UPDATE: CMU announces vaccine mandate or required COVID-19 testing


Bandaids and other medical equipment sit on a table Feb. 17 during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Finch Fieldhouse.

In a letter to the campus community on Thursday, Central Michigan University President Bob Davies announced that students, faculty and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 3 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. 

The letter said those who opt out of the vaccine can do so without providing a reason but must have the results of their first COVID-19 test by Sept. 3 and continue to get tested weekly. Testing and vaccines will continue to be free and available in the Terrace Rooms in the Bovee University Center. Testing will be done through Helix, one of the largest COVID-19 testing labs in the country.

Those who are vaccinated will upload their vaccination card to the CMU Healthscreen app or website and fill out a form to opt out of weekly testing.

Anyone that does not provide proof of vaccination or testing by the deadline will face “progressive disciplinary action,” Davies said.

Masks will still be required in the fall in certain indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Wheeler Hall will continue to be used as a quarantine dorm for on-campus residents who test positive.

“Vaccination or testing, combined with the use of masks indoors for all individuals, will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our campus and community,” Davies said. “This plan is designed to allow everyone to make their own decision while practicing social responsibility — a core value at CMU.”

The new protocol is part of the “Protect Yourself. Protect Others.” program, which is in response to the current COVID-19 environment.

CMU joins several other Michigan universities such as Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan in requiring vaccines or COVID-19 testing on some level.

In an interview with Central Michigan Life, Central Michigan District Health Department Health Officer Steve Hall said the Delta variant poses a threat to CMU and surrounding areas with students returning to campus. 

“We are facing somewhat of a perfect storm in terms of the Delta variant making its arrival here in Michigan right at the time we're looking at kids going back to school,” Hall said. “If you see roughly 50 percent of people fully vaccinated, there's certainly reason to worry in terms of seeing a large surge in cases again.”

CMU’s decision follows a resolution passed by the Academic Senate on Monday calling on university leadership to require vaccines for students, faculty and staff returning to campus. The resolution was put forth after a petition demanding a vaccine mandate. 

CMU announced in early August that masks would be required on campus but that vaccination would not be required to return. Davies said the new protocol was decided on after taking all information into account and speaking to health experts, faculty and student leadership.

“I don't think we were late to the game,” Davies said. “What we want to do is make decisions when necessary with all the data. And I think if we would have made it three weeks earlier, we may have had a different decision, but it would not have been the complete set of information.”

Complete information on CMU’s latest COVID-19 updates and policies is available on the COVID-19 Information and Resources page.

To schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, CMU students and employees can visit the CMU Health page, call 989-774-6599 or visit the Vaccine Finder. CMU also will host vaccine pop-up clinics on campus during move-in and during orientation week and throughout the semester.

The university will continue to update the campus community.

The fall semester begins Aug. 30. Students who decide to withdraw from CMU have until Sept. 3 to drop their classes and receive a full refund. On-campus students who cancel their housing will be charged a $500 cancellation fee.