With the COVID-19 Policies for RSOs lifting on July 1st and the University preparing for a more open and in-person Fall semester, we know that there are lots of questions that you have regarding your student organizations. The University of Michigan still has COVID-19 policies that students are expected to follow, so please make sure you are referring to the Maize and Blueprint site for the most up-to-date information!
Here are some best practices and frequently asked questions to help you make your plans. Of course, we welcome you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a CCI representative if you want to talk things through in more detail!
COVID-19 | Best Practices to Consider
Gathering Sizes and Locations
- Smaller gatherings are going to be preferable to larger ones, and outdoor gatherings will be preferable to indoor ones.
- Make use of smaller committees as opposed to gathering your whole org for a meeting,
- Think about having your meetings outside, or maybe in a larger room than you would have normally used. Better yet, think about keeping some of those meetings virtual!
- If your org is going to gather at a business or reserving a room in a building, make sure to contact those locations beforehand so you know what all of their restrictions are!
Traveling With Your Org
- Be aware that restrictions vary across counties, states, and countries right now.
- The safest thing to do is not travel at all right now.
- If your org has to travel for any reason, do some reasearch beforehand.
- Check what the guidelines and restrictions are at your final destination, along with stops you'll make along the way.
- Don't forget those masks!
- The safest thing to do right now is to still keep your events and programs virtual.
- Keep accurate attendance records of participants.
- Be aware of venue policies and communicate them to guests/attendees.
- Be prepared to make accommodations for those who are unvaccinated or uncomfortable with in-person interactions. Having a virtual option is going to be a good idea.
Get Vaccinated and Self-Report
- The best way to achieve a safe, in-person experience is for as many people to get vaccinated as possible.
- The University of Michigan is mandating that all students/staff/faculty at the University get vaccinated by August 30, 2021. You can read the University's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy here.
- Vaccines are widely available - if your health and circumstances permit, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated.
- Self-reporting your vaccination status with UM will be key to having a more open fall semester - if you haven't done it already, please do!
Practice Kindness and Empathy
- Everyone's comfort level is going to be different
- Engage in conversations and set expectations as a group before jumping right back in so everyone is on the same page.
- You don't know everyone's story - some may not be able to get vaccinated due to an underlying health issue. Some may want to keep wearing masks even after getting vaccinated. Give each other a lot of grace - these are weird times we're living in.
Frequently Asked Questions
So once July 1, 2021 hits, orgs can do anything we want?
Not exactly. The University still has different requirements for unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals related to masking and distancing, and different business/communities/facilities will have policies that you will need to check on as well. This is defnitely not a "free-for-all" situation - COVID-19 has not disappeared, and we still strongly recommend caution and well-informed decision making.
Will I have to wear a mask for student org activities on campus and physically distance?
Masks are required in all campus indoor spaces and U-M public transportation regardless of vaccination status for all individuals, including guests/visitors. Additionally, physical distancing is not required, but is strongly recommended for unvaccinated individuals.. Masks are not required for unvaccinated individuals in outdoor settings. You can read the most up-to-date policy on face coverings at the University here.
Can my org require all members to be vaccinated in order to participate in our activities?
The University of Michigan is requiring all students, staff, and faculty to get vaccinated for COVID-19. We do not recommend student organizations to apply vaccination mandates, as organizations will also need to consider legal/risk implications around medical and religious exemptions. What we do recommend is that your organization require checking the ResponsiBLUE app at the door for your in-person activities, which will meet compliance requirements and avoid situations where student leaders are needing to check vaccination status for other individuals.
Will the University provide me a list of which of my members are vaccinated and not vaccinated?
No - Student vaccination records are confidential, and can only be released with consent from that student. The University will not provide vaccination records of any student to student organizations.
How can I check for vaccination status if the University isn't going to give me that information?
You can ask participants to show you their ResponsiBLUE app upon entry. The app will show vaccination status as long as the participant has self-reported their vaccination status. If a participant refuses to show you the app, you could deny participation at that time. That's why it's really important to make sure that your members have completed this process prior to coming back to campus! You can complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Self-Report Form here.
Will me and my org members still have to get tested every week?
Fully-vaccinated individuals who have reported their vaccination status will not have to complete the mandatory weekly testing program. Unvaccinated individuals and/or individuals that do not report their vaccination status will have to participate in the weekly testing program. You can find more information on the COVID-19 Community Sampling and Tracking program here.
Are there going to be limits on gathering sizes?
That's really going to depend on where exactly your org will be gathering. Each facility/business/etc may impose a gathering limit, so you'll want to check with the facility/business operator before your gathering to double-check.
Can my student org travel overnight and out-of-state?
We currently would not advise overnight or out-of-state travel, particularly for unvaccinated individuals. However, VSOs are currently permitted to travel overnight and out-of-state, and SSOs will be able to do so starting on July 1st, when the University's suspension on non-essential travel lifts (with departmental approval). Certain SSOs may need to adhere to different guidelines set by their sponsoring departments for travel. Please remember that both VSOs and SSOs need to adhere to the guidelines and restrictions in place at their planned destinations. Please remember that the CDC still recommends mask-wearing and distancing for the unvaccinated.
Are fleet vehicle reservations accessible again?
Yes - The CCI will be approving/denying vehicle reservations on a case-by-case basis. Don't be surprised if we contact you for a meeting before we approve your reservation request!
Is the SOAR COVID-19 Accountability Pathway for RSOs still a thing?
While the SOAR COVID-19 Accountability Pathway for RSOs expired on July 1, 2021, any complaints that are filed for alleged COVID-19 violations during a period where COVID-19 Policies for RSOs were still in place will be processed using that pathway.
Will the IdeaHub be open to student orgs in the Fall?
Yes - The IdeaHub will transition fully back to a student organization co-working space, and reservations for meeting rooms, the Movement Studios, and the Creation Studio will open in early September.