I hope you all have had or will soon have a chance to read today’s announcement regarding plans for the winter 2021 term. Of particular importance to you as Rackham students is information about additional access to weekly testing, the continuation of winter term instruction in ways that closely parallel the end of the fall term, and unchanged participation of graduate students in research and on-campus housing.
- The university will implement a mandatory weekly testing program for undergraduates who live on campus or who make use of campus facilities. Weekly asymptomatic testing will be available for all graduate and professional students, as well as for staff and faculty working or teaching on campus.
- The current approach to courses will continue, with more courses offered remotely, while still maintaining other formats when needed. No instructor will be required to teach in person if they would prefer not to.
- Graduate and professional students living on campus will be able to continue to reside in their current locations.
These steps are driven by a focus on campus safety, and they are informed by public health guidance, broad feedback gathered from the U-M community, and lessons learned from the fall term. As with the recent stay in place order, there are differences in the winter term plan for graduate students and undergraduates. The reason for this is that the university has not seen the same prevalence of COVID-19 within the graduate community that it has among undergraduates. That said, I appreciate the impact that will be felt by the undergraduate students whom you teach, mentor, and support. I offer my deep thanks to all of you who are helping undergraduates work toward their academic goals in your roles as instructors and research mentors. I equally appreciate the flexibility, resilience, and commonality of purpose that I have consistently observed within the entire Rackham community at this challenging time.
The recording of this week’s Campus COVID-19 Weekly Briefing with President Schlissel will be posted when the video is available. In addition to the information in the university announcement and the full winter 2021 campus plan, we will also continue to update Rackham’s COVID-19 Resource Page—which includes adjusted Rackham grading and other academic policies already in place for the 2020–2021 academic year—as appropriate.