Michigan State University plans to shift the spring 2021 semester to being on Jan. 19 instead of Jan. 11 in compliance with state government orders about the start of in-person instruction.
"We understand the health and safety reasons for the state's request that we – and other Michigan colleges and universities – adjust our spring semester plans," MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen said in a statement on the university's website. "We are working with state and local health leaders to comply with that request."
The state announced on Dec. 18 that universities and colleges can resume in-person instruction and expected schools not to start classes until Jan. 18.
The university is working to transition the semester start date; however, it is unclear if the pushback will only apply for the classes being held in person, or those entirely online as well.
MSU will be offering around 400 undergraduate in-person courses this spring, compared to the roughly 40 held in the fall. The university will also be welcoming an additional 2,500 students to their dorms.
The semester will begin Jan. 11 with a “Reading, Reviewing and Reflection” period for any online or in-person class instruction, according to an email from President Samuel L. Stanley.
Faculty will provide students with syllabi and course schedules to allow students to prepare for the semester and will also ensure financial aid will not be impacted or delayed for those who need it.
"This is a unique approach, and we hope the extra time helps students best prepare for the upcoming semester with additional planning and reading," Stanley said in the email.
Classes intended to be held in-person this spring will begin online and transition to in-person Jan. 25.
Students do not need to be on or near campus for the prep week. Students living in residence halls will start moving in Jan. 15, with exception of international students, those who are living in the residence halls throughout the winter break and other special situations.
Stanley encourages off-campus students to remain where they are during the winter break and refrain from returning to the East Lansing area for as long as possible.
"With classes starting later in January, undergraduate students do not need to be in the area until closer to the middle of the month," Stanley wrote. "It is still our expectation that you will quarantine when arriving for an appropriate amount of time, monitor your health symptoms daily, wear face coverings, wash your hands often and adhere to appropriate physical distancing."
Otherwise, the spring 2021 semester schedule remains, with wellness days on March 2-3 and April 22-23 where there will be no classes to provide students with a break from their studies.
Graduate and professional programs continue to have different academic calendars and will hear from their deans about start dates and class schedules.
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