UM-Dearborn announces public health-informed fall semester


UM-Dearborn will take a hybrid approach to the fall 2020 semester with many classes held in a remote format, while also providing select in-person experiences on campus, a shift in the academic calendar and a continued focus on remote engagement opportunities for students.

The university’s plans are structured to reflect a commitment to promoting public health, outstanding teaching and an excellent learning environment.

“Throughout the duration of the global pandemic, UM-Dearborn faculty and staff have maintained a commitment to the university’s mission while keeping our community safe and healthy,” said UM-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso. “Our plans to reopen some campus operations have been developed in conjunction with public health and many other professionals.

“Although the challenges presented by COVID-19 will make the fall semester unique from previous ones, we will continue to provide a distinguished Michigan education to our students.”

The fall 2020 semester will blend remote and in-person teaching. Classes will be taught remotely only if an excellent quality education can be delivered in this format. Some classes will require scheduled times for students to gather, either virtually or in-person on campus. Identified classes, such as labs, senior design and other courses that require a high-level of student interaction or special equipment, will meet in-person on campus through Nov. 21.

Shifts to the academic calendar have been made to reduce travel to and from campus to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The semester will begin, as scheduled, on Sept. 1 and will continue through Nov. 21.

The university will have an extended Thanksgiving break Nov. 22-29. Students will not return to campus following the break as all courses and exams will be conducted remotely through the end of the semester.

The university is still evaluating options for the December commencement ceremony, currently scheduled for Dec. 19. Plans for the 2021 winter semester will be shared with the campus community by Oct. 1.

“UM-Dearborn faculty will incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion considerations into their course design to ensure accessibility and to mitigate any unequal impacts on students while planning for fall instruction,” said Susan Alcock, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“The student experience at UM-Dearborn this fall will be different, but what won’t be different is the myriad programs and activities designed to foster growth opportunities and build community. Faculty and staff are working hard identifying ways to deliver innovative and impactful learning experiences that meet the UM-Dearborn standard of excellence.”

Campus Life activities will continue with a remote-first approach. All student services will be available, with most interactions, programs and engagement handled virtually, when possible.

The Mardigian Library will be open Sept. 1 for lobby service for UM-Dearborn students, faculty and staff only. The library has a phased reopening of common areas planned following strict campus guidelines for safety.

The university has decided to not participate in NAIA fall 2020 athletic competitions, and The Wellness Center on campus will remain closed for the entire fall 2020 semester.

“Our region and state have made significant progress in helping to control the spread of COVID-19. UM-Dearborn is located in the center of our state’s hardest-hit area. For this reason, we are taking extra measures to provide a healthy and safe learning and teaching environment for our community,” Grasso said.

“We will also prioritize our obligation to the broader community to do all that we can to ensure that we don’t contribute to the community spread of COVID-19. Only by joining together and applying the best health practices can we accomplish this goal.”

The campus has developed health and safety protocols that will work to ensure the campus learning environment is safe. They include:

  • In-person teaching schedules.
  • Classroom and building reconfigurations to allow for social distancing.
  • Face coverings will be required inside buildings.
  • Frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer will be encouraged, and additional cleaning procedures will be implemented.

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