Thursday, April 15, 2021

MSU enters phase 2 of lifting distancing directives, plans for small graduation ceremonies

February 22, 2021
<p>Bella Demay (left) and Jenna Rizzi (right) studying in a McDonel study lounge, Tuesday, Jan. 19.</p>

Bella Demay (left) and Jenna Rizzi (right) studying in a McDonel study lounge, Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Michigan State University will enter the next phase of lifting the enhanced physical distancing directive, according to an email from Senior Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services and Auxiliary Enterprises Vennie Gore.

The next phase allows students to participate in approved two-person activities at the IM buildings, including table tennis, badminton and pickleball. Additionally, main lounges, bike rooms and the reflection room in Butterfield Hall reopened at 5 p.m. Friday, the email said.

Floor study lounges will remain closed and visitors are not permitted in residence hall rooms or on-campus apartments. Students are not permitted to gather in groups or dine together, though visiting friends in a lounge with masks and 6 feet of physical distancing is permitted, according to the email.

This comes following a decrease in positivity rates for the on-campus community. In the week of Feb. 8, results from the COVID-19 Early Detection Program show a positivity rate of 0.62% and 0.48% in the week of Feb. 15. 

MSU Clinical testing results show a decrease in weekly case numbers from 70 Feb. 1 to 28 the week of Feb. 8.

Off-campus students are encouraged to participate in the Early Detection Program, which is required for on-campus residents.

An email from MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. states the university is currently making every effort to plan smaller in-person graduation ceremonies for the spring semester. More information will be made available as the semester moves forward, the email states.

In another email, Provost Teresa Woodruff announced the dates for college-based graduation ceremonies, with all Baccalaureate Degree Ceremonies to be held between April 30 and May 2 except for the College of Veterinary Medicine, which will be held May 7 along with the college's advanced degree ceremony. More dates can be found on the commencement website soon, according to the email.

As vaccines continue to be distributed, Stanley said he sees this as a reason for the hope that there may be a return to a more normal teaching, learning and working experience. 

“For almost a year now, large gatherings on campus have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 safety precautions," Stanley said in the email. "I understand how attending graduation ceremonies with classmates in person is an important aspect of the student college experience."

Moving forward, MSU will continue in their partnership with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit through a 30-year agreement to foster innovative research and increase diversity among the next generation of health care professionals, the email states. This will improve access to health care for underserved communities in the MSU and East Lansing area.

Woodruff's email also reminded students that there is a satisfactory/not satisfactory grading option for this semester, allowing students to hide the numerical grades from their transcripts.

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