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The Eastern Echo Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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Fall 2021 campus updates: vaccinations, masks, student organizations, and more

EMU has updated several policies about mask-wearing, social distancing, and COVID-19 testing since last semester. There are also new updates to campus life, including residence halls changes and in-person student organizations.

Before returning to campus Aug. 30, check out the list below to learn more about COVID-19 protocols and student activities for the fall 2021 semester. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations

All students are encouraged to report their vaccination status to the university.

Students attending on-campus courses must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and report their vaccination status by Sept. 3, or they must undergo weekly testing.

Students who live on-campus are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to report their vaccination status by Sept. 30. 

Vaccinations are required for residents in the following buildings: Best, Brown, Cornell, Downing, Hoyt, Munson, Phelps, Pittman, Putnam, Sellers, Village, Walton, Westview, Wise, and West Forest. 

Students who participate in or work in athletics, including intercollegiate sports, marching band, cheer team, and dance team, must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 24. Athletics coaches are also required to be vaccinated by this date.

Students and faculty who submit their vaccination certification by Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. will automatically be entered into the “Get the Vax to Win” program. Prizes range from $100 bookstore gift cards to $5,000 student account credits. 

EMU’s Vice President of Communications Walter Kraft stated, “The University is strongly encouraging vaccinations for everyone who is eligible and will be providing our campus community with many options to get vaccinated through a series of pop-up clinics in coordination with the Washtenaw County Health Department.”

Pop-up vaccination clinics will be held at the EMU Student Center Ballroom on the following dates:

  • Saturday, Aug. 28: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 18: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines will be offered. Walk-ins are available, but appointments are recommended.

Daily COVID-19 Passes

Like the fall 2020 and winter 2021 semesters, students are required to fill out a COVID-19 pass questionnaire every day they are on campus. Those living in residence halls must complete the pass daily. 

It can be completed before entering a campus building on a smartphone or device, or it can be completed electronically at a check-in station. The screening asks if you are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, if you have recently traveled domestically or internationally, and if you have recently been exposed to COVID-19.

Students are required to show their passes at the check-in stations in university buildings. 

Mask Policy

Face masks and physical distancing of at least 3 feet are required for everyone within classrooms. 

Everyone is required to wear a mask and physically distance in other indoor spaces while on campus, except for the following exceptions:

  • Instructors teaching in a classroom who are fully vaccinated, have reported their vaccination status to the university, and physically distance at least 6 feet from students.

  • Those who have a disability-based accommodation. Employees and students are required to request these accommodations.

  • Those who are alone in a private space, such as an office, vehicle, or living space, with the door closed.

  • Those who are eating, drinking, or swimming.

  • Those whose nose, mouth, or throat are being physically examined by a medical professional.

  • Those who are attending an event that has received a special exemption. 

Individuals who are outside are not required to wear a mask or physically distance themselves regardless of vaccination status. 

Testing for COVID-19

EMU provides free COVID-19 testing to students, staff, and faculty on campus. The testing center is located on the bottom floor of the Student Center, next to the bookstore. Anyone who wishes to get tested must register beforehand. 

Masks are required at the COVID-19 testing center regardless of vaccination status. 

Everyone entering the testing center must complete the COVID-19 daily pass. If someone fails the pass, the door screener will provide information about what to do next. Symptomatic people can still test on-site. 

On-campus residents are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 at least twice every month. Students who are taking in-person classes and are not vaccinated against COVID-19 must get tested weekly.

Reporting COVID-19 Cases

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should return to their residence, not make contact with others, notify instructors and supervisors of their absence, and fill out a COVID-19 report form

The university advises students who test positive to not notify anyone. EMU stated, “Other individuals on campus are notified as appropriate pursuant to government protocols for contact tracing and notification.”

Campus Move-In

Jeanette Zalba, the director of Housing and Residence Life, said regular operations for the fall 2021 move-in are expected, aside from extra safety precautions. 

The fall 2021 move-in will follow a staggered process depending on the students’ classification as first-year or upperclassmen, as well as what building and floor they live on. Students moving onto campus will receive an email in August further explaining the move-in process, including an assigned date and time frame.

“We did this last year to minimize lines and crowding -- this change was well-received as [it] helped with congestion during the move-in process,” Zalba said in an email.

Housing residents will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test shortly before moving in. 

Residence Hall Changes 

EMU no longer provides free Comcast cable service in residence halls but will continue to offer landline and Wi-Fi internet. 

Non-EMU guests are allowed in residence halls and on-campus apartments again. Students are permitted “up to three guests in their room and only one overnight guest at a time.” 

In fall 2020, EMU began offering single rooms at a discount. Students who request to live in a single room can expect to pay about $1,000 more than a standard double room in residence halls. 

The Village apartments changed to four or six-person apartments, instead of four or seven-person. According to Zalba, this was done to “reduce density” in the area. 


EMU’s mandatory orientation is offered online and in-person this semester. Students can expect to watch presentations, meet an academic adviser, and spend time in a small group. 

EMU Connect will allow first-year students to meet peer mentors and other students. Several new programs are offered that promote “inclusion and holistic wellness,” such as the Wellness Fair and Student Success at EMU. 

Student Organizations 

According to the Director of Campus Life Lucas Langdon, student organizations will return to campus this fall. 

“We expect most student [organizations] to be able to get back to safely engaging with their normal activities,” Langdon said in an email. 

EagleFest 2021 will be held in-person Aug. 31. EagleFest is a “way for new students to gather contact information from the various student organizations represented there and find out how they can be involved in those particular student organizations.”

A full list of student organizations is available on EagleSync.