Details of UM-Dearborn's Fall 2021 Plan

May 21, 2021

As we have seen over the past few weeks, aspects of the COVID-19 recovery are changing almost daily.

Dear Colleagues,

The leadership team is closely monitoring and evaluating each CDC and state health and safety decision and guidance. Our fall plan may be adjusted accordingly as we move through the summer months. 

We have seen a steady improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout our region. COVID-19 vaccine supplies are plentiful, and anyone who wishes to be vaccinated can and should readily do so. You are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to protect yourself against COVID-19. There has been new guidance on mask-wearing for fully vaccinated individuals, all positive signs, which provide an optimistic outlook that the worst of the pandemic may be behind us. We are encouraged that our campus community will be able to return to the in-person activities that enhance the student experience and our daily interactions, with health and safety at the center of all of our plans. 

It is important to note that we all need to remain flexible as we return to a more in-person campus environment. Today’s communication regarding our fall 2021 planning efforts is based on what we know at this time. All teaching, learning and return-to-campus plans have been developed with contingency scenarios in mind should the campus need to pivot due to COVID-19 exigencies. Throughout the pandemic, the university leaders have guided all of our decisions on the key tenets of keeping our campus community safe and maintaining the excellent academic experience expected at UM-Dearborn. Mission First - People Always. 

The primary components of our fall plan are described below. As we move throughout the summer, we will share more details as they become available, will update our COVID-19 website accordingly and share updated Return to Campus guides. 

Return to on campus work

As a reminder, UM-Dearborn will follow its phased return to campus plan, faculty and staff have begun returning to campus based on individual needs and protocols with the expectation of a larger on campus presence of faculty and staff beginning in August. Specific instruction regarding return plans will come from supervisors. If you have questions regarding this plan please contact your supervisor or Human Resources. 

Health and safety guidelines

As activities return to campus, members of the campus community and visitors to campus will be expected to follow all provided health and safety measures. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic these guidelines can shift frequently, changes will be shared on an ongoing basis via the weekly COVID-19 communication and on the COVID-19 website

  • Members of the campus community should expect to continue the ResponsiBlue daily health screening and to follow a process for building entry. 
  • As was previously shared, effective September 1, 2021, those coming to campus for any reason will be required to provide one of the following: 
    • Documentation of a weekly negative PCR COVID-19 test (free PCR COVID-19 testing can be found by calling 888-535-6136, press 2 or Go to Free COVID-19 Testing Locations) or,
    • Documentation of being fully immunized with a vaccine that has received FDA Emergency Use Authorization (Pfizer-BioNTechModernaJohnson & Johnson's Janssen - for your convenience, each is linked to the respective CDC Vaccine Overview and Safety documentation.)
    • For international students, for the purpose of meeting this requirement, the university recognizes the vaccines that are authorized for use in the United States by the FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO).  Recognized vaccines currently include those made by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen, AstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Sinopharm.  The list of recognized vaccines may change; you can view the current WHO list on their website.     

We will continue to monitor the latest health and safety guidelines and share additional information regarding this policy in the coming weeks.  

Academic Information

Over the course of the last year, we have prioritized on-campus courses that are pedagogically best conducted in person such as natural science and engineering labs and engineering senior design courses. A critical part of the fall scheduling process was to identify and implement the course modalities that provide the best learning experience for our students. 

  • More than 60 percent of classes will be taught on campus or in a hybrid modality. Prior to the pandemic typically 20 percent of classes were taught online. During the pandemic additional classes were evaluated for online consideration, some have been moved to this modality, others continue to be evaluated. Specific attention has been made to provide in-person experiences for first and second year students to aid in student success. Fall registration begins in early June
  • Classes will begin on September 1, 2021, with a Thanksgiving recess the week of November 20, 2021, and classes concluding December 10, 2021. Final exams will be held December 13-17 with Commencement currently scheduled for December 18, 2021. View the entire academic calendar on the website
  • Opportunities for student participation in research, internships and co-ops will continue, with the return of academic teams and field experiences expected this fall. Please refer to the Internships, Co-ops & careers webpage for additional information.
  • There will be no study abroad trips this fall but questions about future opportunities can be directed to the Global Education Director Scott Riggs. Specific questions regarding guidance on health and safety requirements should be directed to Mitch Sollenberger

Campus life

A return of activities on campus  also means a return of some of the in-person programs and events that our campus community loves. We’ve learned a lot throughout the pandemic about how best to serve our diverse student population, and will use that learning to ensure that we are remaining flexible, providing various formats for engagement and prioritizing student success. 

  • The Student Affairs division will be planning activities to welcome students to campus at the start of the semester. 
  • Student services will be provided in both an on-campus and remote format to best accommodate student needs. 
  • Student programming and activities will be handled in a hybrid manner with both in-person and remote events planned to provide the flexibility that works for our campus community. 
  • The Office of Student Life is developing various plans to share with students regarding specific guidance involving in-person activities and events. Based on the latest health and safety guidelines, the appropriate plan will be shared with students closer to the start of the fall semester. 
  • UM-Dearborn athletic teams will return to conditioning, training and competition for their fall seasons. Vaccinations of all student-athletes, coaches, and staff will be required for participation. Information will be shared around July 1 regarding Intramural and Club Sports, and the reopening of the Wellness Center.   

Campus services

We expect that physical spaces across campus will be open and available for use by members of the campus community with health and safety protocols in place. 

  • Common and collaboration spaces will be available in buildings throughout campus, providing students with the opportunity to participate in online courses, from campus, if desired. 
  • The University Center, a hub for campus activity, will physically reopen with the Bookstore and Credit Union available. 
  • Food and vending services will be available on campus, with specific details regarding offerings provided later this summer. 
  • The student food pantry will also continue to be available. 
  • The university shuttle will be available, with specific details regarding shuttle routes provided by August 1. 
  • The Mardigian Library continues to ramp-up on campus activities and expects this to continue into the fall. 

Campus events

  • Internal events for members of the campus community (faculty, staff, students) can move forward, as long as they are scheduled in accordance with all current density, distancing and gathering guidelines. Please note that some common event spaces across campus may need to be used for classroom space this fall. Classroom activities will have priority over events, so event details may be adjusted as pandemic guidelines for the fall solidify.
  • Guest classroom lectures, which feature a person coming into a class for a scheduled presentation with students, can move forward with the expectation that additional people (other students, faculty, guests) will not be invited to attend the session in person. 
  • Guidance regarding events with external participants will be provided in June. If you are currently planning for such events, you should be planning for various scenarios and consult with your supervisor. Please don’t finalize plans for these types of events until official guidance is provided. At this time, events involving external guests are not allowed in person on campus. 

We again would like to thank you for all of your hard work throughout the year. The resilience, adaptability and perseverance you, and our students, have demonstrated is a true testament to the UM-Dearborn community. 

Be Safe - Go Blue - Go Dearborn!

Domenico Grasso 

Sue Alcock

Bryan Dadey 
Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs 

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