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Resources for Graduate Students in Response to COVID-19

Below, you can find resources and information of specific interest to graduate students during the evolving situation with COVID-19. This page will be updated promptly as new information becomes available, so please check back frequently.

Updated Face Covering and Distancing Policy

As of June 21, fully vaccinated individuals who self-report their vaccine information to the University of Michigan will no longer be required to wear a mask or social distance for most areas on U-M campuses under the university’s updated policy.

Those who are not vaccinated or decline to submit vaccination information must continue wearing a face covering indoors and physically distance from others.

The policy change applies to students, faculty, staff and guests on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

At this time, U-M will continue to require face coverings regardless of vaccination status in classrooms, on campus transportation, and in health care areas where patients may be present. As the university better assesses vaccination rates among the U-M community, it may modify its approach for classrooms.

Helpful Resources

Last updated at 4:30 p.m. on 6/18/21

COVID-19 Weekly Testing Requirement for Graduate and Professional Students on Campus

Weekly COVID-19 testing through the university is required for Ann Arbor undergraduate, graduate and professional students identified as the following:

  • Students who live in on-campus residence halls*
  • Students who are registered for an in-person/hybrid class**
  • Students who access on-campus facilities and buildings, including for work or research.

*Excluding on-campus apartment-style communities that include private outdoor entrances (Northwood Community Apartments).
**Excluding students whose only enrollment is in a dissertation course (990/995) or independent study.

Helpful Resources

Testing Locations and Hours

Intramural Sports Building

  • Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Sundays: 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

LSA Atrium, Multipurpose room 1040

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Michigan Ross (Room 0600 located in the lower level of the Executive Learning and Conference Center)

  • Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

North Campus Recreation Building

  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Palmer Commons, Great Lakes Room

  • Monday-Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pierpont Commons, East Room (1st floor Mezzanine behind Fireside cafe)

  • Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education

  • Tuesday: 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Weiser Hall (Room 110/120)

  • Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For Residence Hall Residents

  • Bursley Blue Apple Lounge: Monday, 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  • Northwood Community Center (Northwood residents only, walk-ins only): Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Last updated at 12:30 p.m. on 6/18/21

Vaccine Information

Michigan residents age 12 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. U-M strongly encourages vaccination for all U-M students, staff, faculty, and eligible family members. U-M students planning to live on campus this fall will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and free, and medical insurance is not required.

Helpful Resources

Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on 6/18/21

Emergency Financial Resources

Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Funds

Recognizing that many Rackham students may face COVID-19–related financial challenges that would normally fall outside the scope of the Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Fund program, we have expanded the eligibility criteria. View information on the expanded criteria and details on how to apply.

Child Care Subsidy

Licensed child care expenses of students are currently supported through the campus Child Care Subsidy, administered by the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) with eligibility and subsidy amounts described on their website. The subsidy can be received by qualifying students for eligible expenses paid to licensed child care providers. During the period of the pandemic, the requirement for licensed care has also been extended to include providers licensed outside the state of Michigan. Additionally, during the spring/summer 2021 term, students incurring expenses for 10 weeks of care or more are eligible to receive the licensed Child Care Subsidy through OFA. 

Because of needs generated by the disruption of the pandemic, and to support Rackham students who are parents as they pursue research, scholarship, and education this spring and summer, Rackham Graduate School will expand eligibility for Rackham Emergency Fund support during the spring/summer 2021 term to include child care expenses incurred through unlicensed care, with an age limit for dependent children without special needs extended to age 15. (Consistent with current OFA eligibility for licensed care, the expanded eligibility also covers unlicensed care for children with special needs who are under the age of 19.) Full details of the policy are available on the Rackham Emergency Fund page.

Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on 4/30/21

Student Well-Being

  • Resources to support student well-being will continue to be available. Graduate students can request an appointment with Laura Monschau, Rackham’s Embedded Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor. In addition, CAPS is maintaining avenues for support during regular business hours, with after hours urgent support available by calling 734.764.8312 (press 0) at night and on weekends.
  • The University Health Service is open during usual business hours, providing health care in new ways to meet student needs.
  • Rackham’s Resolution Office will continue to respond to student academic concerns and conflicts. Students should use the “Request a Meeting” button on the website. All consultations will take place remotely, either by phone or via video conference.
  • Ph.D. students may request a leave of absence when certain life events prevent continued active participation in their degree program. The leave of absence enables a student to officially suspend work toward their degree for a limited time. Students needing to suspend their studies due to COVID-19 related reasons are encouraged to contact rackham.loa@umich.edu for help navigating the leave of absence policy.
  • Rackham’s Graduate Student Mental Health Task Force has created a resource to summarize the major stressors students are facing, and to provide guidance on principles, approaches, and strategies that mentors and graduate programs can use as they support students during these extremely stressful times. The full year one report of the task force, along with a letter from Rackham Dean Mike Solomon accepting the task force’s 10 recommendations, is now available.

