Michigan State University to Require COVID-19 Vaccines and Masks

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University will require COVID-19 vaccines and masks indoors when the fall semester begins on September 1.

President Samuel Stanley Jr. announced Friday that all students, staff and faculty must be fully immunized by Aug.31 if they plan to be on campus this fall, with some religious and medical exemptions.

He also said masks will be mandatory in all campus buildings from August 1 and “for at least the first few weeks of the fall semester.”

Students and staff who are not fully immunized by August 31 will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing as part of MSU’s early detection program.

The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated nationwide masking and testing guidelines to combat the spread of the delta variant.

“Across the country and here in Michigan, we are seeing an increase in cases and finding the delta variant to be more contagious,” Stanley said in a press release. “New data from the CDC suggests that even vaccinated individuals can in some cases spread the virus.”

Stanley introduced the measures in response to new data from the CDC on the delta variant, which is more contagious than earlier strains of the virus. He highlighted an increase in cases in areas with low vaccination rates and said that increasing the MSU vaccination rate would help keep the community safe.

CDC data released this week shows that vaccinated people can still develop “breakthrough” delta variant infections, which they can then pass on to others.

MSU’s announcement came hours after the University of Michigan unveiled its own vaccine mandate at its Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. Michigan’s two largest public universities are joining with Wayne State University and Oakland University in demanding vaccines for students living on campus.

MSU had come under increasing pressure from faculty, staff and students require vaccines. As of Friday afternoon, 1,489 MSU students and staff signed a petition asking Stanley to require proof of vaccination or bi-weekly testing as part of MSU’s COVID-19 early detection program.

The petition also called for students and staff without proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to be banned from classes, activities and in-person workplaces on campus.

The number of signatures appeared to increase every five minutes, said Sarah Reckhow, associate professor of political science at MSU who helped organize the petition. Requiring vaccines would make returning to MSU for a normal semester safer, she said.

“We are really optimistic and excited to be returning to campus for the fall semester,” Reckhow said. “Last year was tough – it was tough teaching and learning. We want to get back to doing things in the safest way possible. “

Stanley had previously advocated for students and staff to receive the vaccine. This week MSU launched a vaccine lottery for students who receive at least one injection by August 6 to be eligible to win one of 20 $ 1,000 cash prizes.

“A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination is the best action Spartans can take to protect themselves, their loved ones and our community,” Stanley said in a press release Thursday announcing the lottery. “While these incentives are certainly a reason to get vaccinated, the rise of the delta variant and its growing threat to the progress of our community is another critical reason why people should get vaccinated.”

In Ingham County, COVID-19 test positivity rate is 5.3%, state says MI Safe Start card. Eaton County had a 4.1% positivity rate and Clinton County was 3.9%. Ingham County is at the fourth highest risk level for the spread of COVID-19 out of six risk levels.

Statewide, Michigan’s case, hospitalization and death rates are among the lowest in the country.

Vaccine mandates have become an increasingly controversial issue across the country, with demands from some organizations being met through lawsuits. But Stanley hopes the students won’t decide to quit MSU because of the new rules.

“I respect the ability of people to make a choice, but for me it really has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with ethics,” he said during the interview. the press conference on Friday. “It has everything to do with public health. It has to do with how we protect each other.”

Contact Mark Johnson at 517-377-1026 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMarkJohnson.

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