SMTD COVID-19 Information

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance has outlined School-specific plans for fall 2020 on this site, and information will be updated regularly as needed.


Dear SMTD Students,

As many of you know by now, this past Tuesday, Sept 8th, U-M Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) notified us that an SMTD student had tested positive for COVID-19, and had visited the Moore Building in the days preceding the test results. We followed the University’s notification protocol and distributed a message from EHS to faculty and staff. Only yesterday, after a number of you contacted us, did we learn that EHS notification protocol did not include a message to students, and that many of you heard about the positive case second-hand.

This is unfortunate, and not in-line with our commitment to transparent and open communication.

I reached out to EHS, and learned early this morning that the University is now posting notification of all positive cases here on the Campus Blueprint Community Notices Dashboard.

In the future, when we learn of any new positive case in an SMTD facility, we will immediately direct you to this new resource. Additional information about the EHS protocol for handling positive cases can be found on the Campus Maize and Blueprint in the “COVID-19 in the classroom” section.

As a reminder, if you think you might be positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who is positive, you should call University Health Service (UHS) at 734-764-8320. Health care professionals will provide instructions on whether or not quarantine and/or testing are necessary.

As you navigate the complexity of the current term, we want to remind you that there are SMTD and University resources available to you to support your well-being and academic progress. Should you at any time be asked to quarantine on campus, please know that privacy guidelines mean that SMTD faculty and administration will not be notified of your situation – in this case, please feel free to reach out at your discretion should you need support with your academic progress and well-being.

As a reminder, the following resources are available to all students:

If there is anything we can do to support you during this time, please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any member of my team.  Your health, safety, and well-being are our top priority.

David Gier, Dean
Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music

Mandatory Healthscreen

Every university community member, faculty, staff, and student that is present in-person on U-M property or in a U-M facility must complete a health assessment through the ResponsiBLUE tool before they enter the building or property, or upon exiting living quarters if they are living on campus.

Every university community member studying or working at home or remotely can also use ResponsiBLUE, if they choose. While it is not required of individuals who are remote, doing so will help make using the tool a healthy habit.

ResonsiBLUE must be used daily (results expire after 12 hours) in concert with the university’s other public health measures, including wearing face coverings whenever on campus, maintaining social distancing, practicing frequent handwashing, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick.

Approved visitors must use the guest version of ResponsiBlue whenever they come to campus.

2020-2021 Academic Information

For the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters, all undergraduate courses will use a modified version of traditional grading in which the regular A-C grading system is maintained but students who earn D or E grades will receive a “No Record Covid (NRC)” which will not affect the GPA. Students receiving a NRC will be able to request that it be converted to a letter grade if desired.

The SMTD has also instituted a more flexible withdrawal policy, allowing students to withdraw from a course at any time up until the end of classes and not have the course appear on their transcript. The “W” will appear on the unofficial transcript, but the University Registrar’s Office will expunge the “W” from the official transcript.

These temporary changes are made with the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating inequitable circumstances for students to pursue their coursework and demonstrate their learning, and many students are managing very challenging personal situations as they work toward earning their degree. 

For questions, please contact Deedee Ulintz, Tom Erickson, or Becky Olsen.

Building Access and Training

The state executive order currently states that work that can be done remotely, must be done remotely. We respect and will adhere to this law, but also understand that some activities needed for fall term can only be performed on campus. With this in mind, we are permitting faculty and staff to use their offices temporarily for mission-critical activities only, not simply as a matter of convenience.

Mission-critical activities include:

  • Preparing and delivering instruction that cannot be effectively accomplished remotely;
  • Participating in on-campus faculty, staff, and student meetings that cannot be effectively accomplished remotely;
  • Conducting mission-critical academic and administrative service activities that cannot be effectively accomplished remotely.

SMTD buildings will remain restricted and require MCard access, and employees coming to campus must complete a daily self attestation prior to entering campus buildings via ResponsiBLUE.

All faculty and staff coming to campus on or after August 24 must complete their COVID safety training in My Linc Non-Research and follow all protocols.

Access to SMTD’s buildings will be granted to students, maintaining existing protocols.


We will update this resource regularly as new questions arise.

