Spooked by what they describe as a “rapid increase in COVID-19 positivity rates” since welcoming students back to campus for the spring semester, Michigan State University is expecting students to remain in their dorms except for limited circumstances – and that they could be suspended or expelled if they don’t follow the rules.
It’s part of a plan for what officials call “enhanced physical distancing”.
Students who live on campus are being told to remain in their rooms except for:
- Picking up meals
- Attending an in-person class
- Conducting research or going to work
- Testing for COVID
- Getting medical care
- Outdoor exercise with “two people or fewer”
- Accessing secure internet
Students are not allowed to have visitors in their rooms, either.
The new rules take effect tonight at midnight and continue through February 13th.
In a letter sent to students on Saturday, MSU officials say students who don’t comply with the “directive” could be tossed from on-campus housing and even suspended or expelled from the university – without getting a refund.
The school will also reduce the house at residence hall service centers, close all lounges and public seating areas, close IM East and West (workout/gym facilites) and only respond to emergency maintenance requests. Laundry rooms and computer labs will remain open, but with capacity limits that will be enforced.
Deputy Spokesperson, Dan Olsen, also gave a statement to 6 News saying:
“It is incredibly important that all students strictly adhere to this directive and all local public health orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This 14-day enhanced physical distancing directive, if all students do their part, will help reduce COVID-19 cases and go a long way toward improving the health and safety of our campus and our community — especially those most vulnerable.”
University officials also want students who live off campus to follow similar instructions. The school lacks the authority to enforce the rules off campus, but the city of East Lansing has issued its own emergency rules to limit the spread of the disease, and violators could be subject to a $500 fine.
MSU isn’t the only school taking drastic action in the wake of the COVID virus. The University of Michigan launched its own “stay at home” order a few days ago because of a variant of the virus making its rounds in Washtenaw County, which is home to the Ann Arbor campus.