Aug. 10: Fall Semester - The Spartan Way

Dear Spartans,

Welcome, or welcome back, to Michigan State University! We are happy to have you arriving this month. Now that it’s official, we need to work together to provide a healthy community. It is our responsibility – as individuals and as community members – to build a community that cares for the health and safety of all Spartans. And so, I want to take a moment to share some new expectations for on-campus residents that are designed to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on campus. Many of these expectations are more specific to residence halls, but it’s important for all of our residents to be aware of how we can take care of ourselves and each other. Please visit MSU’s Together We Will website for up-to-date information about the university’s plans.

Enhanced Social Distancing
All MSU students who plan to return to campus are encouraged to observe a 14-day period of enhanced social distancing at home before arriving in East Lansing. This is a crucial step in preparing Spartans for a safe and healthy fall semester and keeping COVID-19 out of our community.

During this 14-day period, you should monitor your health, reduce your contact with others and follow guidance consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as:

  • Stay home as much as possible the two weeks before coming to campus
  • Take your temperature twice a day and monitor for fever
  • Wear your face covering while in public settings
  • Wash your hands frequently and follow good hand hygiene practices
  • Follow physical distancing guidelines (maintain 6 feet of space between you and others)
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and self-monitor for them

Quarantine Housing
Quarantine, as defined by the CDC, is used to keep someone who has come into close contact (more than 15 minutes, unmasked, and within 6 feet) with someone who has COVID-19 away from others. President Stanley and the Ingham County Health Department have strongly recommended that students traveling to campus from U.S. states or countries that has a risk level of “active or imminent outbreak” self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to campus.

During this 14-day period of quarantine you will be expected to follow all safety guidance, use the Grab-and-Go option for dining, discourage in-room guests and maintain limited contact with others when out of your room. You will also be expected to seek medical attention if you develop a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19. Depending on your room style for fall, you may be assigned a new space for your length of quarantine, or you may be able to complete your quarantine in your fall space. Those utilizing separate quarantine housing upon arrival will receive more details on the move-in and check-in process soon.

Students who have been asked to quarantine should not attend in-person classes, and they are responsible for reaching out to their instructors by email to determine how to stay engaged in the class and up-to-date on coursework. Students’ participation in online courses should not be impacted by quarantine requirements.

Since quarantining will be recommended based on travel, as well as when notified by a local health department of close contact with COVID-19, it is possible that you may find yourself needing to quarantine more than once. 

Isolation Housing
To respond to the presence of COVID-19 in our community, Michigan State University will continue to work closely with local public health officials to perform contact tracing for all infected students. MSU will encourage on-campus residents who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms, to return to their permanent home to isolate, or to use university isolation housing.

Isolation housing will be available for on-campus residents to help mitigate the spread of the virus. If a student needs to use on-campus isolation housing, they will be expected to stay in the living wing, mainly in their room, for the duration of their stay. Guests will not be allowed in isolation housing. Contact with others will be extremely limited and potentially distressing, so we encourage students to take care of themselves by engaging with others virtually and practicing physical activity in the unit.

Spartan Community of Care
As you engage in daily activities outside of your residence hall space, from going to classes to grabbing a meal, it is important to understand the longer and more frequently you interact with others, the greater your risk of contracting COVID-19. There is no way to eliminate the risk, but certain personal preventative actions can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We must take personal responsibility for our own health and keep our Spartan community safe by helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infections. Our actions will impact everyone.

The Big 3
Small acts of prevention can have a big impact on reducing your risk of contracting this virus. I like to call them “The Big 3” – masks, hygiene, and distance. In addition to wearing face coverings, building healthy habits like hand-washing and physical distancing can help you to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

MSU Community Compact
Our division is working closely with partners across campus and the City of East Lansing to cultivate a community of care — a commitment to keeping the MSU community as healthy and safe as possible. I encourage you to review and share these guidelines as a reminder on how to best care for yourself and to be respectful of your shared responsibility for the health of others.

Our team is working around the clock with university, state and local officials to develop a plan that adheres to the guidelines set forth by our public health officials. It is critically important to MSU that as we plan for a return of students to campus that we make quarantine and isolation space available, providing a safe place for students who test positive to recover without further compromising the health of others.

These are just a few of the many efforts to help you have a healthy, successful semester, even if it looks a little different. Our team looks forward to welcoming you to campus in the coming weeks. Please join us in championing our community of care by supporting the health and well-being of the entire Spartan community.


Vennie Gore
Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises
Michigan State University