education schools virtual student affairs

University of Michigan will offer in-person classes for fall semester

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By Martin Slagter

Updated June 22, 2020

ANN ARBOR, MI - There will be students on campus for in-person classes at the University of Michigan when its fall semester begins on Aug. 31, the university announced Monday.

UM will offer a blend of in-person and remote classes, an adjusted academic calendar and an emphasis on the use of face coverings, social distancing and other public health measures.

UM President Mark Schlissel made the announcement Monday, June 22, in a video message and email to the campus community.

Schlissel said the “thoughtful and deliberate efforts of hundreds of members of the UM community” have produced a path forward for the university as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We now have the opportunity to begin a new journey together, equipped with the very best guidance and ideas from our leading scholars, innovative students and expert staff,” Schlissel said.

The university noted that all staff and faculty who can work from home will continue to do so as the university continues to gradually and carefully resume various on-campus activities.

Some of the changes for the fall semester include:

Schlissel said the UM’s plan for an in-person semester relies on every member of the community following basic public health strategies including social distancing, minimizing out-of-area travel, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, symptom screening and quarantine when needed. The university will continue or strengthen actions such as clinical testing, contact tracing, cleaning and real-time monitoring of the spread of the virus.

“We will protect our students, faculty and staff with a broad array of research-based public health measures and tools,” Schlissel said.

Instruction

Students on the Ann Arbor campus will be able to choose from a full set of courses, with formats including in-person, remote and mixed instruction depending on curricular needs. Some students will choose or need to take all their classes remotely. UM’s 19 schools and colleges will provide a set of fully remote classes that will enable most students to make that choice.

Decisions about which courses and sections to offer in which formats will be made by schools, colleges and departments to fulfill their unique educational needs. Generally, large classes will be conducted remotely, small classes will be in person and medium-size classes will be a hybrid of the two.

Academic calendar

For the Ann Arbor campus, classes will begin Aug. 31, as previously scheduled, but fall break is eliminated. The last day of in-person classes for the semester will be Nov. 20.

After a nine-day Thanksgiving break, classes will resume remotely Nov. 30 and continue until Dec. 8., with final exams running Dec. 10-18. The professional schools and colleges may have different calendars based on their programs’ requirements.

There will not be a December commencement ceremony. Those graduates will be invited to participate in spring ceremonies.

Winter term classes will begin Jan. 19, 2021, immediately after UM’s traditional Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium on Jan. 18. The later start will give time for implementing any needed public health protocols before students return to campus. Winter break also will be eliminated and final exams will run April 22 to 29.

Housing, dining

Housing and dining will be open for fall on the Ann Arbor campus.

Whether they live in residence halls or in off-campus housing and apartments, students will be expected to follow public health guidelines just as they would when living in permanent residences, according to UM.

Many of Student Life’s educational programs, community-building activities and learning experiences are being adapted to serve students.

Students also will see additional changes to their campus experience such as physical distancing requirements in libraries and other common spaces and buildings, limited access to certain areas, additional cleaning, boxed meals and staggered timelines for activities such as move-in and dining. A group of experts is examining potential safety changes for the campus bus system.

More information on UM’s plans for the academic year can be found online.

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