Spring and summer term courses at the University of Michigan will be conducted remotely in alternative formats.

The decision aligns with the university’s efforts to encourage social distancing and “flatten the curve” in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools and colleges will prioritize offering programs and coursework that allow current students to keep working toward their degrees and not fall behind, Acting Provost Susan M. Collins said.

“Many students need the credits that would be offered to graduate or to stay on track or to meet accreditation requirements,” Collins said. “Going remote will enable many students to avoid having to return for a semester or full year to complete degrees, which would be expensive and potentially disruptive to their future plans.”

The spring and summer terms begin May 5 and July 1, respectively, with some programs offered across both semesters. Some yearlong programs also will begin during the spring or summer terms.

School and colleges will have the flexibility to cancel programs they determine cannot be delivered with high quality in a remote format.

Current information about the likely trajectory of COVID-19 make it impossible to plan, with any confidence, a return to in-person instruction spring, Collins said. The university shifted winter term courses from in-person to alternative remote formats earlier this month.

“Alternative instruction seems to be going well overall,” Collins said. “It may actually be a good delivery system for some types of classes typically offered during the summer.”

The recommendation for spring and summer terms reflects input from the deans of nearly all schools and colleges on the Ann Arbor campus, as well as from Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management.

“Students will have far fewer opportunities this summer due to canceled study-abroad programs, internships and other programs,” Ishop said. “This will allow us to offer them academic alternatives where possible.

“It also ensures that students who rely on their enrolled status to receive financial aid or international students who need to stay in the U.S. will have educational options.”

Collins said she understands that going remote creates certain hardships for both instructors and students, and appreciates all the academic community has done to adjust to the evolving situation.

“This is a challenging time for not only the university, but our entire world,” she said. “We understand the stress and the challenges this presents for our faculty, student body and staff. We will continue to move forward in our own way, drawing on our spirit of innovation and service, to ensure the University of Michigan continues to offer a world-class educational experience.”

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