Michigan State University is requiring students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with limited medical and religious exemptions. Additionally, all individuals are required to wear a mask indoors on any MSU property.

These decisions were made after careful consideration of the scientific data on the delta variant, which is driving the rising number of COVID-19 cases (and in some areas hospitalizations) across the state and country. The latest CDC data show the variant is more infectious and, in some cases, can be transmitted by vaccinated individuals. Our goal with this requirement is simple: Protect students, faculty and staff, as well as our surrounding communities. Health and safety remain our top priority, and this is the best path to the fall we all seek – living and learning on campus.

Below are answers to questions about these new requirements as well as general FAQs.

COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Vaccine exemptions

Face coverings


Faculty and staff


  • What do I do if I am feeling ill or test positive for COVID-19?

    Any member of our community exhibiting signs of COVID-19 should seek immediate medical attention. If you are feeling ill or have tested positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate and avoid close contact with all others. You also should contact MSU's COVID-19 hotline at 855-958-2678 and stay in touch with your health care provider. More information on what to do if you feel sick can be found on the CDC website.

    Students are asked to not come to class if they are experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19. It is incumbent on these students, as well as those self-isolating and quarantining, to reach out to their instructors to make accommodations so that they can continue their coursework during periods of illness, required self-isolation or quarantine.

    Faculty are asked to be especially empathetic to those who are unable to attend class for a time and to recognize the mental health challenges that students and colleagues may be experiencing. For those instructors who themselves may fall ill, the unit and college will provide coverage for the class instruction and student learning.

  • How do I get tested for COVID-19?

    Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should immediately isolate and obtain a test.

    • Students experiencing significant symptoms (such as high fever, persistent cough or shortness of breath) can request a medical appointment at Olin Health Center. A Student Health Services provider will administer a COVID-19 test as medically necessary. Asymptomatic students or students with mild symptoms (like congestion or loss of taste or smell) should use the Early Detection Program for a test. Results are typically returned within 24–36 hours.
    • Employees experiencing significant symptoms should contact their primary care provider. Asymptomatic employees or employees with mild symptoms also can use the Early Detection Program.

    Members of the MSU community can get tested at the Sparrow Laboratories clinic in Frandor at the former Sears Auto Center. Test results are typically available within 24 hours. In addition, many urgent care centers and pharmacies in the East Lansing area offer testing as well. The state of Michigan also runs a test location finder.

  • Will we practice physical distancing?

    The campus is not returning to previous physical distancing requirements and limitations. 

  • Who must isolate or quarantine?

    The following rules apply if you test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone who is positive:

    • If you test positive for COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms, you must isolate yourself and avoid any contact with others. Please contact MSU's COVID-19 Triage Hotline at 855-958-2678 to report and assist in contact tracing efforts. For employees, that means not coming to work. For on-campus students, isolation space will be provided to you. Off-campus students should remain in a specific room and use a separate bathroom, if available. Visit the CDC website for more information.
    • If you are unvaccinated and a close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine and stay home for 14 days after your last exposure. Again, for employees, that means staying home. For on-campus students, quarantine space will be provided to you. Off-campus students should remain in a specific room and use a separate bathroom if available while under quarantine. If you are a close contact and are vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine but should self-monitor for any symptoms.
  • Is MSU tracking the amount of cases on campus and the percentage of people vaccinated?
    Yes, MSU has updated its COVID-19 dashboard, which can be found at msu.edu/together-we-will/testing-reporting/.
  • How are buildings being prepared as more faculty, staff and students return to campus?

    IPF has worked diligently to prepare campus workspaces and buildings as more faculty, staff and students return. Find out more about air circulation, cleaning protocols and other services here

  • What is the COVID-19 Early Detection Program?

    The COVID-19 Early Detection Program is a key part of MSU's health and safety strategy. While participation in the program is no longer mandatory, leadership reserves the right to restart the program if case counts rise in the community.

  • Who must participate in the Early Detection Program for Fall 2021?

    Beginning Sept. 1, students or employees with approved medical or religious exemptions must participate in EDP. The same must also participate while waiting for a decision on an exemption.

    Note: some medical students are also mandatory due to clinical site requirements. Those students will receive specifics directly from their college point of contact.

  • I’m not near campus, but I need to participate in EDP. What should I do?

    Students: Online-only students with an approved exemption do not need to participate in EDP. Students attending remote locations such as Grand Rapids or Flint can participate there (new outdoor drop boxes are in the process of being installed).

    Employees: Faculty and staff who do not live or work near the East Lansing campus will be directed to an off-site EDP location, or if not available, other local arrangements will be made.