Office of the Provost



Important Information for Faculty Regarding Student COVID Testing

January 15, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

This semester, we remain committed to creating a culture of care and consideration for the health and safety of our entire campus community. The university is continuing to take a layered approach to public health mitigation measures that support everyone’s health and safety.

As you engage with students, I want to ensure you are informed and equipped to meaningfully lead and manage the learning environment amidst conditions related to COVID-19.

Here are key things you need to know:

  • A new student policy outlines the expectations for undergraduate students related to COVID-19 policies - daily symptom tracking through ResponsiBLUE, mandatory testing, and quarantine and isolation - to support the health of the campus community. This policy has been communicated to students and their families.
  • U-M Ann Arbor undergraduate students who live on campus, are registered for an in-person or hybrid class, or who come to campus for research, work or other activities (e.g., libraries, union, Rec. Sports, Dining) in campus buildings are required to complete weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing through U-M.
  • The ResponsiBLUE App now displays U-M Ann Arbor undergraduate students with their weekly COVID-19 testing status by noting a "COMPLETED" or "EXPIRED" status at the end of the symptom check process.
  • Undergraduate students are responsible for ensuring they have the required green symptom check and a green "Completed" COVID-19 test verification to be on campus.
  • The university is taking a multi-layered approach to public health mitigation measures as well as enforcement and accountibility.
  • The data collected through the ResponsiBLUE app is being monitored and could potentially be shared with: Student Life Compliance Team, the Office of the Dean of Students, Michigan Housing, Business and Finance.
  • If you choose to monitor your classroom and ask students to show a green screen before entering classes, be sure that you are doing so in a systematic manner with an approach that is equitable across all students. Research consistently shows that random selections are susceptible to unconscious bias by the actors and for the target of the actions to experience discrimination.

Please know that all students are responsible for understanding the COVID-19 related policies and their responsibilities this semester. Students have been instructed to complete their first COVID-19 test at U-M before they engage in campus activities but no later than Jan. 25. To ensure no disruptions during the first week of classes, students should not be turned away from campus but reminded to get tested the first week. Strict compliance will begin after the 25th.

Winter term COVID-19 testing capacity has increased significantly and regular asymptomatic testing is available to all eligible U-M Ann Arbor students, faculty, and staff - including Michigan Medicine - through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program.

To make things as easy as possible, large testing locations are available across campus in Palmer Commons, Pierpont Commons, Ross School of Business and the Intramural Sports Building. Walk up testing (without an appointment) is also reserved for undergraduate students living in housing who are required to be tested weekly, and will be available at three residence hall testing locations.

Students are expected to use ResponsiBLUE daily to track their symptoms and weekly COVID-19 testing status. Undergraduate students with two green checks are clear to be on campus. Students with one or two red Xs are expected to stay home or only come to campus to get their COVID-19 test. Graduate students, staff and faculty will not have testing status on their ResponsiBLUE since the university does not require testing for these groups.

To hold students accountable, enforcement and accountability measures will range from backend monitoring using ResponsiBLUE and student rosters, ResponsiBLUE screen checks at several building entry points around campus, to potential engagement at the local level (e.g., unit, department, workspace) and escalation beyond local resources to campus resources: Office of Student Conflict Resolution and the Compliance Hotline.

Details can be found on the Campus Maize and Blueprint and in the COVID-19 Playbook that, if necessary, can help you support students with new and updated resources, including this PDF on COVID-19 in the Classroom, throughout this challenging time.

Lastly, please consider including a statement in your syllabi that helps to clarify and cultivate a supportive community of teaching and learning. A sample is provided below.

Thank you for your continued leadership and support.


Susan M. Collins
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy
Professor of Economics


Sample syllabus statement

The University of Michigan has implemented reasonable health and safety protocols, taking into account recommendations by local, state and national public health authorities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a member of the campus community you are expected to abide by health and safety policies which were developed in accordance with public health guidelines. These standards apply to anyone who is physically present in campus buildings.