Michigan State University will provide most classes remotely for the first three weeks of the upcoming spring semester, according to two emails sent to educators and students on Dec. 29.
According to the emails, the decision was based on rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the United States.
“I know this news will be received with mixed emotions, and I thank you for your dedication to academic excellence and student success during these times,” Provost Teresa Woodruff wrote in the email. “I am happy to address questions you may have later today after reviewing the president’s note.”
Some areas, such as academic and research laboratories, music instruction, and some health professional education and internships, will be allowed to be held in-person with staff discretion. Students should expect to hear from their instructors in the coming weeks with more details.
Despite classes moving online, on-campus housing will be open, meaning students will still be allowed to live in residence halls. Students are not required to move back onto campus, and can decide whether they want to complete these first few weeks from their homes or on-campus.
For students who decide to return, food and dining options will be available in the dining halls.
Recreational and performing arts facilities, such as the Wharton Center and IM facilities, will remain open.
This is a reversal of earlier messaging from MSU officials, with the university previously saying they were preparing for an in-person start this spring semester.
“I promised that we would continue to monitor the situation in mid-Michigan and beyond for any changes in the pandemic that required new actions,” President Stanley wrote in an email to the MSU community. “In the 48 hours since that note went out, a surge in cases has been reported, presumably due to the Omicron variant, with the state of Michigan reaching an all-time high in cases per day.”
President Stanley asked employees to consider their existing working arrangements and encouraged supervisors to consider “allowing remote work where possible given operational needs.”
Those who are currently enrolled in the Early Detection Program “must resume testing upon arriving back to the East Lansing area.”
During the coming weeks, President Stanley and his leadership team will review case numbers and other COVID-19 trends to determine whether additional safety measures will be implemented, according to the email.
There will also be additional information shared on the vaccine and booster requirements. Students, faculty and staff are still required to receive their booster if and when they are eligible.
This is a developing story. Stay with The State News for updates.
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