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Jared Evers, U-M tracer

Pandemic U

Partying students caught the university unprepared. Did they also infect the rest of the community?
In June, the U-M released its plan for a "public health-informed fall semester." It would be shorter, with no mid-semester break and on-campus instruction ending at Thanksgiving. Classrooms, laboratories, and work spaces would be reconfigured. But the "Ann Arbor campus will open its residence halls for housing and dining, and will offer many on-campus programs and activities that enhance the college experience," president Mark Schlissel wrote. "As the nation's top public research university, we have an opportunity to show the world that this can be done."

Schlissel, an immunologist, was frank that new infections would always be a risk until there was a vaccine or effective therapy. But he expressed "cautious optimism" that "basic public health strategies including social distancing, minimizing out-of-area travel, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, symptom
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Hands-On Museum executive director Mel Drumm

Giving in the Time of Covid

Local nonprofits have never needed more help-or been more needed.
Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
"In my twenty-five years working in the nonprofit world, I've never experienced anything nearing this magnitude," says Mel Drumm, executive director of the Hands-On Museum. "Right now, we're mothballed and wondering when and how we can keep going. I fluctuate between optimism and feeling crushed. I'm sure other nonprofits are on the brink of disaster."

"Saying that Covid-19 was a perfect storm for us is an understatement," admits Helen Starman, chief development officer for Food Gatherers.

Since the pandemic hit in March, local nonprofits have been in crisis mode, struggling to meet escalating needs with shrinking budgets. December is historically the month when they can count on supporters to give most generously. This year, however, many past donors are themselves out of work, on reduced hours or salaries, homeless, or confronting life-threatening illness.

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