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Health officials in Washtenaw County recommended Wednesday that all students on or near the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus remain at home for two weeks to help slow the spread of COVID-19 -- including the more easily transmitted variant that led to a shutdown of the university's sports programs last weekend.

University officials supported the county's recommendation.

Since the start of the winter term, the university has identified 175 COVID-19 cases among students, including 14 of the B.1.1.7 variant that was first identified in Britain.

“We are very concerned about the potential for this variant to spread quickly,” said Jimena Loveluck, the county's health officer. “We are working closely with the university to take coordinated steps to control the current outbreak and understand the situation more fully.”

Students are being directed to stay in their residence hall rooms or apartments except for essential activities, which include in-person classes, medical appointments, picking up food, jobs that can't be done remotely and religious activities.