EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University is planning to resume in-person classes on schedule this fall, with students returning to campus as the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to slow, the school president announced.
MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. made the announcement Wednesday after consulting with health professionals, faculty and staff members, students and university leadership, he said.
Michigan State academic calendar
Classes will begin Wednesday, Sept. 2, as previously scheduled, Stanley said. That will include in-person and online instruction.
All in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester will end Wednesday, Nov. 25, Stanley said. All instruction, study sessions and final exams after Nov. 25 will be done remotely for the final three weeks of the semester, he said.
UPDATE -- May 27, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 55,608; Death toll now at 5,334
Students can return home for the Thanksgiving holiday without returning to campus before winter break. They can also stay on campus until the semester ends.
These rules were designed based on models that predict a possible second COVID-19 wave in December.
“Because of this new schedule, we will forego the pilot fall break that had been scheduled for October,” Stanley said. “We hope to return to the fall break in future years.”
Stanley said the fall 2020 semester will be different from any other at Michigan State, with school officials focusing on the safety and well-being of students and staff members. Teachers will likely implement more online and remote learning tactics while resuming in-person options, he said.
Students and staff members will be asked to socially distance themselves and wear face masks on campus. Large gatherings will be strictly limited and regulated, according to Stanley.
“We recognize that some students may choose not to return to campus for health or other reasons, and we will endeavor to provide an enhanced selection of remote classes that allow them to begin or continue progress toward their Michigan State University degree,” Stanley wrote. “For our new and current international students who may have trouble getting to the campus, we also promise to provide remote classes that will allow them to start or continue the pursuit of their MSU degrees.”
Monitoring COVID-19 situation
MSU suspended nearly all in-person operations in March. Since then, the number of new daily coronavirus cases in the state has peaked and fallen, resulting in parts of Michigan reopening this month.
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Stanley said the university is increasing cleaning standards and establishing a strong supply chain for personal protective equipment.
The university is working to prepare campus for students to return, including altering the academic calendar, managing residents halls and prepping for contact tracing and testing.
“At this point, we believe that a values-driven return is possible and can be done in a way that mitigates the risks to our community,” Stanley wrote.
He said the status of the pandemic in the Lansing Region of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reopening plan is a critical part of the decision to reopen, and will continue to be in the future.
Whitmer has extended the state’s stay-at-home order until June 12, and MSU will continue to follow her guidelines, Stanley said.
“I will remind you, however, that MSU made the decision to transition to remote learning and working from home in mid-March, before the state started its shelter orders,” he wrote. “Although exemptions are being announced and the shelter order may lift in mid-June, you also should expect our university to continue making decisions for what is best for our community.”