Last updated at 4:15 p.m. on 9/18/20

Research and Scholarship

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every facet of U-M’s research enterprise. These changes in the availability of resources for research and scholarship have caused significant stress and uncertainty. Research leadership from across the University of Michigan campuses have worked together to safely reengage research and scholarship, in accordance with state regulations.

The University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR) has developed guidance to assist faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students during this time of research reengagement. This guidance indicates that GSRAs will continue to be paid during pauses in noncritical laboratory research activities and pauses in human subject research, as well as during research ramp-up periods. Note: Given the decrease in virus transmission rates throughout the university community, effective April 1, laboratories and research spaces across the three campuses may begin to operate at a density capacity that safely allows for at least 6 feet of social distancing between personnel. There no longer will be density requirements or mandates to maintain 144 square feet per person. More information is available from the University Record.

Faculty who have master’s and doctoral students working in the lab or elsewhere for academic credit—including independent study and dissertation credit—must work with each of their students to develop a plan for continued research progress appropriate to the degree or credit pursued. It is important to recognize that these new plans will necessarily look quite different than prior expectations due to the circumstances of the moment. In most cases, flexibility will be needed because research activities, methods, and outputs will be substantively altered and attenuated.

Last updated at 2:30 p.m. on 3/26/21

Adjusted 2021 Winter and Spring-Summer Term Academic Deadlines

In light of continuing pressures on students and faculty resulting from COVID-19, and with the endorsement by the Rackham Executive Board, certain academic deadlines have been adjusted. The deadlines for the 2021 winter and spring-summer 2021 terms are as follows:

For doctoral students:

  • The grace period for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all requirements under the 2021 winter registration is extended to Tuesday, August 17, the last day of classes in the spring-summer term.
    International doctoral students who plan to complete degree requirements after June 29 during the extended 2021 winter term grace period must first consult with the International Center to discuss options to enable them to do so.
  • The deadline for completing candidacy exams under the 2021 winter registration is extended to Wednesday, September 1.
  • The in-term deadline for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all final requirements under the 2021 spring-summer registration is extended to Tuesday, August 17.
  • The grace period for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation and completing all requirements under the 2021 spring-summer registration is extended to Monday, September 20.

For master’s and certificate students:

  • The deadline for applying for graduation at 2021 Spring Commencement and having the name appear in the graduation program is Monday, March 8.
  • The deadline for applying for graduation at 2021 Spring Commencement is Tuesday, April 20, the last day of classes.
  • The deadline for converting 2021 winter term grades of NRC to letter grades is Friday, May 14.
  • The deadline for submission of all 2021 winter term final required work for conferral of the master’s degree or certificate is extended to Friday, May 14.

Last updated at 3:15 p.m. on 2/19/21

Adjusted Rackham Grading and Other Academic Policies for 2020–21

To address the challenges that COVID-19 has generated for the Rackham community, and as an exception to regular grading policy, the Rackham Executive Board has approved an adjusted grading policy for the 2020–21 academic year. In brief, the policy provides for letter grades to be used for grades of A+ to B-, and No Record COVID-19 (NRC) for grades of C+ and lower. Grades of C+, C, and C- may be converted from NRC to letter grades at the request of the student. Additionally, students will now have the one-time option to change any or all of their letter grades of A+ through B- to S (Satisfactory). The full text of the adjusted grading policy for the 2020-21 academic year is available within Rackham’s academic policy. Details will also be available through the Office of the Registrar. Additional adjustments to policies for 2020–21 include the following:

Extended Time to Degree

Moreover, Rackham is implementing a process in which each doctoral program will create and report to Rackham a policy or procedure through which students may receive an additional term or terms of stipend, tuition, and benefits if their degree progress has been disrupted in the last six months and once the funding promised in their offer letter has been exhausted. The decision to extend funding will be a collaborative decision of the faculty mentor, the doctoral student, and the Rackham program. Rackham will update its Academic Dispute Resolution Policy to resolve cases in which faculty, student, and program do not agree on the need for extended funding.

Last updated at 11:00 a.m. on 11/13/20

Modes of Instruction

  • As part of its plans for the winter 2021 term, the university announced an approach to instruction that includes more remote classes, with in-person classes limited to those most effectively taught through this format or required for licensure. Instructors will be able to use the format they believe is most appropriate. There will be fewer hybrid classes that are partially online and partially in person, based on feedback from instructors about the difficulty of teaching them. No instructor will be required to teach in person if they would prefer not to.
  • For GSIs seeking assistance in order to provide instruction remotely, these resources include those available through the U-M Center for Research on Learning and Teaching and the U-M Center for Academic Innovation’s Online Teaching site.

Last updated at 3:05 p.m. on 11/6/20

Student Housing

M Housing is requiring the COVID-19 vaccination of all students residing in M Housing this fall. We look forward to sharing more details soon about residence life in the halls. In the meantime, we encourage all residents to report their vaccination information before the July 16 deadline, to remain eligible to live in Michigan Housing.

Michigan Housing’s vaccination requirement is the most important and effective step to bring back the in-person community of residence life. Our goal is to provide a living environment this fall as close as possible to the dynamic social interactions that generations of Michigan Housing residents have experienced. We appreciate your support with helping us to achieve this goal.

