About one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, life as we knew it previously has certainly changed. The novel coronavirus has affected the day-to-day lives and operations of people, business, schools, sporting events and just about everything else.
As such, Michigan State University, and the Big Ten Conference in general, has not allowed fans (outside of friends and families of players and coaches) in the stands for athletic events.
That could finally come to an end this fall, as Michigan State President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced the university’s plan to return to campus for the fall semester. It is possible that fans in some capacity will be permitted into Spartan Stadium for football season, along with other athletic venues around campus
Perhaps more importantly, in addition to having spectators at sporting events, with more vaccinations becoming available to the public, an increase in in-person classes is also expected on campus as well.
Part of Dr. Stanley’s statement reads:
“Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
Like many of you, I am eager to get back to working and learning together on campus later this year. While we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community, we also realize the need to plan for summer and fall on and off MSU’s campus.
Making decisions now about the future of our university is not an easy task, as the pandemic has shown us. However, with vaccinations continuing to progress, we are optimistic that we can begin to safely transition during the summer and move toward more in-person experiences in the fall — all while continuing to prioritize the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.”
Dr. Stanley announced the MSU currently plans to have a “typical fall semester,” with 75 percent of undergraduate classes being held in person. He also said that classes will be offered in multiple formats — in person, hybrid and some still online. The majority of classes have been held virtually throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.
Per Dr Stanley:
“I am pleased to share that the university is planning for a more typical fall semester, with 75% of undergraduate classes offered in person. Classes will be offered in multiple scenarios — in person, hybrid and some still online, especially those that would traditionally fill large lecture halls. We expect that routine mitigation testing and other public health policies will continue at some level in the fall, and all of us will need to adhere to these policies and engage in the actions and behaviors that have kept us safe and healthy.”
As for athletic events, it is not specified at this current juncture how many fans are expected to be allowed to attend, however a bullet point in the announcement reads “MSU Athletics is planning for fall events with spectators again, although we’ll be following state requirements and guidelines that will be in place at that time regarding attendance.” This is of course welcomed news to Spartans fans everywhere, but keep in mind that it will still be reliant on both guidelines from the state of Michigan and from the Big Ten Conference as well.
Of course, these “plans” are fluid and can certainly change, as the pandemic remains unpredictable. But the projections seem optimistic for getting things on campus at least somewhat back to normal in the fall.
Here is the full list of bullet points regarding the fall semester from Dr. Stanley’s announcement:
-We will offer a residence hall experience to first-year students and as many other students as possible while still providing a safe living space.
-MSU Athletics is planning for fall events with spectators again, although we’ll be following state requirements and guidelines that will be in place at that time regarding attendance.
-The Wharton Center and Broad Art Museum are planning events this fall.
-Community-based activities will be permitted in alignment with local and state requirements and guidelines.
-Our current university-related travel restrictions will be adapted to location-based guidance.
-As we prepare for more students to be back on campus in the fall, we also will have more employees returning to in-person positions as well. More information will be coming from unit supervisors and leaders in the coming months.
Dr. Stanley also announced that the majority of summer classes will still be held online, but that is standard procedure at Michigan State, anyway. There will be no large summer camps or events on campus, although there may be limited outdoor day camps. Students who are “participating in summer classes, labs or who call MSU their home” are permitted to live on campus.