University of Michigan plans to have most classes in-person for fall semester, fans in stands

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Posted at 2:53 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 14:53:54-05

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — The University of Michigan said students will return to campus this fall with most classes taught in person and residence halls open.

According to the university, the plan for Ann Arbor is based on the presumption that all faculty members who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will have access to a vaccine before the state of the semester.

“Based on the hopeful trends of decreasing COVID-19 cases and increased vaccine supply — along with the collective efforts and creative will of the University of Michigan community — I’m pleased to announce that for the fall semester on the Ann Arbor campus, we will teach most classes in person and have greater occupancy in our residence halls, in-person dining and student support services, along with some continuing precautions to maximize health and safety for our university community,” President Mark Schlissel said.

The plans could change if the levels of vaccination exceed expectations, but in Michigan, all people 16 and up are expected to be eligible for the vaccine by April 5.

The university plans to have residence halls open at nearly 80% capacity and they also want to have fans in the stands at sporting events.

“A third highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine has been approved, President Biden has called for all adults to be eligible for vaccination by May 1, we’re seeing fewer cases on campus and across the nation, and forecasts for hospitalizations are decreasing,” Schlissel added. “Though a definitive vaccine timeline continues to evolve, we can expect that, by the end of the summer, the vast majority of our adult community will be vaccinated, and we will be moving quickly to a safer environment.”

The university went remote in March of last year, and while some classes have returned in-person, it hasn't been a normal experience.

The expectations for the fall semester include:

  • Campus employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic will return to campus in a gradual, phased approach over the summer, based on the nature of their jobs, with some employees continuing to work remotely for a portion of their work week. Employees will receive adequate notice regarding work plans and will learn more in the months ahead from their immediate supervisors.
  • Most moderate to small classes, seminars and discussion sections will be taught in person, while most large (lecture) classes will continue to be offered remotely. There could be variations by school and college for pedagogical purposes.
  • Residence halls and living-learning communities will be open to welcome and serve students.
  • Dining facilities on campus will offer in-person and carry-out meal options.
  • Most student-facing services, such as libraries, museums, study spaces, Recreational Sports facilities, counseling, wellness and other support services will have expanded in-person opportunities, while continuing to maintain remote options.
  • Research opportunities will continue to expand so that students at all levels of study — graduate and undergraduate — have opportunities to engage in research activities.
  • U-M Athletics will welcome fans into the stands to cheer on the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium, Crisler Center and other venues as allowed by public health measures at that time.

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