Fall Term 2021 Plan

The University of Michigan will return to campus for the fall term with most classes taught in person, residence halls open at nearly 80 percent capacity, athletics events with fans in the stands and the campus community abuzz with activity.

This plan for the Ann Arbor campus is predicated on the presumption that all faculty, graduate student instructors and staff who wish to be vaccinated will have access to vaccine prior to the start of the fall semester and that a significant proportion of students will have been vaccinated as well.

If the levels of vaccination exceed these expectations, we will adjust as the semester progresses by further increasing in-person activities and relaxing public health measures.

View the President's Message » WATCH: Campus COVID-19 Briefing (3.12.2021) » Read the full Record article » Read the FAQs »

While there remain many details to be developed over the coming months in close collaboration with the university community, the foundational expectations, include:

Course Formats

  • Most classes across the Ann Arbor campus will be taught in person.
  • Most moderate to small classes, seminars and discussion sections will be taught in person, while most large (lecture) classes will continue to be offered remotely. There could be variations by school and college for pedagogical purposes.
  • At this time, face coverings are still required — regardless of vaccination status — in classrooms.

Campus Life

  • Residence halls and living-learning communities will be open to welcome and serve students.
  • Dining facilities on campus will offer in-person and carry-out meal options.
  • Most student-facing services, such as libraries, museums, study spaces, Recreational Sports facilities, intramural sports, counseling center and other programs will have expanded in-person opportunities, while continuing to maintain remote options. Students will be able to make reservations at campus gym facilities using the U‑M Recreation Sports app to allow for contactless check in.


  • Research opportunities will continue to expand so that students at all levels of study – graduate and undergraduate – have opportunities to engage in research activities.

Fall Activities

  • Fall welcome activities will be expanded and enhanced to assure all new students have the opportunity to engage with the campus community and learn about the expectations and traditions of being a U-M student.
  • Second-year students who missed most of the traditional rites of arrival last fall, will be intentionally included in fall welcome activities, campus traditions and other events that are being designed to make fall 2021 special for all students.
  • A safe and in-person Festifall experience is being planned, following public health guidelines. The Festifall application is open for registered student organizations to reserve a spot. The Center for Campus Involvement will communicate information on the date, time, location, cost, and other logistical details as they are finalized with the Welcome to Michigan program.


  • U-M Athletics will welcome fans into the stands to cheer on the Wolverines at the Big House, Crisler Center and other venues as allowed by public health measures at that time.


  • To keep our community safe, every student is strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest possible opportunity and COVID-19 testing will continue to be offered throughout the summer and into the fall if recommended by the latest public-health guidance. 
  • U-M students planning to live on campus this fall will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • All students, faculty and staff are being asked to self-report their vaccination information via Wolverine Access as soon as possible
  • Fully vaccinated individuals who self-report their vaccine information are no longer required to wear a mask or social distance indoors or outdoors for most areas on the U-M campuses.
  • Those who are not vaccinated or decline to submit vaccination information must continue wearing a face covering indoors and physically distance from others.
  • Unvaccinated students will be required to continue to complete weekly COVID-19 testing on campus in the fall through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program.

Return-to-campus plans

  • Campus employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic will return to campus in a gradual, phased approach over the summer, based on the nature of their jobs with some employees continuing to work remotely for some portion of their work weeks.
  • Employees will receive adequate notice regarding work plans and will learn more in the months ahead from their immediate supervisors.
  • ResponsiBLUE, the daily COVID-19 symptom check App, will continue to be required for all students, faculty and staff who need to access campus buildings. 
  • Face coverings will still be required for all U-M community members — regardless of vaccination status — in classrooms, on U-M transportation​ ​and in health care areas where patients may be present​.

Fall Term FAQs

MSS wearing a tie

“Based on the hopeful trends of decreasing COVID-19 cases and increased vaccine supply – along with the collective efforts and creative will of the University of Michigan community – I'm pleased to announce that for the fall semester on the Ann Arbor campus, we will teach most classes in person and have greater occupancy in our residence halls, in-person dining and student support services, along with some continuing precautions to maximize health and safety for our university community. This aligns with our goal of an innovative, responsible return to in-person education and a residential campus experience.”

President Mark Schlissel
Provost Susan M. Collins

“As a world-class academic institution, our planning for the fall is guided by our core principles, including teaching excellence. We serve our academic mission by offering students transformative and engaged learning experiences on and off campus, and by attending to their diverse educational needs. In this context, a residential education is core to who we are as an institution and central to our ability to serve our academic mission.

We are also guided by our shared commitments to research excellence, to community wellbeing, to diversity, equity and inclusion and to creating work environments that serve our mission and enable faculty and staff to thrive. Given current trajectories and working together, we can achieve the goal of an innovative, responsible return to a residential experience in the fall – with significant and increasing in-person engagement, and minimal health risk for our faculty, graduate student instructors, staff, students, and community.”

Provost Susan M. Collins
Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon

“I am so excited to announce that we will offer students an on-campus residential experience in the fall term, housing all new students and as many other students as possible. We also are focused on creating vibrancy and engagement especially during the first six weeks of the fall term to provide anchoring experiences normally associated with 'the Michigan Experience' for first-year students and others.”

Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon
Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani

“With declining case counts and increasing vaccinations, I'm very optimistic that the fall will look and feel more like a typical semester on campus. We'll all need to continue doing our part by remaining flexible and vigilant. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 whenever you become eligible.”

Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani