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Covid-19 strain forces University of Michigan to halt all athletics

Jan. 26, 2021
State health officials say a more aggressive approach is needed to deal with a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus.

The University of Michigan has halted athletic activities in all sports, including games, team and individual training sessions, until further notice and up to 14 days.

The university's athletic department says in a news release that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has called for a more aggressive strategy to combat a more highly contagious variant of the coronavirus.

"Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of Covid-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools," says Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.

The mandate follows positive test results for the SAR-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant virus infections from several individuals linked to the university's Athletic Department. The B.1.1.7 variant is thought to be about 50%  more transmissible than the standard form of the virus, resulting in a faster spread of the virus.

The university has paused all athletic activities and closed all athletic facilities to strengthen the public health intervention. Team members (student-athletes, coaches, and team staff) must immediately isolate/quarantine effective Jan. 23 until further notice and up to 14 days (Feb. 7).

University public health officials are working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and Michigan Department of Human Health Services on additional mitigation strategies to address the B.1.1.7 variant in the university community.

The university has made no determination on how the pause may affect scheduled games beyond Feb. 7.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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