Dear Wolverine Families,
This has been one tough semester. Your students have faced challenge after challenge while doing their best to learn, grow, and connect with others. Meanwhile, you have been doing your part to support them from wherever you are. For some of you, that has been from the room next to theirs as you work from home and they study from home. For others, you haven’t seen them since the start of term.
Now Thanksgiving is just around the corner. For those of you who have students on campus, I am sure that you are just as excited as you are nervous about them coming home safe and sound. Maybe you are reading the headlines and seeing that our university is like many in planning to end in-person classes before the holiday. The reasoning behind the requirement that students finish the term remotely is in large part to avoid an expected wave of cold-weather infections. We already are seeing record spikes in cases around the country.
Testing is a crucial part of our strategy to reduce the risk that your student brings the coronavirus back with them — that is why we have departure testing ongoing as you read this. But please, don’t solely rely on your student getting tested here before they head home. They should quarantine when they arrive, and they shouldn’t head straight into a big family gathering the day after they get home. Keep in mind that an infection can take up to 14 days to show itself. You also may want to find out now how your student can get tested again locally once they’re home for the holidays.
I don’t want to be all doom-and-gloom. Whether your student is returning home from campus this week or next, or if they have been with you all semester long, I encourage you to use the week of Thanksgiving as a time to not only give thanks but to celebrate the ways your student has triumphed this semester. Every triumph, no matter how big or small. And yes, embrace being together safely, even if hugs need to wait a little while.
In this edition of Family Matters, we will share new and expanded resources for student engagement, community building, and well-being. You will also find guidance on move-out, departure testing, safe holiday travel, and more. For the most up-to-date information beyond this newsletter, you can refer to the Blueprint website and listen to live weekly updates under the Messages & News section of the site. If you still have questions after exploring those resources, I encourage you to reach out to Assist-Me@umich.edu to be routed to the best office to help you.
Wishing you and yours a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Go Blue!
Dr. Martino Harmon, Vice President for Student Life