U-M Winter Term changes include mandatory weekly COVID testing of on-campus undergrads

In this June 23, 2020 photo provided by UC Berkeley, a student provides saliva for an experimental COVID-19 coronavirus test for asymptomatic people. Scientists at the university are collecting samples from volunteers in hopes of finding asymptomatic people to stop them from unknowingly spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Irene Yi/UC Berkeley via AP) (Irene Yi, Irene Yi/UC Berkeley)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan has released updates to its plan for Winter Term using the latest public health guidance, community feedback and lessons school officials learned from the Fall Semester.

The revised plan includes increased COVID-19 testing capacity, including mandatory testing for all students prior moving into university residence halls and mandatory weekly testing for undergraduate students who live, study or work on campus.

The expanded testing plan includes weekly asymptomatic testing for the remaining students, faculty and staff on campus. For those quarantining off campus, testing will be expanded, and departure testing will still be required for undergraduates returning home, as was the case for the Thanksgiving holiday. While mandatory for undergraduates, departure testing is recommended for all other students.

The majority of classes -- nearly 90% -- will be offered remotely. Only courses which are determined essential by the instructor, such as at the medical school, will be conducted in person. Other fields where in-person education is required for academic progress will also be conducted in person.

In addition to a reduction of in-person classes, density in U-M residence halls will be reduced by more than half. This means less than 1,800 undergraduate students will be living in 10 residence halls; compared to more than 6,500 undergraduates living in 16 residents halls. Only those students who meet specific need-based criteria will be housed.

Graduate students will remain in residence halls as usual.

According to the announcement, U-M will be taking a “strict, no-tolerance approach to enforcing COVID-19-related policies.” This includes probation, denied Mcard access to facilities and the cancelation of housing contracts for those who do not comply.

The university has also taken several measures to expand its mental health services as students continue to navigate remote learning during an unprecedented academic year.

This includes:

  • The addition of two “well-bring breaks.”
  • Increasing staffing resources at its Counseling and Psychological Services to meet growing needs 24/7.
  • Offering additional virtual resources to promote well-being.
  • Keeping campus recreational sports facilities open.

To see the complete 2021 Winter Term plan, visit CampusBlueprint.umich.edu.