Getting ready for you to come back to Michigan Engineering!

Dear Michigan Engineering students:

Summer is in full swing, and though the flowers are blooming the campus feels so quiet. The fountain is dry, Pierpont is dormant, and the buses are mostly empty. 

But we are thrilled to know that soon, that will all change. The hum of activity that comes with the return of our students will be in the air. The excitement of new classes to take on, new friends to make, and new challenges to tackle will all be returned as we welcome you back to campus in the Fall!

Of course, there will also be a different hum – one of caution and concern as we engage in an in-residence experience amid the weight of COVID-19. Faces will be covered, distance will be kept and group gatherings will be limited. This will be necessary to create a barrier between each of us and the virus, but we have every confidence that it will not create a barrier for your education and research.

As President Mark S. Schlissel and Dean Alec D. Gallimore announced last week, Michigan will have a public health-informed in-residence semester. It will consist of a mixture of in-person and remote classes, and will be designed to provide you with a transformative Michigan Engineering education, while promoting our commitment to public health. Classes that provide preeminent instruction will be held in a variety of ways to ensure this mix of hands-on and rigorous experiences you have come to expect at Michigan.

But classes will also be rooted in flexibility and inclusivity. Our faculty are working overtime this summer to design their classes in a way that ensures everyone – whether you return to campus or not – receives the high-quality instruction you expect from Michigan Engineering.

We are working with each and every department and program here in Engineering to fine tune their course schedule and ensure classrooms can maintain a balance of physical distancing and social experiences. That work will continue through the next several weeks, but we are endeavoring to have a revised schedule of classes available to you as soon as possible. 

Of course, our ability to provide those experiences will rely on each and every one of you. Many new protocols will be in place to keep our community safe, and we will need each person to join in sensible health and safety actions that will embody our values – and a commitment to caring for one another. 

The University’s Maize and Blueprint website provides comprehensive information about the implementation plan, guiding principles and current status here at Michigan. It will be updated regularly as more details are finalized. The College’s COVID website is also updated regularly to provide engineering-specific information. 

Below are some key highlights from the plan, but we will be in touch more than once over the summer to provide you with details as they emerge. 

We do want to remind you that major changes in conditions due to COVID-19 could mean a need to adjust parts of our plan. We will of course communicate those as soon as we have them, and will need to remain agile and ready to adapt as circumstances change.

As engineers and educators, we are confident in our ability to provide an innovative, in-person fall 2020 designed to meet your needs and advance our mission as a college. This year has been a huge challenge for all of us yet all through the summer, we’ve been driven by a desire to provide our unique Michigan Engineering educational experience for all of our students. 

Thank you for your continued patience and confidence as we work diligently to bring you back to campus for a safe and productive in-residence experience. Please enjoy the remainder of your summer break, and we’ll be in touch again soon.

Stay safe,

Jeanne, Joanna & Mary-Ann


Academic Calendar

As you may have seen, the academic calendar has been adjusted to reduce your back-and-forth travel, and allow for sufficient time between semesters for implementing any needed public health protocols before you return. 

  • Fall 2020
    • Fall classes begin Aug. 31, 2020 and meet continuously through Nov. 20, 2020.
    • There will be no fall break.
    • The last day of in-person classes is Nov. 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving. Students are strongly advised to travel home and remain there until the winter term begins.
    • Fall classes resume Nov. 30 – Dec. 8 as remote-only instruction with exams and final projects conducted remotely Dec 10-18.
  • Winter 2021
    • Winter semester will begin on Jan. 18 with a day celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Classes will begin on Jan. 19 and meet continuously through April 20.
    • There will be no spring break.
    • The later start to the semester is designed to provide students with additional time for rest and self-isolation (if needed before returning to campus), and faculty planning for winter instruction.
    • Final projects and exams will be April 22–29.

Your Classes

We are working with our faculty to identify which classes will be remote, in person, or a hybrid. We will provide an array of options for you. Some of you may choose or need to take all your classes remotely. 

We want to acknowledge that while we know a good deal about what the fall will look like, there is much we don’t yet know. We are working hard on all fronts, and ask for your patience as we do so. We will keep you as informed as possible in the coming weeks.

