Aug. 14: Preparations for start of semester

Dear Colleagues,

The university will soon be emailing students with MSU’s return-to-campus protocols for inbound domestic and international students. In accordance with the protocols, students arriving from locations with active or imminent outbreaks (as defined by the COVID Act Now risk map) and who had been there for at least 24 hours will self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to East Lansing or the surrounding communities. This means they should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, practice physical distancing, and stay at their residence — either on campus or off — for at least 14 days except to obtain medical care. Similarly, if students are traveling to East Lansing or the surrounding communities from another country with an active or imminent outbreak status, the protocol is for them to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Almost every country in the world currently has an active or imminent outbreak with the exception of several countries in Asia and central Africa. The states and countries on these lists change regularly.

These self-quarantine expectations are aligned with guidance issued by Ingham County Health Department, and they will help protect the East Lansing and surrounding communities. But the requirements will also have a significant impact on the students if part or all of the 14-day period coincides with days in which they need to attend a class or lab.

These challenges will certainly not be limited to the first two weeks of classes. It is reasonable to expect some students will need to self-quarantine at various points during the semester. Please make clear to your faculty that they should exercise a high degree of flexibility with their students throughout the coming semester. Our priorities are the health and safety of the community and the academic success of our students. The only way to avoid putting these priorities in conflict with one another is to work with students on an individual basis when challenges emerge and to recognize that we are all in this together. Rigid attendance requirements or expectations for doctor’s excuses will undermine these efforts and harm both our community’s health and our students’ success.

Thank you,

Thomas Jeitschko, Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School

Mark Largent, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies