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Michigan State won't require COVID-19 vaccine for return to campus this fall

MSU Student receiving the Johnson&Johnson vaccine at the MSU student-only vaccination clinic
Posted at 3:04 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 15:04:41-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University will not require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, staff, and faculty to return to campus in the fall.

MSU President Samuel Stanley announced the decision Tuesday in a letter to the campus community.

“As we look toward fall, MSU is not mandating COVID‑19 vaccinations at this time outside of some very limited settings. However, based on the trends we will monitor over the next several weeks, including the number of COVID‑19 cases and the impact of vaccinations, this could be revisited,” Samuel said.

MSU joins seven other Big 10 schools in the decision not to mandate the vaccine for the fall semester. Spartans and students of the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska, Purdue University, and Penn State are still encouraged to get vaccinated according to statements released by each school.

The University of Michigan announced in April that, starting in September, they would be mandating COVID-19 vaccination for students and faculty who live on-campus.

MSU's University Council voted decidedly in favor of a campus-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate back in May. The council, made up of faculty, staff and student representatives, voted 87 to 11 in favor of recommending mandatory vaccinations for all on-campus students, faculty and staff.

Deputy spokesperson for the university Dan Olsen says the university made a decision it felt would best motivate students and faculty to get vaccinated on their own accord.

“We've had faculty and staff sharing their viewpoints on this. And really, it did come down to, you know, what is going to help motivate students also to get vaccinated. And what we know is personal choice is incredibly beneficial and influential in helping students make the correct choice,” Olsen said.

The administration will continue to offer vaccination clinics on campus as well as COVID-19 testing for students who are unvaccinated.

Medical students may have specific COVID-19 prevention requirements that differ from the overall university standard.

Stanley said the administration reserves the right to impose any COVID-19 protocols they believe are necessary in the upcoming semester.

“We must remember we are on the virus’s timeline. While we are optimistic about current trends and data, we will continue to monitor cases in our region and state. If needed, we will put the necessary COVID‑19 protocols back in place to protect our campus community,” Stanley said Tuesday.

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