Sept. 15: Updates on COVID-19 Notifications

Dear Colleagues:

For the last two weeks, the Office of the Provost has worked with MSU’s COVID-19 Triage Team to notify instructors when someone in their classroom tested positive for COVID-19. These messages were not formal notification of confirmed close contact, as public health officials do not recognize informal contact as rising to the level of the confirmed close contact that calls for notification. That said, I believed the Office of the Provost notices were important as our instructors adjusted to repopulated classrooms prior to the launch of the University dashboard.

At this point in the semester, MSU’s high vaccination rate, its mask mandate, MSU’s COVID-19 Triage Team’s contact tracing, and improvements in air filtering provide evidence that we are able to change course. Thus, the Office of the Provost will no longer send notifications to instructors who are informal contacts. MSU’s COVID-19 Triage Team or the Ingham County Health Department will continue to notify anyone who meets the criteria for being a confirmed close contact.  

As you are aware, research has demonstrated that in-person teaching does not increase COVID-19 transmissions in a community, that it is important to students’ learning as well as to their mental and emotional health, and to providing equitable educational opportunities (see links below).  At the risk of being repetitive, the formal procedures provided by public health authorities for notifying confirmed close contacts ensure that those who need to know about potential risks are informed. I have every confidence in their professional capabilities and am grateful for this formal work on our campus, enabling us to continue our in-person work in the safest manner possible. 

Please feel free to share this message with your departments or units.

My best,



Links for Reference:


Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

MSU Foundation Professor