Don’t see an answer to your question? Please send an email to

What should a student do if they test positive for COVID-19?
Students who test positive for or have symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted to enter SMTD facilities until medically cleared by a healthcare provider to resume in-person activities. If you test positive or have symptoms for COVID-19, you must isolate and notify University Health Services Hotline (734-764-8320) immediately.Additional information can be found on the Campus Maize and Blueprint website.What safety measures are taking place in SMTD facilities?
SMTD will follow all safety guidelines as outlined by university officials. These will include appropriation and distribution of PPE and sanitizing materials, clear signage throughout each facility, building occupancy de-densification, and more robust access control.Review all safety guidelines and procedures related to classes, rehearsals, performances, and common workplace activities in SMTD’s Safety Plan. Our safety plan has been approved by a team from the Provost’s Office that included representatives from Environmental Health and Safety, and the School of Public Health, and incorporates the most recent medical and scientific information regarding mitigation of spread of the coronavirus.Do SMTD facilities have proper HVAC systems?
U-M buildings meet the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and U-M Environment, Health & Safety for HVAC systems.What personal protection equipment will be provided?
A supply of disposable masks and gloves will be available for SMTD students, faculty, staff, and others enrolled in SMTD courses. Hand sanitizer stations are also positioned throughout SMTD buildings and disinfecting products (i.e. alcohol sprays and wipes) will be available in rooms that require frequent cleaning.SMTD continues to seek information on the implementation of additional safety equipment to ensure we are providing the most up-to-date items for promoting responsible public health practices.What is SMTD’s policy on wearing masks?
All U-M students, faculty, and staff must wear a mask while on university property at all times. An exception is granted for wind and brass players who are permitted to remove their masks while engaged in active playing. When they are not playing, wind and brass players must also wear a mask.SMTD fully supports U-M’s face covering policy as a fundamental tool of public health. Extra masks will be provided in SMTD buildings.U-M community members can address non-compliance with the U-M face covering policy in the following ways:

  • Directly with a kind reminder of the policy.
  • Denial of service.
  • For repeated non-compliance, notification to a local resource (i.e. housing hall director, Student Organization Advancement and Recognition, Dean of Students Office, chair/director/workplace supervisor).
  • Escalation beyond local resources to campus resources:
    Office of Student Conflict Resolution (Complaints involving students on Ann Arbor campus).
    Compliance Hotline.
  • In the event of an emergency or if you are feeling unsafe, contact the Division of Public Safety and Security by calling 9-1-1 (in an emergency) or 734-763-1131

Do students have to wear masks when rehearsing alone?
SMTD considers practice rooms shared spaces. For this reason, all students must wear a mask covering the mouth and nose at all times, per U-M’s face covering policy. An exception is granted for wind and brass players who are permitted to remove their mask while engaged in active playing. When they are not playing, wind and brass players must also wear a mask.

Will bell covers be available for music students?
The use of bell covers for brass players is required. SMTD will have a supply of bell covers available for students who need them.

Are students required to disinfect chairs and stands, and will cleaning supplies be provided?
Each participant in a class will be asked to disinfect the items that they will touch or have touched in their “personal zone,” such as a chair, table top or music stand, with a disinfectant wipe. Students will be asked to use a disinfectant wipe before and after class on common SMTD instruments which are left in the room, such as pianos and percussion instruments. Disinfectant will be provided by SMTD.

High touch, common areas such as door knobs, push plates, light switches, and dance barres will be disinfected daily by UM custodial staff.

Hand and furniture props should be disinfected before each class with a spray bottle by the instructor.

Disinfectant will be provided by SMTD in all spaces.

What is the procedure for releasing condensation from an instrument?
For any brass or wind players who may have condensation accumulated in their instruments during playing, receptacles or absorbent pads will be placed next to each player’s chair. Letting the condensation drop on the floor is prohibited. Players will remove their own receptacles or absorbent pads at the end of rehearsal and dispose in trash containers.

What are the safety guidelines around classes that involve movement and physical contact? 
No physical contact or close movement is permitted at any time. The minimum social distancing requirement is 6 feet apart in all U-M facilities. Greater distancing requirements for instruction involving movement are outlined below.

If a student needs to move from their spot as part of instruction, then each student will be placed in an inner square of 6 by 6 feet (also known as “the instruction area”). This instruction area shall be taped to the office or class room floor. Each square will be 12 feet from each other. This way, each individual will be allowed to move within a playing area of 36 sq. ft. and still be 12 feet away from other students moving within their squares.

For instruction involving activities with forceful expulsion of air—musical theatre, opera, theatre instruction, winds, brass, and choral—each instructor and student must be placed 12 feet apart. If there is an accompanist involved in these lessons, then the accompanist must be seated 12 feet away from both instructor and student. The use of bell covers for brass players is required.

For instruction in dance, there are two options that choreographers may choose from based on the needs for movement or barre work.

