Michigan State University drops classroom masking, still requires COVID vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine requirement in place for 2022-2023 academic year at MSU

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 30: A detailed view of the Spartan statue on the campus of Michigan State University prior to the game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Spartan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images) (Mark Cunningham, 2013 Mark Cunningham)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University is reevaluating its COVID-19 restrictions after virus cases declined significantly in recent weeks following a monthslong surge of infections and hospitalizations.

The East Lansing based university announced Friday, April 15, that it will be dropping its COVID mask mandate for individuals on campus beginning May 16. Face masks will no longer be required to be worn during class or in most research labs, officials said.

Last month, university officials dropped mask mandates for most indoor settings, but face coverings were still required in instructional settings.

Officials say that despite dropping the mask mandate, the university’s vaccine mandate will remain in place for the 2022-2023 academic year. Under MSU’s vaccine mandate, all students, staff and faculty members on campus are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which includes the booster shot.

Only those with approved exemptions do not have to meet the vaccine requirement.

“As we conclude the spring semester, it is clear our COVID‑19 mitigation efforts were successful in allowing MSU to continue most in-person classes and activities safely,” MSU President Samuel L. Stanley wrote Friday. “I want to thank the members of our community for their efforts: Your diligence and sacrifice the past year, and since the pandemic began in winter 2020, are greatly appreciated.”

Due to a “sustained drop in COVID-19 cases on campus,” MSU is also ending its routine COVID testing program. As of May 13, community members with vaccine exemptions will no longer be required to routinely test for the virus, officials said.

Click here to read the entire notice from Stanley.

Related: Judge tosses rest of lawsuit challenging MSU vaccine mandate

The news comes just as the U.S. begins to see a rise in COVID-19 cases after infections dropped sharply over the last two months. Experts believe that another surge could be on the way, though the peak will not likely be anywhere near as high as it was during the last wave.

Read more: It’s not over: COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in US

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.