Student Life

August 8, 2020

Dear U-M Student,

As we approach the final weeks of summer, we are very excited to welcome you to a new academic year at the University of Michigan — whether you choose on campus or remote learning. We are continuing our planning for a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction this fall and we want to share new expectations for our student community that are designed to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on campus.

University leaders, including our expert medical and public health officials, continue to meet daily on the evolving pandemic and its implications for our fall semester plans. We are prepared to offer our students the best Michigan experience possible, either in person or remotely, throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit the U-M Campus Maize and Blueprint site for up-to-date information about our fall plans.

Before you arrive on campus

Class schedule adjustments

We’re sure you have begun to notice changes to the mode of instruction and classroom assignments for the courses for which you are registered. Our schools and colleges are diligently working to design a semester that reduces density in classrooms and academic buildings. This work will be completed by August 7, and at that time you will be able to edit your schedule in Wolverine Access.

Most students will be able to choose whether to return to campus or remain at your permanent residence to study remotely based on their choice of courses. Currently available data and registrations imply that approximately 70 percent of credits for undergraduates can be taken remote this fall; many hybrid courses also offer the option to attend remotely as well. There is no requirement to return to campus for your coursework for most majors.

New international students who plan to study in the U.S. for Fall Term 2020 must choose some in-person or hybrid classes, and be enrolled full-time. They are not limited to a specific number of online credits, but their classes cannot be completely online.

Students who have already signed housing contracts will be allowed to cancel without penalty until August 14. We will amend our usual rules and allow students with housing contracts who study remotely in the Fall semester to apply for housing in the Winter semester if conditions allow, and we will make every effort to accommodate all requests.

Enhanced social distancing

All U-M students who do decide to return to campus must observe a 14-day period of enhanced social distance at home before arriving in Ann Arbor or on campus. It is an important part of our strategy to minimize risk and keep COVID-19 out of our community.

During this 14-day period, you need to monitor your health, reduce your contact with others and follow guidance consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including:

  • Taking your temperature two times a day and monitor for fever.
  • Watching for cough, trouble breathing or additional COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Staying home and avoiding contact with others outside of your home. Do not go to work, school or social gatherings.
  • Avoiding public transportation, taxis or ride-shares.
  • Maintaining a physical distance from others (about 6 feet).
  • Wearing a face covering when in public settings or while interacting with others outside of the home.
  • Seeking medical attention if you develop a fever, other symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19. Do not come to campus until you receive further instructions.

Also during this time, you will be asked to complete an online learning module that serves as an overview of COVID-19: what it is, its symptoms, and best practices for staying safe. More details on how to access the module will be available soon.

Arrivals from international locationsFor students arriving on campus directly from international locations, your 14-day period of enhanced social distancing begins when you arrive, and can be done in your residence on- or off-campus. Depending on your arrival date, this 14-day period may overlap with the start of classes and you are expected not to go to (in-person) class until your 14-day period is complete. It is important that you communicate with your instructor(s) directly to determine appropriate academic adjustments during this 14-day period.

Arrivals from designated domestic locations
Students arriving from designated domestic locations who may need to practice enhanced social distancing after arrival will be expected to observe guidance from the State of Michigan or Washtenaw County Health Department that is in effect at the time of your arrival. Currently, there is no additional guidance to observe.

Pre-arrival testing
Students moving into U-M Housing (residence halls and apartments) are expected to be tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 - and clearedprior to their arrival in Ann Arbor. U-M is partnering with Quest Diagnostics to provide testing kits, at no additional cost, directly to students for you to self-administer and then mail back to Quest for analysis. If you are planning to live in U-M Housing, you will receive an email next week with additional information and instructions on testing.

After you arrive on campus

Wolverine Culture of Care

The first weeks of the semester are high-risk for spreading COVID-19 in our community, and it is important to reduce your risk by wearing face coverings on campus and on U-M transportation, maintaining social distancing, practicing frequent hand washing, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick. Each of these actions are an important part of our multilayer approach to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting you and everyone else in the U-M community.

The Division of Student Life worked closely with U-M students across campus this summer to develop the Wolverine Culture of Care — a commitment to keeping the U-M campus community as healthy and safe as possible. We encourage you to review and share these guidelines as a reminder on how to best care for yourself and to be respectful of your shared responsibility for the health of others.

Testing, quarantine and isolation

To respond to the presence of COVID-19 in our community, we are building a robust plan for evaluation of students with suspected symptoms of COVID-19, including testing when indicated, through University Health Services. U-M’s Environment, Health and Safety department will continue to work closely with local public health officials to perform contact tracing for all infected students as has occurred throughout the pandemic. We also will have support and space, both on and off campus, available for any student that develops symptoms or tests positive, and needs to quarantine or isolate safely. This includes meal delivery. Additional details will be shared soon.

In addition, students will be expected to check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms each day by answering a small set of questions using our daily symptom checker app, ResponsiBLUE, which offers advice on where to seek care if you are not well. This app will be available soon. Currently, the U-M community is using the web app

These are some of the many efforts underway to help you have a healthy and productive semester even though it will be different than years past. We look forward to welcoming you to the University of Michigan in the coming weeks. Please join us in promoting our culture of care that supports the health and wellbeing of the entire U-M – this is our collective responsibility and we all must do our part.

Martino Harmon, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life

Robert Ernst, M.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Life
Executive Director of University Health Service