MSU to start semester with remote classes amid COVID spread

The Detroit News

Michigan State University will hold classes remotely to start the new semester in January, according to the president and provost, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

The first three weeks of the spring semester, which begins Jan. 10, will not be in-person, according to a letter posted Friday by MSU President Samuel Stanley. .

"I realize that students prefer to be in person, and so do I," Stanley said. "But it is important that we do so in a safe manner. Starting the semester remotely and de-densifying campus in the coming weeks can be a solution to slowing the spread of the virus."

Stanley said he let the MSU community know earlier this week that it would monitor COVID-19 cases and report changes.

"In the 48 hours since that note went out, a surge in cases has been reported, presumably due to the Omicron variant, with the state of Michigan reaching an all-time high in cases per day," Stanley said.

"Given this intense surge in cases, we now feel the best decision for our campus is to start classes primarily remotely on Jan. 10 and for at least the first three weeks of the semester." 

Some in-person instruction will be allowed as necessary, and residential housing and the main library will remain open.

Earlier this month, MSU joined other Michigan colleges in mandating booster shots for students and faculty.

Elsewhere, Wayne State University will begin the winter semester online and continue virtually through at least Jan. 31, the university's president announced, citing an anticipated increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Oakland University announced its classes would move online for the first two weeks of the winter semester, Jan. 5-18.

Winter classes at the University of Michigan, however, will resume in-person Wednesday, but there will be more campus safety protocols, including proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for anyone attending on-campus ticketed performances and sporting events.

Also on Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it would urge individuals and households to follow guidelines recently updated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in reducing the number of days to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.

The guidance did not change the recommendations for K-12 school settings and other congregate occasions.