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Wayne State University issues vaccine mandate; Central Michigan requires masks

Wayne State University students, staff and faculty need proof of vaccination by Aug. 30. (Shutterstock photo)

Aug. 24: Michigan colleges hope raffles boost COVID-19 vaccinations in time for fall
Aug. 16: Michigan colleges set fall requirements for masks and COVID-19 vaccines

Related: Vaccine mandates increase among Michigan employers. What you need to know.

Wayne State University will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for students, staff and faculty stepping foot on campus in the fall semester.

Wayne State President Roy Wilson made the announcement Tuesday in a letter to students and employees, joining Michigan State University and the University of Michigan’s three campuses that announced similar vaccine mandates Friday.

Central Michigan University stopped short of mandating vaccines in guidance issued Monday, instead ordering face masks to be worn in classrooms at least through the end of September.

Several other Michigan colleges and universities have at least partial vaccine mandates. Oakland University requires proof of vaccination for those living on campus.

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Tuesday’s announcement by Wayne State isn’t likely to be the last among the state’s 15 public universities, which are scrambling to adjust policies in light of rising coronavirus infections caused primarily by the Delta variant. 

While caseloads remain low in Michigan compared to some southern states, new infections and hospitalizations are rising, due to the more contagious variant and lagging vaccination rates. In all, 58 percent of Michiganders age 12 and older have had at least one dose of vaccine.

Nationwide, businesses and other institutions are also changing policies this week, as the Big Three automakers in Detroit on Tuesday mandated that workers must wear masks starting Wednesday and Home Depot required masks inside stores regardless of vaccination status.

In Wayne State’s announcement, Wilson said proof of vaccination must be submitted to the school by Aug. 30 to be allowed on campus. The announcement didn’t say if both doses had to be complete by that date.

Students and employees can apply online for a waiver of the requirement based on legitimate health or religious reasons. These requests will be reviewed by a campus health committee. Individuals who have an approved waiver will be required to be COVID-19 tested once per week.

Masks will be required on campus through at least Sept. 15. 

“Full vaccination of our campus community will eventually eliminate the need for masks and allow a renewed sense of normalcy in our interactions,” Wilson wrote.

CMU President Robert Davies informed students and employees of a mask mandate Monday. In his letter, Davies said a recent survey found that just 34 percent of on-campus students were vaccinated.

“While we do not require our students and employees to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage everyone to get a vaccine,” Davies said in the letter. “It not only protects you but also helps to protect your friends and classmates, our entire campus, and the surrounding community.”

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