News & Features

SMTD Policies on COVID-19

As of March 13, the University of Michigan made alterations to campus operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This document provides information about how these new measures will be implemented in the unique context of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. These policies and guidelines align with the policies provided by central U-M administration, and support the overarching goals of mitigating the progression of the coronavirus, while maintaining academic continuity for students whenever possible.

updated May 21, 2020

The SMTD Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund provides support to SMTD students to mitigate the financial impact associated with the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Learn more about the fund and how to apply.

  • Pursuant to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order to shelter-in-place, the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance will close all facilities beginning Tuesday, March 24 until further notice. 
  • The only exception for building access is for instructors who need to continue to utilize university and classroom resources to deliver remote instruction.
  • All faculty and student meetings must be held remotely.
  • Staff meetings must be held remotely.

The university’s mandate to move to remote instruction beginning Monday, March 16 will be applied without exception. This allows for every student to make an independent decision about whether or not to remain on campus, and still have equitable access to their courses. Some modes of instruction are not conducive to remote instruction. In those cases, we will be canceling courses.

General information about instruction

  • Instructors are responsible for contacting students about remote access.
  • Remote instruction will take place utilizing the same course schedule. For example, a class that previously met in-person on Mondays at 8 a.m. EST will now meet remotely on Mondays at 8 a.m EST.
  • At this time, classroom spaces will remain open for individual faculty use for lecture capture and video conferencing.
  • SMTD will provide faculty with information and resources for remote instruction techniques.
  • Faculty are not to provide in-person instruction at off-site locations as a work-around.

Information about course types

  • All classroom instruction will be delivered remotely.
  • All final exams will take place remotely in alternative formats.
  • Studio lessons and other one-on-one instruction (e.g. dissertation advising) will also be conducted remotely.
  • All classes that utilize a kinesthetic teaching model will be canceled or significantly modified through April 21. These include:
    • Dance technique courses
    • Musical theatre performance courses
    • Theatre movement courses
    • Voice movement courses
  • All chamber music instruction is canceled through April 21.
  • All ensemble instruction and rehearsals are canceled through April 21.
  • All rehearsals for musical theatre, theatre, opera and dance productions will be canceled through April 21.
  • For disciplines that experience a complete cancelation of instruction, final grades and evaluations should be based on each student’s academic progress to-date.
  • All non-University teaching held at SMTD will take place remotely or be suspended beginning Monday, March 16.

  • Graduate students should follow central administration’s guidance and directives, including the March 13 message from President Schlissel that stated, “Students who can do so are encouraged to move home as soon as possible.”
  • GSIs should work with their supervisors to fulfill their GSI duties remotely. If this is not possible, supervisors will work with their GSIs to arrange for alternative assignments or other options.
  • If the GSI elects to remain on campus, and fulfill GSI duties that can’t be accomplished remotely, they are urged to follow the SMTD COVID-19 guidelines and those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found here.
  • Questions or concerns about the implementation of this policy should be directed to Associate Dean Jason Corey.

  • Up-to-date policies and recommendations from University Housing on dormitory and dining policies can be found here.
  • SMTD student support services remain open with remote options, including academic advising, DEI, Wellness, and CAPS.
  • Students with questions about internships can contact the EXCEL Lab at
  • Work-study students may report to their work assignments if they choose. Student employees should contact their supervisor to provide their availability to work. If a student has no opportunity to work within their current appointment due to the University’s COVID-19 policies, SMTD can hire them in another area. They also can work outside of SMTD in another work-study appointment. If a student needs to be reassigned, their new supervisor should contact SMTD HR to request the new work-study appointment. The same process applies to all non-work study student employees.

  • All productions are canceled.
  • A separate ticket policy has been created for the cancelation of fully-staged productions due to COVID-19.
  • Musical Theatre, Theatre & Drama, and Dance showcases have been postponed, dates TBA.

