Wayne State University halts in-person learning for 10 days amid virus surge

On-campus classes, activities suspended for 10 days at least

Light pole flags for Wayne State University in Detroit's Midtown.

DETROIT – Wayne State University is pausing in-person instruction starting Wednesday in an effort to “depopulate” the campus amid a surge in coronavirus spread in Michigan.

The Detroit-based university announced Saturday that plans were in place to pause in-person learning and other campus activities should COVID cases continue to rise rapidly in the state -- and they did.

Beginning Wednesday, April 7, all on campus, in-person instruction is suspended for the next 10 days. Officials say once the 10 days are up, the university will reexamine the state’s coronavirus metrics to determine if the suspension needs to be extended or can be lifted.

As listed by Wayne State University, the following restrictions are in place for the next 10 days:

  • All on-campus, face-to-face instruction is suspended. The only exception is for clinical rotations in the licensed health professions in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the College of Nursing, and the School of Medicine.
  • All spring sports are temporarily suspended. Fall/winter sports are canceled for the remainder of the term.  Student-athletes will receive separate guidance on resuming practice or competition from the athletics department and their coaches based on the direction of the Public Health Subcommittee of the Campus Coronavirus Committee.
  • Laboratory research units must take steps to reduce current time on-site activity for authorized personnel by 25%, effective April 7, 2021, and prepare a contingency plan for an additional reduction of time on-site as the situation evolves this coming week. This reduced level of current time on-site does not apply to fully vaccinated individuals involved with authorized on-site research activities. Refer to the research website for information updates and further guidance.
  • Guest access to student housing is restricted effective at noon on April 7. Students currently living in campus housing are permitted to continue doing so, and must continue to follow all campus health and safety guidelines
  • The bookstore will close to in-person shopping. All services, including regalia ordering, remain available online and by phone, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Towers Café will move to take-out dining only.
  • Campus libraries remain open but may be subject to increased restrictions. Specific information may be found in the Library Access and Services Guide.
  • The Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center is closed except for COVID-19 testing.
  • The Student Center Building is closed except for individuals attending the vaccine clinic.
  • The W Food Pantry remains open and will facilitate technology loans for students in need.
  • With the exception of critical infrastructure employees, those who can work effectively from home should do so.

Officials are asking the community to continue to monitor the WSU COVID-19 website here for the latest information.

Suspending face-to-face instruction has recently become a common practice for Michigan schools as the state continues to grapple with increased coronavirus spread.

All Detroit public schools have switched to remote learning for the two weeks to allow for social isolation following the district’s spring break. Face-to-face instruction is scheduled to resume on April 19.

Ann Arbor Public Schools has delayed the return of all students in grades 4-12 as COVID-19 cases rise within the community. Hamtramck Public Schools has also delayed the return to in-person learning for all of its students amid the virus surge.

In Ingham County, local school districts have been urged by the local health department to avoid face-to-face instruction for the week of April 12, which follows spring break. A school in Grosse Pointe Woods has moved classrooms to outdoor tents, rather than switching to remote learning amid the surge.

Related: Metro Detroit schools face tough decisions as COVID cases surge

Wayne State University’s decision to suspend in-person instruction comes as the state reports record single-day COVID case totals for this year, nearing numbers seen during the state’s coronavirus surge in November and December.

On Tuesday, the state reported a total of 707,463 virus cases and 16,297 deaths. Tuesday’s update included a total of 4,964 new cases and 58 additional deaths, including 16 identified during a review of records.

More: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know April 7, 2021

Related: Survey: Even as schools reopen, many students learn remotely

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.