Option A

  • Each dancer will be placed 12 feet apart.
  • No contact of close dancing is permitted. Floor work is permitted.
  • An accompanist, who works seated, will be spaced 6 feet apart from anyone else who is seated.
  • Choreographers may move around the rehearsal space to direct movement but should maintain social distance of 6 feet. Touching is not permitted.

Option B

  • Each dancer will be placed in an inner square of 6 by 6 feet (also known as “the instruction area”). This instruction area will be taped to the rehearsal floor. Each square will be 12 feet from each other, allowing dancers to move within an area of 36 square feet while still maintaining 12 feet of distance from other dancers moving within their squares.
  • No contact or close dancing is permitted. Floor work is permitted
  • An accompanist, who works seated, will be spaced at least 6 feet apart from anyone else who is seated.
  • Choreographers may move around the rehearsal space to direct movement but should maintain social distancing of 6 feet. Touching is not permitted.

What are the safety guidelines for students using campus transportation?
For current updates related to transit, visit Logistics, Transportation & Parking.

What COVID-19 testing and tracing options will be available?
Students moving into U-M Housing (residence halls and apartments) are expected to be tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 – and cleared – prior to their arrival in Ann Arbor. U-M is partnering with Quest Diagnostics to provide testing kits directly to students to self-administer and then mail back to Quest for analysis. If you are planning to live in U-M Housing, you will receive an email with additional information and instructions on testing.

U-M is building a robust plan for evaluation of students with suspected symptoms of COVID-19, including testing when indicated, through University Health Services. U-M will continue timely testing for symptomatic faculty and staff. U-M’s Environment, Health and Safety department will continue to work closely with local public health officials to perform contact tracing for all infected students, faculty and staff as has occurred throughout the pandemic.

Students as well as our faculty and staff, will be expected to check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms each day by answering a small set of questions using the ResponsiBLUE daily symptom tracker app which offers advice on where to seek care if you are not well.

The Campus Maize and Blueprint website will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about testing and contact tracing. Please visit it frequently to learn more.

Who should parents reach out to for questions?
All questions about SMTD’s COVID-19 policies and guidelines can be directed to

Will students, staff and faculty be required to quarantine after travel?
SMTD will follow University guidelines related to travel. You can review the University’s policies for students traveling to campus on the Student Life website.

Currently, all international and domestic business travel by faculty and staff on behalf of the University of Michigan is suspended until further notice. You can review the latest information on the Global Michigan website.

Can courses be held off-campus?
No, all courses must be held within University buildings and on University property.

What are SMTD’s policies on common building spaces?
Masks covering the mouth and nose must be worn at all times in SMTD’s common spaces. Furniture in lobbies, lounges, break rooms, and conference rooms will be rearranged to facilitate proper distancing. Social distancing will be strictly enforced.

What are the guidelines for room use?
SMTD guidelines will be organized around room capacity and activity to ensure appropriate public health guidelines are met. Each discipline and its use of space will have specific guidelines. All spaces will have signage designating activity based capacity.

Can I reserve a practice room?
Practice rooms cannot be reserved in advance. These spaces are on a first come, first serve basis. Each practice room will have a usage schedule posted on the door that outlines the approved times for practice.

Please remember, an empty room does not mean it is an available room because “room rest” is needed in all spaces to allow for proper air circulation between activities. Rooms can only be used during the times posted.

How will practice room schedules, including room rest, be enforced?
SMTD will have dedicated, on-site COVID-19 building supervisors who will monitor spaces and help ensure compliance with all required health and safety guidelines.

Can groups reserve larger spaces to rehearse?
Yes. The larger SMTD spaces will be available for reservation through the SMTD’s online scheduling system.

Can students book halls for recording, and will recording equipment be available?
Yes. Larger halls and classrooms can be reserved via SMTD’s online scheduling system. Recording equipment can be checked out on the online scheduling system under the “Find An Item” tab.

What are the policies on the public use of SMTD spaces?
All SMTD facilities are restricted to SMTD students, faculty, staff, and others enrolled in SMTD courses. Members of the general public will not have free and regular access to SMTD facilities.

Will all SMTD students, faculty, and staff have access to all SMTD facilities?
All SMTD faculty, students, and staff will have access to SMTD facilities, but building occupancy numbers will be monitored to follow recommended levels.

Will facilities be available to students during scheduled breaks?
Yes, facilities will remain open for student use between November 20 and January 19, with the exception of university season days from December 25 through January 1.

If U-M goes fully remote, will SMTD facilities still be available for activities such as practicing?
In the event that U-M moves to remote instruction, SMTD will adhere to all University, state, and local guidelines in relation to building access and usage.

