The College of Engineering’s weekly update aims to provide transparent and frequent information about how the College is operating, adapting and caring for its community. Updated information can always be found at the College’s COVID website. Questions and feedback can be submitted here.
This weekend, we heard from the University about cases of the COVID B.1.1.7 variant on campus. “While not unexpected, this means being even more vigilant with the public health measures that are known to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Preeti Malani, U-M’s chief health officer in The University Record.
On Jan 27, the Washtenaw County Health Department is recommending that all currently enrolled U-M students living on or near the Ann Arbor campus stay in place at their campus-area addresses starting today through Feb. 7. This is being done to help slow the spread of COVID-19 – including the more easily transmitted B.1.1.7. variant.
This recommendation, which has the full support of the university, is directed at all U-M undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled in the Winter 2021 term and currently residing on or off campus in Washtenaw County. Students are being asked to:
- Remain at their campus-area addresses
- Not gather with others outside of their household members.
Students are permitted to leave their residence only to participate in limited activities, including:
- In-person classes
- Work or research that cannot be completed remotely
- Obtaining food and medical care
More information can be found on this page of the Campus Maize and Blueprint website.
TESTING AND COMPLIANCE
If you are coming to campus at least once a week, please consider getting tested weekly through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program. Weekly testing is mandatory for undergrads on campus. Sign up for testing through two simple steps: register or update your information, and select a test time and date.
U-M Policy: With very limited exceptions, all faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose anywhere on campus – inside buildings, outdoors and on U-M transportation. If you see someone not wearing a mask, you have options for choosing to address the situation:
- Politely remind them to wear one
- If they don’t have one, offer to help them find one. Classrooms and offices should have spares.
- If they refuse, you may choose to leave the area and report the incident. NO ONE IS EXPECTED TO WORK OR LEARN IN AN UNSAFE SITUATION.
- If you’re not comfortable confronting noncompliance, please remove yourself from the situation and report the incident.
Non-compliance can be reported to your supervisor, an advisor or leader in your academic department or to the Office of Student Affairs. Employees and students who repeatedly do not wear a mask and have not been granted a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be subject to the University’s misconduct and disciplinary policy or the Office of Student Conflict Resolution.
EXTENDED TIME TO DEGREE SUPPORT FOR PHD STUDENTS
In light of continuing challenges, please be aware that emergency funding resources are available for Ph.D. students. These include extended full funding support for PhD students who are near graduation but have experienced critical graduation delays beyond the normal guaranteed funding period due to:
- the COVID-19 pandemic;
- disruptions related to racial injustice;
- or abrupt changes to federal policies over the past year.
If possible mechanisms for graduating on time (e.g., revised dissertation scope) or internal funding sources (e.g., GSI appointment) have been exhausted, advisors should contact their program’s graduate coordinator for more information on extended time-to-degree support as well as other emergency funding mechanisms.
CLASS WORKLOAD EXPECTATIONS
Please keep your class workload consistent with the number of credit hours offered for the course. The expectation is that for lecture courses, every credit hour corresponds to “one hour” of lecture, and approximately three hours of outside work, including homework, readings, etc.
- Synchronous lectures need to be 50 minutes in length so that students can have some time between lectures for bio-breaks, switching to other tasks/topics, reducing zoom fatigue, etc.
- Please don’t assume that because students can watch asynchronous lectures at double time you should give them lectures that are twice as long.
Here are some useful resources to help you think through credit hours for your course:
- Provost Office: Defining the Academic Credit Hour
- Center for Academic Innovation: Planning for Online Credit Hours
- Rice University: Workload calculator
NEW CHILD CARE RESOURCES FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
The university has introduced two new resources to help faculty and staff with child care needs.
- A university-paid membership to care.com for U-M faculty and staff. The membership grants unlimited access to a network of caregivers to find ongoing care for children, adults, seniors, pets and more. Employees would still be responsible for the cost of care utilized.
- A new family-to-family posting board for various family care needs from University Human Resources.
These new programs add to the existing resources available through the Work-Life Resource Center.
HELPING STUDENTS THROUGH EMERGENCY FUND
An emergency fund created by Michigan Engineering is helping students deal with issues caused by the arrival of COVID-19 – problems that run the gamut from unexpected travel costs to food insecurity. To date, the fund has taken in nearly $372,374 in gifts, and we’ve supported students in the amount of $267,814 so far – with more requests each day.