Weekly Coronavirus Communications Update - Jan. 9

Colleagues,

I hope you all enjoyed a restful holiday break and are recharged for the start of our spring semester. It was a tough week for a variety of reasons, including the unnecessary violence at the US Capitol.  Politics, racism and COVID provide layers of stress for our campus family. Please continue sharing resources and providing support and empathy for those around you.

A few key updates were provided this week as we look toward welcoming some students back to the area starting late next week. As a reminder, next week is the Reading , Reviewing and Reflection week and most students returning to our residence halls will start moving in next weekend.  Classes will begin in online formats on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

I want to acknowledge that we are also working diligently to get out communications related to the COVID-19 vaccine and Friday’s message from the president is the start of those efforts and we hope it has provided each of you and your teams with helpful information and resources for how to learn more about the state’s rollout efforts.  

Important Updates

  • The university has updated its Community Compact to including the directives for those students required to receive a flu vaccine and participate in the Early Detection Program.
  • Friday, President Stanley sent a message to students, faculty and staff providing more information on the state’s distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine. FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine are attached.
  • Also Friday, Associate Provost Mark Largent sent a message to faculty providing them with information and resources for the spring semester.
  • After delaying the start of the season due to the pandemic, MSU gymnastics announced it will begin its season the weekend of Jan. 22.

Spartan stories

  • Lauren McKenzie, director of diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Communication, Arts and Sciences, created a book for MSU’s WorkLife Office, featuring the contributions from more than 75 members of the MSU community who have been so kind to share pictures and sentiments about working from home.
  • MSU’s Betsy Sneller and Suzanne Wagner are quoted in a New York Times article discussing the effects social distancing has had on language development.
  • The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority is sponsoring a “Why I Wear a Mask” photo contest this month. Members of the community can enter by submitting a photo of themselves wearing a mask in downtown East Lansing alongside a short caption about why they believe it's crucial to wear a mask. Winners will receive a downtown East Lansing gift card and voucher to shop at the East Lansing Downtown Underground Market.
  • MSU Football Head Equipment Manager Andrew Kolpacki uses his sewing skills to create face coverings during the pandemic.
  • While COVID-19 has claimed more than 13,000 lives in Michigan, a study conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan State University published in JAMA Network Open, suggests that many more likely died from cardiac arrest directly and indirectly attributable to the pandemic.

As always, please continue to check our Together We Will website for the latest information on our response to the pandemic, and MISpartan Impact for stories on partnerships and collaborations across the state. FAQs for our spring semester are attached to help with questions your unit or area might be receiving. If your office has frequently asked questions your teams are receiving, we want to help incorporate those into our script as well. Please email those questions and your respective answers to Jackie Fondren (fondren@msu.edu).

Emily Gerkin Guerrant
Vice President and Spokesperson