Stay home, Spartans: MSU flips to online classes this fall amid fresh Covid fears

August 18, 2020, 7:09 PM

Never mind what we announced in late May, MSU's president says 15 days before fall classes start.

Linton Hall on campus. (Photos: Flickr/MSU)

"We are asking undergraduate students who planned to live in our residence halls this fall to stay home and continue their education with MSU remotely," Samuel L. Stanley Jr. posts in a "Dear Spartans" letter Tuesday afternoon.

Given the current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they re-populate their campus communities — it has become evident to me that, despite our best efforts and strong planning, it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of Covid-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus. ...

We will work the next two weeks to transition [classes] that were in-person or hybrid to remote formats.

The University of North Carolina is an example of what Stanley, a biomedical researcher, means. On Monday it cancelled in-person classes for undergraduates just a week into the fall semester after 130 confirmed infections among students and five among employees. (The total is near 180 now.) Another setback occurred at the University of Notre Dame, with about five dozen 58 confirmed cases since students returned this month.


In East Lansing, MSU is working on "some exceptions for the colleges of Law, Human Medicine, Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, as well as all graduate programs. ... In addition, our research initiatives, which are done in the very safest possible conditions, will continue."

Stanley had announced May 27 that on-campus undergraduate classes would staret Sept. 2, a decision he said was made after consulting with health professionals, faculty and staff members, students and university leaders.

Now he does an about-face, writing in the 12-paragraph statement: "We're seeing on our campus and in other areas of the country that a few mistakes by some are having large impacts on many."

This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, but the safety of our campus community must be our paramount concern. ...

Refunds or credits will be issued to individuals who have already paid for the fall semester. We also realize that for some students, MSU is their home or they need to be on campus for employment. Just like we did this spring, we will continue to provide a safe place for a small number of students in our residence halls. ...

We have more decisions to make in the coming days about how best to make this transition, and we will share additional information with you as soon as we can. Right now, we want to make sure our students, faculty and staff have the ability to change any needed plans as we work toward a Sept. 2 start date for remote undergraduate education.

Also Read:

Lengel: It's Absurd To Resume In-Person Classes At Michigan Colleges This Fall (July 3, 2020)

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