Dear U-M Alumni and Friends:
We have spent the last few months preparing to welcome students and begin another academic year. Today, I would like to share a few of the ways we are working to create a safe and healthy living and learning environment on our campus.
As I do, I wish to acknowledge the extraordinary work of our faculty, staff and students to address these highly complex challenges, and I’m grateful for the generous and heartfelt support from our extended U-M community. The strength of the Michigan family inspires me as we face the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.
COVID-19 is spreading in many parts of the country and world, and we continue to monitor the state of the pandemic nationally and locally. This has affected many of our students’ home towns, as we know it has affected your home communities. We are monitoring conditions and are prepared to modify our plans as needed.
High-quality course offerings
We currently estimate that about 70 percent of credit hours for undergraduates will be taken fully remotely this fall while courses that can only or best be offered in person, like lab and studio courses, will be offered in person. Some classes will be offered in a mixed or hybrid fashion. Students whose classes are available remotely may choose to remain at home. Regardless of the format they choose, I am confident that our educational offerings will rise to U-M’s legacy of outstanding and creative teaching. Some of the faculty leading these efforts have shared examples of their approaches here.
Health and safety
We have made numerous preparations to keep our community as safe as possible. These measures are based on the best research and public health expertise.
Prior to arrival
All U.S. students coming to Ann Arbor will be required to practice enhanced social distancing during the 14 days before arriving, and students arriving from international destinations will practice 14 days of enhanced social distancing upon arrival.
Students moving into U-M Housing’s residence halls and apartments will be tested and cleared for COVID-19 before arriving in Ann Arbor. U-M will provide testing kits, at no additional cost, directly to on-campus housing students to self-administer and return for analysis.
All students, staff, faculty and visitors are required to wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose while anywhere on campus grounds, except within one’s own room, office or residence. This includes when inside buildings, outdoors and on U-M transportation on all of our campuses.
During the semester, all members of the community who are on campus will check for symptoms daily through an online tool or mobile app, and we’ll offer virus testing and care when medically indicated through our University Health Service. We’ll continue to work closely with local public health officials to perform contact tracing, and we’ll provide living space and meals for any student who needs to quarantine or isolate safely. We also are working on a plan to perform regular surveillance to diminish campus spread of COVID-19.
U-M researchers already have authored more than 400 research articles relevant to COVID-19, and faculty, staff and students are leading at least 320 research projects related to the global pandemic. You might enjoy our Michigan Minds podcasts on COVID-19 – featuring 30 faculty from 12 schools and colleges and five other campus units or initiatives.
Throughout the many difficulties of the pandemic, I’ve been amazed by the incredible resilience and talents of our students, faculty and staff. And we could not do any of this without you, our extended Michigan family. I’m grateful for your continued commitment to our mission, ensuring that the University of Michigan will continue to lead in education, research and service during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.