COVID directives

Updated Sept. 10, 2021

To slow the spread of COVID-19, Michigan State University is directing everyone to take personal responsibility to protect their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of MSU faculty, staff, students, visitors and loved ones.

Face Coverings

Individuals with COVID-19 are highly infectious for up to two days before the onset of symptoms. Thus, face coverings are a crucial public health measure and help protect others by reducing exposure to droplets if someone is unknowingly infected with COVID-19. Wearing a face covering, whether you feel ill or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, is critical to maintaining everyone’s health and safety.

Face coverings must be worn by everyone indoors (including all faculty, staff, students, vendors and visitors) while you are on property owned or governed by MSU or while participating in MSU-related or MSU-sponsored activities. If you have a medical condition that may prevent you from safely wearing a face covering, you should contact MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to begin the accommodation process.  

Exceptions to the requirement for face coverings will be limited. For example, if you are indoors on property owned or governed by MSU, exceptions are limited to when:

  1. you are in your own place of residence (g., residence hall room or apartment);
  2. you are in a private, single-occupancy office or lab space with a closed door and can reasonably expect other individuals not to enter (but if you leave your private, single-occupancy office or lab space and proceed into a common area or hallway – even if there are no other individuals present – you must wear a face covering);
  3. you are eating or drinking;
  4. you are receiving a medical or personal care service for which removal of the face covering is necessary; or
  5. you are younger than 2 years old.

If you are working, an exception may be allowed in the following situations:

  1. you are working in a setting where a face covering may increase the risk of a hazard (for example, the face covering could become wet, the face covering could get caught in machinery, or the face covering could become contaminated with chemicals used in the work environment);
  2. you can maintain physical distance (at least six feet of separation) from others; and
  3. you have previously consulted with your supervisor to determine the appropriate face covering for your setting.

Face coverings are not required outdoors while you are on property owned or governed by MSU.

Face coverings should:

  1. be non-medical grade to maintain supplies for health care use,
  2. fit snugly against the side of your face,
  3. cover your nose and mouth,
  4. be secured with ties or ear loops, and
  5. allow for breathing without restriction.

Cloth face coverings should only be worn for one day at a time, and they must be properly hand washed or laundered with soap/detergent before subsequent use. Face coverings may vary (for example, disposable non-medical masks are acceptable).

In addition to wearing face coverings, whether you are on- or off-campus, you also must adhere to the guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as federal and state government authorities, in order to protect your own health and the health of the entire MSU community.

Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine

For the fall 2021 semester and potentially beyond, all faculty, staff, and students are required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption. On or before Aug. 31, 2021, all MSU faculty, staff, and students must have completed or received at least one dose of a two-dose series of the COVID-19 vaccination and report their vaccine information using the Vaccine Form. Persons who received one dose of a two-dose series are expected to complete their vaccination series according to the recommended schedule and must report when they have done so via the Vaccine Form. Further, persons who are not fully vaccinated by Aug. 31, 2021, are required to participate in the Early Detection Program until they are fully vaccinated and follow the Face Coverings directive.

Arriving from an international location. Faculty, staff, and students arriving from an international location may not be able to be vaccinated before arriving on campus and meet the Aug. 31, 2021 deadline. These persons should so indicate on the Vaccine form and plan to receive a COVID-19 vaccine upon their arrival in the United States. Persons who are not fully vaccinated by Aug. 31, 2021 are required to participate in the Early Detection Program until they are fully vaccinated and follow the Face Coverings directive.

Authorized and approved vaccines. FDA-authorized and WHO-approved vaccines will meet MSU’s vaccine requirement.

Exemption process. In the interest of the health and safety of the entire MSU community, exemptions to the vaccine requirement will be limited. The exemptions are:

  1. Religious exemptions. Persons requesting an exemption due to a sincerely held religious belief that precludes them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may submit a request for a religious exemption. A religious exemption is not the same as a philosophical, moral, or conscientious exemption.
  2. Medical exemptions. Persons requesting an exemption due to a medical condition that precludes them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may submit a request for a medical exemption. Documentation from a medical provider is required. The exemption will be provided only for CDC-recognized contraindications and for individuals with disabilities under the ADA.

Faculty, staff, and students can request an exemption for religious or medical reasons using the respective online forms. Requests for exemptions will be reviewed by the Review Committee, or other designated MSU personnel, and the Review Committee will inform the person whether their request for an exemption is approved or denied. 

For the fall 2021 semester and potentially beyond, faculty, staff, and students with approved exemptions for religious or medical reasons will be required to wear face coverings while indoors in public spaces, participate in the Early Detection Program, and quarantine if exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, students who are only taking online courses and will not be on property owned or governed by MSU for any reason during the fall 2021 semester will be exempt from MSU’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Directive. These students can request an exemption for the fall 2021 semester by using this online form.

Personal Hygiene

Practice good personal hygiene, including washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing and before eating. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, such as doorknobs, tables, light switches, phones, keyboards and faucets. Clean your personal spaces and workspaces regularly with soap followed by using an approved household disinfectant.

Self-Monitoring

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Using whichever tools and processes are made available by the university, pay attention for the appearance of possible flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list may not include all possible symptoms. Public health officials, including the CDC, will continue to update the list as they learn more about COVID-19. If you begin exhibiting symptoms, stay home and contact the Olin Health Center’s 24-hour nurse line at (517) 353-5557 or your personal health care provider.

Exposure to COVID-19

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate yourself, whether you are vaccinated or not. Isolation space for on-campus students is being provided. Students should contact MSU's COVID-19 hotline at 855-958-2678 or contact their health care provider. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician.

Close contacts who have been fully vaccinated and have been free of COVID-19 symptoms since their exposure will be asked to monitor for symptoms, have themselves tested 3-5 days after exposure, and wear a mask in all public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. 

Close contacts who have not been vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with an infected person.  Quarantine requires that a person stays home, checks their temperature twice a day, and monitors for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. They should contact the MSU COVID Triage Line if symptoms consistent with COVID-19 develop.

Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can request a medical appointment at Olin Health Center, where a Student Health Services provider will administer a COVID-19 test if medically needed. Asymptomatic students or students with very mild symptoms should use the Early Detection Program for a PCR test. Results are typically returned within 24–36 hours. Faculty and staff can use EDP or contact their doctor for a test.

You may also get tested through the State of Michigan Coronavirus Testing Hotline. Call (888) 535-6136 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and press 1 to be connected to an operator who can help you find a nearby location and schedule an appointment. Or, visit Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest to find locations near you. There are many locations where you can get tested at no cost.

Adherence to Public Health Guidance and Cooperation with Public Health Authorities

For the protection of the entire community, MSU expects all faculty, staff, and students to follow all applicable state and public health guidance and cooperate with public health authorities, including, but not limited to, participating in contact tracing efforts.

Adherence to Signage and Instructions

To protect yourself and others, faculty, staff, and students must (a) look for instructional signs posted by MSU or public health authorities, (b) observe instructions from MSU or public health authorities that are emailed to your “msu.edu” account, and (c) follow those instructions.