The COVID-19 positivity rate on-campus is just over 4%, with 48 people testing positive the week of March 27, according to the Campus Health Center. However, this marks the highest positivity rate on WSU’s campus this semester.
A possible reversal of the restrictions will not occur until Michigan’s COVID-19 case numbers improve, President M. Roy Wilson said in an email to the campus community Saturday. If case numbers have not lowered after 10 days, the changes will remain.
Various campus buildings are set to shut down. Both the Student Center and Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center will be closed for regular use. Only COVID-19 vaccinations will be allowed to operate in the Student Center and COVID-19 testing in the Mort Harris Rec Center.
In addition to building closures, in-person contact will be limited even further. Classes meeting on campus, excluding the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, College of Nursing and School of Medicine, will pause until reassessment.
Athletics have also been suspended. Restarting team practices is dependent upon 80% or more of players being fully vaccinated.
WSU members working in laboratory research settings are required to develop a plan for less time in person, except those fully vaccinated. Non-essential staff are also encouraged to continue their duties from home.
To limit COVID-19 exposure, rules surrounding guests in student housing have been restricted.
The libraries currently open on campus will continue operating, with the possibility of increased limitations.
Towers Café will no longer be open for indoor dining, only permitting carry-out options. The W Food Pantry will remain in full operation, including for technology resources.
In light of the continuous increase of COVID-19 positivity rates, Wilson said students and staff should take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine, although it is not required.
“Wayne State remains committed to following the latest data to guide our response to the pandemic,” Wilson said. “... While Wayne State has not mandated vaccines, we encourage all members of the campus community to be vaccinated. This is our best path toward ending the pandemic and returning to normalcy in the coming months.”
Alanna Williams is a correspondent for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Quinn Banks, multimedia editor for The South End. He can be reached at email@example.com.