Will parking be different this year?
On July 1, parking permit enforcement was restored for all parking areas on North, Medical, Central and South campuses. Parkers are required to observe all parking control signs that indicate permits required and enforcement hours. Visit the Logistics, Planning & Parking website for more information.

What should I do if my MCard is expired?
As part of the University of Michigan’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the expiration date on MCards has been extended to January 5, 2021. This should allow employees with expired MCards and temporary MCards that have already expired—or will expire—in 2020 to continue to open doors with the contactless card readers in your work building(s). The expiration date is located on the front of your MCard, immediately above your name. What to do if your MCard expires between August 1, 2020 and January 4, 2021.

What is the academic calendar for 2020-21?
The academic calendar is available on U-M’s Maize and Blueprint website.

Is it possible for a student to have a fully remote semester?
Yes, students that wish to remain fully remote in the fall need to state this intention by contacting their academic advisor. This will ensure students can review courses and work out necessary accommodations prior to the beginning of classes.

To contact an academic advisor, email:

Deedee Ulintz (
Tom Erickson (
Becky Olsen (

What should a student do if they are participating in classes remotely and a course is only offered in-person?
Students should first contact the instructor of the in-person class to see if there’s a remote-only option for those who cannot, or choose not to return to campus for health and safety reasons. Students can also contact an academic advisor for suggestions on how to adjust scheduling or delay particular requirements but still remain on track.

To contact an academic advisor, email:

Deedee Ulintz (
Tom Erickson (
Becky Olsen (

What should I do if I have back-to-back classes in different formats? 
Many remote-only classes are offering a combination of synchronous and asynchronous teaching to allow for flexibility in scheduling for students with classes in different formats and for students who are working remotely from different time zones.

We recommend contacting your course instructors for classes that are being held back-to-back to check the format and to discuss what accommodations can be made for travel time or asynchronous learning.

SMTD has organized all of its common areas so students have access to “touchdown space” in between in-person activities. Furniture in these spaces have been reconfigured to allow students to maintain proper social distancing. U-M has also set up outdoor tents with tables, chairs, and internet access to provide students additional touchdown space, weather permitting.

How will SMTD support international students?
International students should continue to follow guidelines communicated by the U-M International Center and check their website frequently for specific travel procedures and Visa restrictions, as well as contact information.

To facilitate students who are fully remote, many courses will be offered with asynchronous options to support learning across time zones and geographic locations.

Will I lose my scholarship if I take a leave of absence?
SMTD will do everything we can to support our students. You may request a leave of absence for one or two terms. Current students should start a leave application with an SMTD advisor.

Deedee Ulintz (
Tom Erickson (
Becky Olsen (

Scholarship funds for each student come from a variety of sources. An approved SMTD leave of absence extends eligibility for SMTD scholarships. Non-SMTD scholarships will require a reinstatement when a student returns to campus. Eligibility for need-based awards from the Office of Financial Aid are reviewed annually, but a leave does not reduce eligibility. Students must apply by the annual deadline.

Incoming students who wish to request a deferral of their admission should contact the SMTD Admissions Office. Leaves and deferrals must be approved by the student’s department.

Incoming students who defer their admission by one term will receive their per-term scholarship upon enrollment. Incoming students who defer for a full year are required to re-audition for scholarship consideration. Continuing students may apply for up to a full-year leave without an impact on scholarship funding. Scholarship extensions will be reviewed automatically for all leave and deferral requests (see above).  For additional questions, contact Erin Burris.

Will faculty and staff have virtual office hours?
Yes, faculty and staff will hold virtual office hours. Faculty will include their meeting schedule in their individual course syllabi. Students should email faculty and/or staff to set up an appointment time.

Will academic advisors hold virtual meetings?
Yes, the advising staff will be available for individual remote advising sessions via phone and Zoom. 

Deedee Ulintz (
Tom Erickson (
Becky Olsen (

Will the music library be accessible?
At this time, the Music Library will be accessible to library staff only. Jason Imbesi, Librarian for Music, Theatre & Dance, is available for online consultations with students.

Beginning August 31, students will be able to reserve a study space or a computer in Shapiro Library from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Group study will not be permitted. Contactless pick-up of physical materials and appointment based consultations will also be available. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Access During COVID-19 webpage on the University of Michigan Library’s website.

What technology support will be provided to students for remote learning?
SMTD is developing a robust set of technology resourcesfor students, faculty, and staff.

