ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan announced major steps Friday to reduce the number of students on campus for the winter term because of the coronavirus, telling families that housing contracts will be canceled.
The university said undergraduates living in residence halls should not return after the holidays but participate in online classes from home.
“The pandemic hasn’t gone away, COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase in Michigan and around the nation, and the winter will bring new and likely greater challenges,” President Mark Schlissel said.
Undergraduates who must live on campus will stay in single rooms, and weekly virus tests will be mandatory, the university said. The winter term starts on Jan. 19.
The steps were announced a day after the state health department reported 5,710 new confirmed cases in Michigan, the highest daily total.
In October, the Washtenaw County health officer told students to stay in place for two weeks due to a surge in local cases tied to social gatherings.
There are 5,300 undergraduates in dorms this fall, down 45% from a typical year, as the university encouraged students to stay home for online classes.
“I join all of you in wishing that our winter term could be normal, and we could enjoy the transition into spring free of the anxieties of this pandemic,” Schlissel said. “The semester will be the third consecutive one of hardship for our community.”
The university had more than 31,000 undergraduates and nearly 17,000 graduate students a year ago.
U-M said staff working from home will continue that practice. The school also is offering three extra paid days off during holiday breaks.