Announcing U-M’s public health informed fall semester
Dear Alumni and Friends of Michigan:
I am pleased to share our news that the University of Michigan plans to offer a public health-informed in-residence semester this fall in Ann Arbor. It will consist of a mixture of in-person and remote classes structured to reflect our commitment to promoting public health while fulfilling our fundamental mission of transformative undergraduate, graduate and professional education.
Thanks to the thoughtful and deliberate efforts of hundreds of members of the U-M community, our cautious optimism about the fall has coalesced into a path forward. Their work has given me confidence that we can do this safely and uphold our high standards for excellence. 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.
The primary components of our fall plan for the Ann Arbor campus are described in this message to U-M faculty, staff and students. We also have launched a Campus Maize and Blueprint website with more information. It will be updated regularly as more details are finalized and adapted as needed.
Because of the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, the semester ahead will look and feel different than anything we have seen before — and we’re bringing our full intellectual power to bear on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
We will make full use of our longstanding excellence in teaching and learning, both in person and online, and tap our innovative spirit to deliver a world-class Michigan educational experience in these most unusual times. And we will ask our entire community to join in prudent health and safety actions that will embody our commitment to caring for one another.
Although not all courses will be available in every format, most students can choose whether to return to Ann Arbor for a hybrid learning experience or study from home in a fully remote mode. Our Ann Arbor campus will open its residence halls for housing and dining, and will offer many on-campus programs and activities that enhance the college experience. UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint have campus-specific plans for hybrid instruction that their chancellors will share with their communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been substantially contained in many parts of the country including Michigan. Nonetheless, the potential for new infections, whether students are at home or in residence, will likely continue throughout the coming academic year. Our plan to conduct an in-person semester relies on basic public health strategies including social distancing, minimizing out-of-area travel, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, symptom screening, clinical testing, contact tracing and quarantine that add up to a highly effective way to limit spread of this illness, allowing students to pursue their Michigan education.
I know there will be many questions as we continue to prepare for the semester ahead, and we’ll refine the details in the coming weeks.
As the nation’s top public research university, we have an opportunity to show the world that this can be done. I have every confidence that we will rise to this occasion, this singular moment in our history, to challenge the future and emerge, as always, as leaders and best.
Thank you, as a member of our extended Michigan family, for supporting our efforts along the way. There is no community I would rather be a part of as we begin this journey.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.