MSU masks mandate in classrooms, labs to end, vaccine mandate continues

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Michigan State University will drop its mask mandate in classrooms and other academic and research or laboratory spaces, the university announced Friday.

MSU President Samuel Stanley, Jr. in a statement said the mandate ends with the beginning of the summer semester on May 16. He added that masks may be required in some situations, such as inside campus health care facilities or due to state or federal regulations.

MSU will continue its COVID‑19 vaccine and booster mandate for the 2022-23 academic year, Stanley said.

MSU instituted a mask mandate for everyone on campus on Aug. 1, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health officials' recommendations to mitigate the virus' spread.

That broad mandate ended in early March, leaving a mandate in place for classrooms and other academic spaces. Stanley said at the time the change was based on guidance from federal, state and local public health officials. 

"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," Stanley said in a letter sent to staff, students and parents. "As we have since early 2020, we will continue to monitor and respond to the pandemic as necessary."

University officials said it will continue to require all faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated and get their boosters or obtain an exemption for the next academic year. They must also submit verification. Employees who fail to comply will face discipline; students will not be allowed to enroll in summer 2022 and fall 2022 classes.

According to the school, 94% of its students, faculty and staff are vaccinated while 86 percent have also received their booster shots.

"Many in our community will continue to take preventive measures, such as masking, to protect themselves and their loved ones," Stanley wrote. "Members of the MSU community need to respect others’ personal health decisions, which should not be the basis for assumptions about those individuals’ personal views or vaccination status."

A sign calls for face coverings on Michigan State University's campus in East Lansing.

MSU will no longer require employees or students with medical or religious exemptions to routinely test for the virus," Stanley wrote.

Officials said they are ending testing at the Clinical Center for COVID-19 on May 13.