MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. held a press conference at 10 a.m. to answer questions about the students moving onto campus this week and how COVID-19 has made an impact.
He expressed his excitement about having students back to an in-person setting.
“We have 15,000 students coming to campus,” Stanley said. “Each and every one deserves the best attention and I think all my team is working to do that. I think from talking to people today, there’s great joy and excitement.”
Stanley said the incoming class is possibly the largest MSU has had with about 9,200 students. It is also diverse, with representation from many places.
“(They’re) coming from all over the United States, all 50 states are represented,” Stanley said. “It is fantastic. And from many countries all over the world. I talked to someone from France this morning.”
The freshman class isn’t the only group to be on campus for the first time. Stanley was also excited to welcome the incoming sophomores as they move onto campus as well.
“That’s one of the wonderful things about this is we have kind of two entry classes,” Stanley said. “So, today, I didn’t meet too many of those, I have met them during the summer — people who were purely online as first years — and I think they are also very excited.”
With both classes living on campus for the first time, there has been an increase in dorm requests as well, with students hoping for an opening on a waiting list. Now, less than 30 students remain on that list.
With a cautious return to campus came new rules to keep students safe. Despite the controversial mask mandate, MSU has not had a drop in enrollment rate, Stanley said.
“Most of what I’ve seen is acceptance and excitement, recognizing that the mask mandate as well as the vaccine mandate are two absolutely key things to help us return safely,” Stanley said. “And that’s what I’ve heard. With all the students and families I’ve seen today, not a single person has raised a concern about masks and vaccines.”
Stanley said that more than 40,000 people have responded to the COVID-19 vaccination verification form due on Aug. 31. Of the responses, about 93% to 94% are vaccinated. Most of them have reported they received both of the two required doses. As more people register, the numbers continue to change.
About 98% of faculty, 92% of staff and 93% of students have responded to the form, Stanley said. There are about 200 individuals applying for exemption.
With the vaccine mandate in place, students are excited to be back on campus.
“I see it,” Stanley said. “I had the chance to meet with our tour guides several days ago in a large classroom. Everybody masked correctly and the genuine excitement they had about coming back, the efforts of everybody else, I think it’s about giving people an experience in the kind of things that make Michigan State great.”
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