Starting at midnight Saturday, Jan. 30, Michigan State University is ordering a period of enhanced physical distancing. This will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Feb. 13.
This comes following a rapid increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate since students returned to campus for the spring semester, according to the email released by University Physician Dr. David Weismantel and Senior Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services Vennie Gore.
"The increase also is a result of a failure by some Spartans to adhere to our health and safety guidelines," the email said.
During the two-week period, students should not gather with others on or off campus.
Failure to comply may result in removal from housing without refund and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
Students are permitted to come to campus to pick up meals from dining halls, attend an in-person class or work, conduct research, provide a sample for the COVID-19 Early Detection Program, receive medical care, participate in distanced physical exercise for two people or fewer and to access secure internet.
MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen said students are permitted to leave their residence to get meals, whether it is pick up through the dining hall or at a restaurant.
"However, it is still strongly discouraged by our state and local health experts to dine in at bars and restaurants, and especially if they are going to those businesses, it is strongly encouraged that they do not gather together to do that," Olsen said. "So, grab your meal, pick it up and take it back to your residence hall."
Restaurants are set to reopen Feb. 1, according to state guidelines.
According to the email, dining halls will be open for takeout and mobile orders only, residence hall service centers will have shortened hours of operation, maintenance requests will be limited to emergency services only, all public seating areas in residence halls and all IM sports facilities will be closed. Laundry rooms and computer labs will remain open with enforced capacity limits.
"We must reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our Spartan community," the email said. "If we increase our distance now, we vastly increase the chances of being able to come together safely later this semester."
MSU issued a similar order in September after students returned to campus for the start of the year.
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