For questions and concerns regarding off-campus leases/housing, contact Beyond the Diag at beyondthediag@umich.edu.

Further information regarding student housing is available at the University Housing FAQ.

Last updated at 3:15 p.m. on 6/18/20

Student Parents

  • Licensed child care expenses of students are currently supported through the campus Child Care Subsidy, administered by the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) with eligibility and subsidy amounts described on their website. The subsidy can be received by qualifying students for eligible expenses paid to licensed child care providers. During the period of the pandemic, the requirement for licensed care has also been extended to include providers licensed outside the state of Michigan. Additionally, during the spring/summer 2021 term, students incurring expenses for 10 weeks of care or more are eligible to receive the licensed Child Care Subsidy through OFA. 

    Because of needs generated by the disruption of the pandemic, and to support Rackham students who are parents as they pursue research, scholarship, and education this spring and summer, Rackham Graduate School will expand eligibility for Rackham Emergency Fund support during the spring/summer 2021 term to include child care expenses incurred through unlicensed care, with an age limit for dependent children without special needs extended to age 15. (Consistent with current OFA eligibility for licensed care, the expanded eligibility also covers unlicensed care for children with special needs who are under the age of 19.) Full details of the policy are available on the Rackham Emergency Fund page.

  • Doctoral students needing to suspend their studies due to COVID-19 related reasons are encouraged to contact loa@umich.edu for help navigating the leave of absence policy. Students with child-care/caregiver responsibilities can apply for a leave of absence for family necessity/dependent care for a single term and up to two consecutive years before needing to register. Students are not registered when on a leave of absence, so there is no tuition assessment, which is typically tied to GradCare funding. Students may continue GradCare like coverage during a leave of absence; students are encouraged to contact rackham.loa@umich.eduto discuss support in covering GradCare fees during an approved leave of absence period.
  • The Rackham Grad Parents Facebook Group serves as a forum for students to share resources with colleagues, build community, and receive updates from Rackham.
  • For additional information about the above resources and/or any student parent concerns, please contact Ida Faye Webster.

Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on 4/30/21

Dissertation Defenses

In line with the university’s goals to fulfill its educational mission while protecting health and safety by minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the community and broader society, dissertation defenses may be held wholly online. Defenses that are held in person should be conducted in conformity with the University of Michigan’s health protocols and policies regarding limits to the number of in-person participants, social distancing, and other measures to safeguard health. Please visit the Completing the Doctoral Degree Requirements page for further details.

Last updated at 11:00 a.m. on 9/2/20

Issues Affecting International Students

Last updated at 10:15 p.m. on 8/27/20

Rackham Programming

Rackham Student-Initiated Grant Programs

All Rackham student-initiated grant programs (e.g., Rackham Graduate Student Research Grants, Rackham Conference Travel Grants, etc.) remain open and are accepting applications. However, the ability to use funding, if awarded, is contingent on current and future restrictions imposed by U-M, countries and/or institutions being visited, and the federal government.

Academic and Professional Development Programming

Rackham is currently offering a range of remote learning options for Rackham academic and professional development programming. Updates are reflected on the Rackham events calendar. In addition, through the university, students have access to premium content from Versatile PhD, a supportive, web-based community that provides resources and information on non-academic careers for Ph.D.s, candidates, and master’s degree holders.

Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs)

When deciding to hold, move, or cancel Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs) events, RIW coordinators should connect with their faculty mentor and department administrator, and follow meeting policies developed for their department and the scheduled meeting location. Rackham will waive the requirement of having a culminating event this year. Unused RIW funds cannot be carried over to next year. However, it will be possible to repurpose assigned funding to another use with advance approval from Rackham.

Last updated at 3:35 p.m. on 1/14/21

The Rackham Building

Rackham Study Spaces

Rackham study spaces are open for reservations! The Rackham Graduate School has converted some of its spaces into socially distanced study spaces consisting of one table and one chair. Students may reserve a study space using the Study Spaces Reservation System up to 48 hours in advance of when they want to study in the Rackham Building.

How Can We Help?

In order to support the University of Michigan’s ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the majority of Rackham staff are working remotely. If you need assistance, please contact one of the following offices:

Conflict Resolution and International Student Support
734.936.1647
RackhamDeansInfo@umich.edu
Associate Deans Support and Scheduling
734.764.4405 or 734.763.0172
RackhamDeansInfo@umich.edu
Dean Solomon’s Support
734.764.4401
RackhamDeansInfo@umich.edu
Development and Alumni Relations
734.764.1125
rackham.alums@umich.edu
Student Services (Professional Development Recruitment, Engagement, and Partnerships)
734.647.7548
rack-prof-dev@umich.edu
rack-stu-engagement@umich.edu
Admissions
734.764.8129
rackadmis@umich.edu
Academic Records and Dissertations
734.763.0171
oard.staff@umich.edu
Financial Aid and Fellowships
734.615.3680
RackhamFF@umich.edu

Last updated at 3:35 p.m. on 9/11/20

COVID-19 News and Updates