  • Information on juries will be communicated by department chairs.
  • Information on doctoral oral preliminary exams and performance preliminary exams will be communicated by department chairs. For dissertation defenses and other Rackham degree requirements, SMTD will be following Rackham guidelines

  • All SMTD events and concerts will be canceled.
  • All Spring 2020 commencement activities have been canceled. This includes both the large campuswide ceremonies and SMTD graduation. We know that this is very disappointing to many, and we are looking at ways to celebrate Winter 2020 graduates in the future.
  • Maximum capacities will be reduced in all SMTD performance spaces. 
  • The Cady Room will be closed until April 21. 
  • The Watkins Lecture Hall will be closed for events until April 21. It can only be reserved for remote instruction needs such as video conferencing and lecture capture.

  • As of Tuesday, March 24, all degree recitals will be canceled, postponed, or presented in an alternative format with consultation and approval from a student’s department chair. No recitals may be performed in SMTD facilities until further notice.
  • SMTD has made new dates available for postponed degree recitals in May 2020 and September 2020. The recital slots will be available in the scheduling system for a designated two-week period through the usual recital scheduling process.
    • May recitals: Available now – April 6, 8 a.m.
    • September recitals: April 3, 8 a.m. – April 17, 8 a.m.
  • Prior to rescheduling a degree recital, students should confirm all plans with their studio instructor and any collaborators. They should also confirm any relevant deadlines for degree completion by contacting the appropriate advisor. At this time, Rackham’s degree deadlines have not changed.
  • Students should work through their individual instructors to determine how the degree-completion requirements will be met. All adaptations to degree-completion requirements must be approved by Department Chairs.

  • All international and domestic travel is suspended until April 21. Academic travel scheduled to take place after April 21 is being evaluated and information is forthcoming.
  • Student immersions and tours that have been canceled:
    • Poland Tour (Professor Patricia Hall) 
    • Theatre and Drama Showcase (Chicago and NYC Dates only at this point)
    • Jazz Ensemble at the Ark on April 9 and East Coast Tour on May 1 (Ellen Rowe)
    • South Africa National Arts Festival Flint Production
    • Spain program with Marcat Dance Company
    • Jamaica Seven Pillars Summer Academy (deferred)
    • Ireland workshop for the Music Education program (suspended)
    • Bulgaria Festival and exchange with Tzveta Kassabova
  • All other spring and summer activities are being evaluated and information is forthcoming. 

  • Undergraduate and Graduate summer orientation sessions will take place entirely online for the duration of the summer.
  • On-campus tours have been cancelled until further notice. Online prospective student information sessions are now being offered weekly, go to the visits page to see the schedule and register for a session.
  • All SMTD Admissions staff will be working remotely from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m beginning Monday, March 23.

  • Supervisors should arrange for remote work for all eligible staff through the end of the semester or until further notice from the University. Supervisors should consider the continuity of their operations when making decisions to grant the option to work remotely.
  • We understand that due to an individual’s work or department capacity, not all staff may have the ability to work remotely. It is recommended that supervisors work with their staff directly and provide accommodations as needed. This includes working with IT to ensure individuals have access to the equipment needed for a successful remote work option, flexible work options, as well as reduced operating hours. 
  • We encourage staff to work on “back burner projects” while remote. This would be a good opportunity to devote energy on major projects that have not had much attention due to frequent disruptions or competing priorities. Documenting timelines are a way to monitor those who have concerns about the workload for non-exempt employees. 
  • Regular, scheduled check-ins between staff and supervisors are encouraged while working remotely.
  • For those staff who take an annual seasonal leave of absence, your individual dates of leave will not be affected.  
  • Supervisors will need to ensure all temporary student and non-student employees are notified with updated schedules or notification their work is temporarily put on hold.  
  • The Central Human Resources website provides additional information for employees. 
  • A Q&A  for COVID-19 HR questions is being updated regularly.
  • SMTD Human Resources is available to assist supervisors with remote work options and flexible scheduling.