Michigan State University will lift its enhanced physical distancing directive in phases, according to an email sent Friday.
The directive came Jan. 30 following a rapid increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate since students returned to campus for the spring semester. It is set to last through 11:59 p.m. Feb. 13.
Between the weeks of Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, cases increased from 115 per week to 205 cases per week associated with the university. In the week of Feb. 1, this number has fallen down to 99. Though the numbers have begun to fall, the email states they have not yet reached a level deemed safe to fully lift the enhanced directive.
In the first phase of reopening, dining halls will open for in-person dining with one person per table, campus IM facilities will reopen for physically distanced exercise and the MSU Union and Student Services buildings will return to normal hours. Gatherings both on and off-campus are still strongly discouraged, the email states.
All public seating areas in the residence halls will remain closed, including floor lounges and laundry rooms and computer labs will remain open with enforced capacity limits, a note to on-campus students states. Students cannot have visitors in their residence hall room or on-campus apartments and may not gather in groups in lounges or dine together.
According to the email, it is the expectation that all students living on campus and within the East Lansing area will continue to use caution while engaging in daily activities outside their residence.
“We know how important it is to connect with others and engage in the Spartan experience. We want to provide as much of that as possible — but we also have a responsibility to keep you and the community safe,” Senior Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services, and Auxiliary Enterprises and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Services Vennie Gore said in the email.
Students are reminded to abide by the required MSU Community Compact, to continue completing the daily health screening form, and to participate in the COVID-19 early detection program required for on-campus students.
“If students begin to engage in unsafe behaviors, our positivity rates will spike again, and MSU will be compelled to enact another period of enhanced distancing," Gore said. "We do not want to do that, but we will if it helps us keep the campus community safe."
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