Weekly Coronavirus Communications Update - March 6

Colleagues,

This week another COVID-19 vaccine became available to Michigan residents, the state expanded eligibility criteria for the vaccine and President Stanley announced MSU’s plans for a more typical fall semester. All of these updates are welcome news for many. It's important with all the optimism that we continue to keep our shields held high and not let our guard down until every person has had the opportunity to be vaccinated and we bring an end to this pandemic.

As a reminder, this weekly rollup is now available to all faculty and staff at MSU through our Together We Will website and our Tuesday edition of InsideMSU after feedback from many of you who have found this weekly update informative and helpful for staying on top of important communications from around campus. We encourage leaders to continue sharing the update, but you can also point your teams to the website and newsletter as places to find the same information.

Important Updates

  • Tuesday, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it is updating two of its epidemic orders starting March 5. This update will increase indoor and outdoor gathering capacities at various venues and residential and nonresidential gatherings. For more information about the orders, visit Michigan.gov.
  • Also Tuesday, Barbara Roberts, executive director of the WorkLife Office, shared services and resources available for MSU employees who are also caregivers.
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is expanding access to the COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, March 8, Michiganders age 50 and older with medical conditions or disabilities, caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs are eligible to receive the vaccine. On March 22, eligibility will extend to all Michiganders age 50 and older. If you are eligible and need help finding a vaccine site, the state has an online resource.
  • Thursday, Ingham County Health Department updated its emergency health order to restrict outdoor gatherings in parts of East Lansing, including the downtown area, to no more than 15 people. The order previously limited outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 individuals.
  • Friday, President Stanley sent a letter to the campus community and future Spartans about the university’s plans to have a more typical fall semester. He also talked with MSU Today Podcast Host Russ White to discuss MSU’s plans for the fall.
  • Also Friday, the provost followed up with a letter to faculty and academic staff with more information specific to their planning efforts.
  • As the weather gets warmer, Mayor of East Lansing Aaron Stephens is distributing letters to East Lansing households to remind the community of the current COVID-19 safety measures in place. There is a 15 person limit on indoor and outdoor social gatherings. It also is encouraged residents to try to support East Lansing’s local businesses as they have been suffering as a result of the pandemic.

Spartan Stories

  • MSU School of Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Jay P. Kennedy weighs in on hospitals that are struggling to steer clear of counterfeit face masks on NPR’s All Things Considered.
  • In this month’s “State of the State” podcast from the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, Matt Grossman, Charley Ballard and Arnold Weinfeld discuss pending Congressional financial relief support and welcome Siddharth Chandra to discuss his research on the 1918 Flu Pandemic and the potential for future pandemic reemergence.

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.

Emily Gerkin Guerrant
Vice President and Spokesperson