Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all students, faculty and staff returning to campus this fall in an impromptu press conference Friday afternoon.
Stanley, however, did not commit to a mask or vaccine mandate for fans attending sporting events on campus in the fall and said they would wait for more information to come in before making a change to the policy in place currently.
Michigan State said in May that they planned on allowing a full capacity crowd for outdoor sporting events after the State of Michigan lifted restrictions on outdoor gatherings. Stanley said today that those plans are still in place for the fall barring any new information about the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“Outside, I think, is a different kind of environment for biotransmissions than inside as I said before,” Stanley said. “So I think you may not have the same set of rules. I think it would be difficult to enforce a vaccine mandate for people coming to these events. But I think mask-wearing probably will be taking place, certainly inside venues for sure.”
A mask mandate was also put in place for indoor places on campus effective Aug. 1, but Stanley said that he does not believe that will have an impact on fans that are outdoors.
“I think we believe outside, particularly for football, is probably a different environment for viral transmission than inside,” Stanley said. “So hence, the decision to just require masks inside. So from that point of view, I think we'll be in good shape.”
A big worry, Stanley said, would be that fans from all over the state would be traveling to East Lansing for sporting events and that MSU will continue to monitor the situation and make changes to the policy if necessary.
Stanley said that all decisions regarding fan attendance this fall would follow the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding the Delta variant.
“We'll be following state policy too,” Stanley said. “I don't anticipate a major change at this point in time, but stay tuned.”
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