Deedee Ulintz (
Tom Erickson (
Becky Olsen (

Will GSIs have access to offices, teaching spaces, and copiers?
Yes, GSIs will have access to the GSI office, teaching space, and office equipment.

In each location where there is shared office equipment, users will be responsible for wiping down equipment with a sanitizing wipe. Wipes will be provided by SMTD. Typical shared equipment includes copier/scanners, spigots of water coolers, staplers, paper cutters, three-hole punches, and refrigerator door handles.

How will the shortened academic calendar impact recitals, performances, and juries?
The performance and event calendar was redesigned to fit within the shortened academic calendar, and will be updated frequently.

What do I need to do to schedule a degree-required recital?
Students are able to book fall term degree-required recitals beginning Monday, August 3 at 8:30 a.m. All fall term recitals must be completed by Friday, November 20, 2020.

Please check with your studio instructor, collaborators, and any relevant ensemble schedules before selecting your recital date. Your studio instructor must know about and approve your recital date selection before your event is confirmed in SMTD’s booking system. Recitals that are pending for more than one week may be canceled.

What if I have health risks or otherwise can’t participate in ensembles during COVID-19?
Waivers of the large ensemble requirement for both degrees and scholarships are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Contact an academic advisor to begin a waiver application. We recommend discussing your request with your studio and conducting professors to see if accommodations can be made.

Will SMTD hold performances with audiences?
Currently,  Ann Arbor (which is part of Region 1) is in Phase 4 of the State of Michigan reopening plan and this prohibits theaters and performance halls from opening. In Phase 5, theaters and performance halls can reopen with audience capacities of 250 people or 25% of their available seating, whichever figure is smaller. While we are unable to open to audiences at this point, SMTD is proactively working on policies for audiences should Region 1 move to a phase in the state’s reopening plan that allows for less restrictions.

We are also considering livestream capabilities for the year should we remain in Phase 4 or have additional restrictions that impact audiences.

Contact Tracing and Quarantine FAQ

The University has released its protocol for students regarding contact tracing, testing and quarantine. It can be found in the FAQ section of the Maize and Blueprint website. The FAQ also provides specifics on what employees should do if they become ill with symptoms concerning for COVID-19 or test positive.

SMTD Safety Plan

SMTD’s approved COVID-19 safety plan outlines the School’s policies and guidelines around the unique classroom, rehearsal, and community protocols that have been put in place to fulfill the University’s mission of providing a public health-informed, in-person fall semester.

Our safety plan has been approved by a team from the Provost’s Office that included representatives from Environmental Health and Safety, and the School of Public Health, and incorporates the most recent medical and scientific information regarding mitigation of spread of the coronavirus.

For questions about SMTD’s safety plan, please contact Facilities Manager Benjamin Thauland.

On August 24, SMTD held a webinar for students and families that outlined the details of the School’s COVID-19 Safety Plan. If you were unable to join, we encourage you to watch the recording to learn more.

Wolverine Culture of Care

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) is committed to delivering the highest quality educational experience possible, consistent with the standards of the University of Michigan. SMTD is prioritizing the health and safety of all members of our community, with special consideration and thought toward vulnerable individuals, by following health and safety protocols and public health guidance designed to minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our community. The nature of an in-person educational experience means our faculty, staff, and students may be exposed to contagious viruses, including the coronavirus. Those students who have chosen to return to campus for the 2020-2021 Academic Year are required to comply with all U-M and SMTD policies, including any public health guidance related to COVID-19.

Central to the success of these efforts is the Wolverine Culture of Care, that lays out the collective responsibility shared by students, faculty, staff and Ann Arbor residents for the well-being of our community. This is supported by a COVID 19-related Addendum to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the following SMTD Student Commitment to the Wolverine Culture of Care that applies to all in-person student activities at SMTD:

  • Students are expected to comply with health and safety guidelines set by state or local authorities, the University of Michigan, and SMTD.
  • Health and safety guidelines extend to all aspects of SMTD facilities use, including rehearsal, practice, and performance spaces, classrooms, libraries, and bathrooms, or at SMTD affiliated or sponsored events.
  • Students are prohibited from creating a health or safety hazard (for example, not following mask wearing and social distancing policies) within SMTD facilities or in connection with SMTD activities, and students who fail 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 must 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 SMTD facilities until medically cleared by a healthcare provider to resume in-person activities.
  • Students will cooperate with and participate in any contact tracing process used by U-M or SMTD if requested.

Campus Maize & Blueprint

The University of Michigan is providing an innovative, in-person fall 2020 designed to meet the needs of our students and campus community. See all University COVID-19 policies and information on the Campus Maize and Blueprint site