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MSU Cancels In-Person Undergrad Learning Two Weeks Before Classes Begin

Two separate photos edited together of Mike Balow standing outside next to the MSU campus Sparty statue and Travis Menge at the Lansing Center for the GOP nominating convention.
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Travis Menge and Mike Balow
Two weeks before limited in-person classes were set to begin Michigan State University has announced it will transition undergraduate students to remote learning for the fall semester.

Two weeks before limited in-person classes were set to begin Michigan State University has announced it will transition undergraduate students to remote learning for the fall semester.

In a message to the campus community Tuesday, MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. asked undergraduate students who planned to live on campus in the fall to stay home and continue their education remotely.

President Stanley said given what other schools have been going through as they reopen, it’s unlikely widespread transmission of COVID-19 could be avoided on campus. He said the school will take the next two weeks to transition classes intended to be in-person to remote formats. MSU opting to go online follows outbreaks of the coronavirus at schools where students returned including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Notre Dame.

MSU's total undergraduate enrollment is 39,423 students. With roughly 39 percent of undergraduate students intending to live on campus now staying home, this means about 15,000 students will no longer be in East Lansing in the coming weeks. 

In the statement Stanley also said, “For our off-campus students, we also encourage you to consider staying in your home communities if that is a safer place for you.”

However, the remaining 24,000 undergraduate students who live off campus in rentals and apartments around East Lansing are not obligated to return to their home communities.

There will be some exceptions for certain colleges and graduate programs. In-person research at the university will also continue.

Stanley also said the school will also accommodate international students to allow them to meet goals required for graduation. As well as the small number of students who need to live on campus for safety or work reasons.

Earlier the same day, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail issued an emergency order limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 people in a section of East Lansing. The section, near MSU, encompasses an area of the city that Vail said is known for holding large house parties.

The order also included downtown East Lansing, where earlier this summer Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak that made national headlines. An Ingham County health department spokesperson totalled the number of infected from that outbreak at 192.

MSU’s start date for the fall 2020 semester remains September 2.

As managing editor, Karel Vega supervises news reporters and hosts of news programming, and is responsible for the planning and editing of WKAR's news content.
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