Michigan Colleges Shift to Remote Learning for Three Weeks Due to Rising COVID-19 Cases

by Katie Sloan

Lansing, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an emergency order on Sunday, Nov. 15, that enacted a three-week pause on indoor social gathering in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates.

Universities, colleges and high schools have been ordered to end in-person classes, shifting exclusively to remote learning. Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carryout and delivery only; gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place; casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed; and only professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation will be able to continue without spectators.

“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing,” says Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “If we don’t act now, thousands more will die and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

This announcement has had an impact on off-campus student housing, where some companies are seeing a rise in leasing interest for both the duration of fall semester and spring 2021.

“As with other markets where the university decision to de-densify occurred after residents began their year in on-campus housing, we have seen movement off-campus after President Schlissel’s communication on Nov. 6 about adjusting the University of Michigan (UM) residence halls to single-occupancy beginning with winter term and after Governor Whitmer’s subsequent related shelter-in-place restrictions from Nov 15.,” says Jonathan Bove, senior vice president of acquisition and management services at Landmark Properties.

“Following the UM announcement, we saw significant traffic across asset types as students secured off-campus housing rather than relocating back to their parent’s homes,” Bove continues. “We also saw immediate interest in spring 2021 and a lagging but positive trend by the end of the week in fall 2021 velocity as well. We continue to follow CDC and local public health officers’ guidance to ensure our communities allow residents to shelter-in-place in their homes.”

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