Officials in Washtenaw County are asking students at the University of Michigan to stay in place through February 7.

The recommendation comes after cases of COVID-19 have started spreading quickly amongst the university community. That includes 14 cases of the new B.1.1.7 variant, which is believed to be approximately 50 percent more transmissible.

The recommendation is that all undergrad, graduate and professional students enrolled in the university that are currently living in Washtenaw County (either on or off campus) stay put and do not gather with anyone outside of their household.

It is recommended that students only leave their homes for in-person classes, work that cannot be performed remotely, religious activities, to volunteer in approved vaccination and testing efforts, or to obtain food or medical care.

In a release, the university also strongly encouraged to take part in the free weekly testing that is being provided. Any undergraduate student who lives on campus or attends class on campus is currently required to be tested weekly.

Rob Ernst, associate vice president for student life and executive director of the University Health Service said in the release:

This recommendation is intended to slow any possible spread and give us a better understanding of the extent of the presence of B.1.1.7 variant on campus and to aid in containing any current spread. We encourage all students to stay in place and only leave their residence for essential activities, including getting tested weekly for COVID-19.

The release from the university also stated that more stringent measures may be taken if the spread does not appear to slow or additional variant clusters are discovered.

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