Here’s what we do know about your classes:

  • Engineering classes with enrollments over 50 people will likely meet remotely.
  • Whether courses meet in person or online, all of them will offer ways that students can connect with the material virtually and asynchronously. 
  • Design and laboratory courses will have substantial hands-on components. That may include meeting in-person, although some may be partly or entirely online.
  • Students will be required to wear appropriate PPE during class, including face coverings. Other PPE (safety glasses, face shields) may be required depending on the activity. 

We will share more details as soon as we have them so that you can confirm or adjust your class schedules. Please be assured that we will be able to provide you with a preeminent education and research experience in a safe and inclusive setting.


Here in Engineering, we have engaged in a successful research re-engagement that followed all necessary safety and health measures. This gives us great confidence in our ability to welcome students in the Fall in a safe environment. 

All U-M students will be expected to follow new protocols and commit to shared responsibility — including use of face coverings and limits on social gatherings — to support the health and safety of our campus and community. You will be provided a starter kit including face coverings and hand sanitizer.

Prevention & Care

Health and safety officials will continue extensive monitoring in real time and will continue as long as it is needed, allowing us to act promptly if conditions change. U-M is finalizing plans and protocols for testing for infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as building capacity for additional contact tracing. 

We must make a commitment to each other – throughout the whole semester – about the guidelines and practices that will protect our entire community. 

  • Students will be required to wear face coverings while inside classes or other settings. 
  • Physical distancing will be necessary to maintain in some settings, such as common spaces, dining areas and transportation.
  • It will be imperative for all of us to monitor any symptoms and stay home if we’re sick. For any who might become seriously ill, our world-class health system, Michigan Medicine, is steps away and stands at the ready. Our University Health Service (UHS) is committed to providing outstanding care to our students. 
  • Michigan Housing will set aside living spaces to quarantine and care for any of you who may have significant exposures to others diagnosed with COVID-19 while on campus, as well as isolate those diagnosed with this infection who cannot return home to recuperate. 

Student Expectations

As you return for the 2020-21 academic year, all students are required to comply with

all Michigan Engineering policies, including any public health guidance related to COVID-19. The very nature of an in-person educational experience means our faculty, staff and students, particularly those participating in field or laboratory work, will be exposed to contagious viruses, including the coronavirus. Michigan Engineering is committed to public health and similarly

expects that all students will act in a manner that demonstrates respect and consideration for the health and safety of all community members. This includes:

  • Students are expected to follow and comply with any public health guidance as it relates to the spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19, as well as any protocols, guidelines or policies adopted by the University or the College that relates to COVID-19.
  • Adherence to health and safety requirements applies to all Michigan Engineering students and extends to all aspects of the facilities, clinical labs, classrooms, bathrooms and other spaces within the College, or at College-affiliated or sponsored events/programs.
  • Students are prohibited from creating a health or safety hazard within the College or in connection with College activities, and failure to follow health and safety guidelines are subject to disciplinary and academic consequences, which may include removal from in-person activities.
  • Students who test positive or have symptoms for COVID-19 are expected to notify University Health Services Hotline (734-764-8320) immediately.
  • Students who test positive for or have symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted to enter the College until medically cleared to resume in-person activities.

Housing & Student Life

Many community-building and learning opportunities are being adapted to serve you best, including recreational sports, fitness classes, student group activities, performances and other socially enriching experiences across campus. Dining, residence halls and transportation will be available for students.

In regards to housing, some guidelines for all U-M students include:

  • If you plan on living in U-M housing, you should self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus.
  • If you live in a communal setting such as a residence hall, your room will be considered your “family unit”; in the case of an off-campus house/apartment, this will be considered your “family unit” where safety measures such as wearing face coverings and physical distancing can be relaxed.
  • Those of you planning to live in U-M Ann Arbor residence halls will receive more specific information from Michigan Housing in the weeks to come. Common questions and contact info can be found on the Michigan Housing F.A.Q

Campus Experience

  • Common areas such as the Dude and Pierpont will be open in the Fall, as well as some department common or study areas. Physical distancing and other protocols will be in place.
  • Physical distancing requirements will be necessary in some settings, such as classrooms, dining areas and transportation.

Our engineering student groups will be active and continue to provide many opportunities for you to get involved.

Joanna Mirecki Millunchick
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
University of Michigan
College of Engineering
(734) 647-7150


Jeanne Murabito
Executive Director
Office of Student Affairs
University of Michigan
College of Engineering


Mary-Ann Mycek, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Graduate & Professional Education
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
College of Engineering
University of Michigan
(734) 647-6851