EAST LANSING, Mich. – Students at Michigan State University found out Wednesday that classes will be held exclusively online for the next six weeks due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Michigan had been one of just 13 states untouched by the coronavirus, but Tuesday night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced two confirmed cases -- one each in Oakland and Wayne counties.
Michigan State joined the growing list of universities across the nation in canceling in-person classes. School officials released a statement saying all classes will be online until April 20.
“Effective at noon March 11, MSU is suspending face-to-face instruction in classroom settings and moving to virtual instruction,” the statement says.
The university is encouraging students to return home.
“We strongly encourage this because there are advantages for social distancing,” the statement says. “But for those not able to go home, we will continue to fully support students in our residence halls and dining facilities.”
“It doesn’t work as well for me, as in class instruction,” sophomore Nick Catanzaro said. “I think it’s going to be much more difficult to take exams now.”
“My jaw hit the floor,” sophomore Kaitlyn Piggott said. “It doesn’t seem real. At first, it was awesome, like, ‘Woah, we don’t have classes.’ But the more I think about it, (I’m) a little bit stressed.”
The move has students wondering what to do next. While going home might have its perks, working remotely has its complications.
“I was just coming off a job interview at the state capital, so I’m just hoping they don’t send us home, because I won’t be able to take that job,” Catanzaro said.
The campus remains open. The university said it is evaluating large events already scheduled.
“We will provide more information soon and urge everyone to consider the health implications of large gatherings and evaluate the essential nature of the events,” the statement said. "We will not be scheduling new events with more than 100 individuals in a confined space during for this time period unless there are special circumstances.”
The University of Michigan confirmed Wednesday that one of the two Metro Detroit patients who tested positive for coronavirus is being held at U of M Hospital. That person is stable, officials said.
Health officials said 70 patients have been evaluated for COVID-19 in Oakland County, with 35 cleared, one positive test and 34 still under evaluation.
Residents across the state are stocking up on supplies following Whitmer’s announcement, creating long lines at grocery stores.
To learn more about coronavirus and how to give yourself the best chance to stay healthy, read Dr. Frank McGeorge’s answers to the questions below.