by Scott McClallen
The University of Michigan will start the fall semester on Aug. 31 at its Ann Arbor campus with a mix of in-person and online classes, President Mark Schlissel said in a video Monday.
“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,” Schlissel wrote.
“Their work has given me confidence that we can do this safely, and we will continue to plan and prepare in the months ahead. 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.”
Ann Arbor’s semester will look different than past years as it implements safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and won’t include fall or winter breaks.
There won’t be a December commencement ceremony, but graduates can join the spring ceremony.
Schlissel said they will encourage high-risk students and employees to learn or work remotely.
“Generally, large classes will be held remotely, small classes will be held in person, and medium-size classes will be a hybrid of the two,” Schlissel wrote. “This and other means can be used to diminish classroom density.”
Most students will have a choice to return to Ann Arbor and study in a hybrid model or study from home remotely, Schlissel said, but not all classes will be offered in every format.
Residence and dining halls will be open on its Ann Arbor campus, but dining halls will have reduced density, more boxed meals and staggered dining timelines.
UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint will have campus-specific plans.
The university said it will reserve some housing as quarantine units as needed.
“We will protect our students, faculty and staff with a broad array of research-based public health measures and tools,” Schlissel wrote.
“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 all of you to join in prudent health and safety actions that will embody our commitment to caring for one another.”
Classes will begin for the winter term on Jan. 19, 2021.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org.
Photo “University of Michigan” by Ken Lund CC2.0.