Fall 2021 plan

Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all U-M students, faculty, and staff, effective August 30, 2021.
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Our approach to the fall semester

We have planned a robust in-person student experience this coming academic year, with input from faculty, students, and staff. Our fall looks promising; in addition to much more in-person coursework, we’ll enjoy being together in person for more of the advising, community-building, activities, and speaker visits that we value. To deliver on our mission and our commitment to our students, many of our staff have returned for in-person work alongside ongoing successful work from home. 

The Ford School is a small, tight-knit community, dedicated to the public good. Our plans for next year will be rooted in our values: community, integrity, respect, and transparency; service to the public good; inclusion, diversity, and equity. The health and safety of our community remains a top priority as we prepare for the upcoming academic year and regular in-person work. We will continue to follow, and in many ways exceed, public health guidelines, and continue to be attentive to the differential consequences of this pandemic on our staff, students, and faculty.

We know that there will be some students who are unable to participate in person because of health reasons or travel restrictions. Faculty and advisors have worked to ensure that those students can complete their core required courses over the course of the academic year and stay on track with their academic progress. This includes offering some remote participation options for core courses (such as discussion sections) and finding remote substitutions. We will also offer a small number of fully remote electives for the fall term.

We’ve done similar work for faculty, GSIs, and staff teams—taking care of folks for whom this pandemic has had differential consequences and building on the many innovations we’ve developed over the last year and a half for delivering on our mission.

Campus Blueprint

U-M Campus Maize & Blueprint

Latest campus COVID-19 updates, vaccine and testing info, and more

Information about vaccines; prevention, testing, and care; a COVID-19 data dashboard; and more. The Campus Maize & Blueprint is the University of Michigan's guide to living, learning, and working together safely.
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Staff retreat 2018

Staffing and operations

We're here to help!

Most faculty and staff are returning to Weill Hall this fall, and we're still here to help. Check out our department pages: you'll meet our team members, learn about our roles, and find out how to connect.
Meet our teams
iPhone on a wooden table


Details for the Ford School community

Members of the Ford School community will find up-to-date details, guidelines, and answers to frequently asked questions on our Intranet (Kerberos log-in required).
Access our Intranet


Please email fordcovid19@umich.edu with any questions, concerns, or issues.

Weill Hall building access


  • Monday - Friday
    • 7:30 am - 6:00 pm: Doors unlocked, open access
    • 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Card access only, U-M community via MCard
    • After 7:30pm: Ford School community only via MCard
  • Saturday-Sunday: 24/7 Ford School community only via MCard

We ask that faculty, staff and students vacate the building by 12:00 midnight to facilitate cleaning and other health and safety measures. 

On-campus health and safety requirements

To enter Weill Hall, complete the daily ResponsiBLUE screening, and get your green check mark. If you do not get a green check mark, please do not enter the building.

Masks are currently required in all campus buildings and indoor spaces, and all faculty, staff, and students are required to be vaccinated effective August 30, 2021. Related policies:

Our approach

Students outdoors, socially distanced, masked, probably still smiling

We’re a small, tight-knit community, dedicated to the public good, and we will manage the academic year in a way that is aligned with our values: community, integrity, respect, service, inclusion, diversity, and equity. 

The year to come may be challenging due to the evolving health situation. Even so, we remain fully committed to our mission: excellent teaching, research, service, and policy engagement. Our world is in desperate need of smart, ethical, service-driven leaders, and that makes our work at the Ford School as essential as ever before.

Our goals for the academic year are:

  1. Health and safety
    The safety and wellbeing of our people in our community are paramount. We know that the pandemic has differential effects on members of our community. Each of us will be asked to do our best to ensure the health and safety of others.

  2. Courses
    The Ford School will deliver a first-rate policy education to our undergraduate and graduate students, in a safe, high-quality, flexible manner that is attuned to issues of equity.   Most Ford School courses are going to be held in person this fall, while some  will be hybrid or fully remote.  Several in-person core courses will include varying degrees of safe, in-person interaction, but will also be designed so that students can participate remotely if necessary for health reasons.

  3. Community
    The supportive, dynamic work that typically happens outside of the classroom at the Ford School will continue online and in person. Our supportive environment includes our best-in-class Writing Center, for example, along with academic advising, Graduate Career Services, peer advising, internships, our leadership initiative, alumni engagement, and more. We have a terrific lineup of speakers for our Policy Talks @ the Ford School series, as well; the talks will be delivered online for maximum access, but speaker engagements will usually include opportunities for behind-the-scenes student and faculty participation in addition to the public talks.

  4. Research and engagement
    Our research and policy engagement work will also continue apace, including opportunities for students to conduct research, develop mentoring connections with faculty and policy leaders, engage in vital work in our communities, and more.

    Annenberg Auditorium seats are marked to help students maintain social distancing in the classroom
  5. Our building
    Weill Hall will be open, with a stackable set of public health protocols designed to reduce risks of virus transmission. This includes the University’s vaccination and face covering mandate, use of self-screening, social distancing where required, hand sanitizer, and hand washing, HVAC settings, and other measures. The computer lab will be open, and printing will continue to be distributed throughout the building (Hudak computer classroom, Towsley Reading Room, at the base of the Great Staircase).

Our overall plan for the upcoming year is to make sure all of our activities—including all courses—are available and done well with robust and safe in-person experiences and interactions as the public health situation allows. Public health factors may require shifts in our plans along the way. We’ll be transparent about our decision-making, and remain focused on our community.


Fall 2021

Our community

Whether you’re a student, a professor, or a member of our staff team, you’ve chosen the Ford School in part because of our small, warm community.

We know that the past year has been strange, frightening, challenging, and exhausting for everyone. We are looking forward to a new academic year during which we will be able to work together—primarily in person—to tackle important social problems and public policy issues across the globe and to further strengthen the Ford School community and our commitment to the public good.
Socially distanced students in masks