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Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

University of Michigan students must shelter-in-place for 14 days due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases on campus, the school's president Mark Schlissel wrote in a letter on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Schlissel said the order is meant to address small- and medium-sized social gatherings that have been identified as the primary cause of new cases on campus.

What he's saying: "Today, the Washtenaw County Health Department, in collaboration with the university, issued a 14-day Stay in Place order for our undergraduate students, which goes into effect immediately," Schlissel wrote.

  • The university will impose additional steps and more choices for students and staff, "including moving more of our undergraduate courses to fully remote instruction," he said.

The big picture: All undergrads living in on-campus, near-campus or off-campus housing must remain in place, though they can leave for basic needs, including medical appointments, to vote, volunteer as poll workers or attend religious activities.

Of note: Intercollegiate athletics are exempt from the order "so long as practices and competitions occur under medical supervision and regular virus tests are conducted by the Big Ten according to its approved protocols."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 27, 2021 - Health

Coronavirus variants demand a tougher response

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New, more contagious coronavirus variants threaten the U.S. response to COVID-19 just as the best tools to fight it are becoming available.

Why it matters: As our response to COVID-19 evolves and improves with the introduction of vaccines, so does SARS-CoV-2 itself, with new variants emerging. The next few months will demand harsher measures to control the pandemic at the very moment when exhaustion is peaking.

Jan 27, 2021 - Health

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

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