Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. and Interim Provost Teresa Sullivan hosted a webinar Friday night, answering questions from returning MSU students concerning their return to campus this fall.
It began with a statement from Stanley about unrest in Minneapolis that expanded to cities nationwide.
The webinar, moderated by strategic communications professor Shawn Turner, reached over 500 simultaneous viewers.
Although many details of the return to campus are still being decided, Stanley said some aspects can be addressed now.
They spoke to the updated timeline for in-person instruction which has classes beginning on Sept. 2 and ending on Nov. 25 with the remaining three weeks being online, additionally forgoing the pilot fall break intended for that October.
Both Stanley and Sullivan said one of the most important values in the return will be safety.
"Our original work of course was based on guidance from health professionals, feedback from faculty, staff and students as well as MSU leadership and recommendations from the task force we created," Stanley said. "They identified a series of things we need to do to return to campus in the most responsible way possible."
Social distancing measures are going to be implemented to all aspects of campus.
Students are going to be asked to properly clean their rooms and hand washing will be heavily campaigned on campus. He said students should be educated on the practices and are responsible for socially distancing themselves and wearing masks.
Study lounges will have reduced seating and dining halls will reduce occupancy 50%, with grab-and-go options where students can order food ahead of time.
Cash options are eliminated and only meal plans, Spartan Cash or debit and credit cards will be accepted.
The move-in and move-out processes are also being adjusted. Details are unclear.
Sullivan said although the specifics on each course are not exact yet, and the university is looking into classroom size.
Smaller classes will need to take place in larger rooms so that students and instructors can remain six feet apart from each other. These classes could also meet remotely sometimes in the week.
Larger classes will have more online components.
For students who feel unsafe returning to campus, or international students unable to return but wishing to continue their MSU education, Sullivan said there will be enough courses online for those students to continue making progress toward their degree.
Addressing the cost of the online instruction, Stanley said online courses do not cost any less and sometimes can cost more.
Some MSU professors are taking courses to help them enhance online instruction.
To the students who are facing financial struggles at this time, Sullivan suggested filling or updating their FAFSA as their financial aid package can be updated. Additionally there will be 17,000 jobs on campus available for students in the fall.
"Be patient," Stanley said. "There's some things we're still working out but know that safety is the top of mind as we're doing all of these things, and we're thinking of ways that we can continue to deliver quality education and be responsible in the way we do it. I appreciate everybody's cooperation, and I look forward hopefully to seeing people on campus in the fall. I'll be wearing a mask, by the way."
The full video can be viewed here.
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