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MSU Requires COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall 2021 Semester

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

MSU President Stanley


On August 5, Michigan State University emailed students clarifying the vaccine mandate and provided a FAQs sheet.

MSU is mandating all faculty, staff, and students to have at least one vaccine dose by August 31, and if not fully vaccinate to regularly give spit samples as part of the Early Detection Program (EDP). Submissions for medical exemptions must have documentation by a medical provider. An online submission form for both religious and medical exemptions "will be provided soon."

Between at least August 31 and September 15 everyone indoors on campus must wear face coverings as part of the Face Coverings Directive. Those with vaccine exemptions must also comply with the EDP.

Failure to comply with MSU's new measures could result in disciplinary action, including removal from the university.

Contributor: Bri Saroli

Mandating the COVID vaccine for all staff, students, and students, Michigan State University will only be providing ‘limited’ medical and religious exemptions.

On July 30, President Samuel L. Stanley sent an email to all MSU students, staff, and faculty, announcing the requirement of the COVID-19 vaccine for the fall 2021 semester.

President Stanley has been a constant advocate for the COVID vaccine, encouraging students, it is the “best defense against the spread of the disease and the clearest path to the resumption of our on-campus living and learning.”

[RELATED STORY: MSU MANDATES Student COVID Status, Offering Prizes for Vaccinated]

The MSU president is attempting to rationalize both vaccine and mask mandates due to ‘concerning’ CDC data and that the “rise in cases [and] finding the delta variant is more contagious.”

New mask and vaccine mandates by Michigan State University:

  1. “All individuals are required to wear masks indoors beginning Aug. 1 in all campus buildings and other MSU facilities in East Lansing and throughout the state. This requirement will be in place for at least the first weeks of the fall semester.

  2. All students, faculty and staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with an FDA-authorized or WHO-approved vaccine by Aug. 31. Limited exemptions for medical or religious reasons will be provided.”

The end of the email stated that there will be more announcements in the upcoming days as it pertains to this new requirement. As of August 3, no updates have followed for those seeking exemptions or clarification about the mandates.

President Stanley closed his email stating that individuals who have not received the COVID vaccine, “it’s time to do so.”

MSU alumni shared mixed reactions to The Morning Watch.

A former student who faced COVID, Jaz Martus, said "When people are young, they think they’re invincible. The continuing pervasiveness of Covid-19 and the necessity of a vaccine mandate is a reminder that they aren’t."

Mark Klein, a MSU alum and former Executive Editor of The Morning Watch, said "It’s not science based rather it’s a disappointing display of leadership. Because instead of encouraging individuals to make a proper medical decision with their doctor, he’d rather take advantage of vulnerable college students and circumventing a discussion that these students should be having about their best health decisions with their doctors.”

“Personally I think my health choices should be up to me especially considering none of the vaccines are FDA approved, I just don’t feel safe receiving a vaccine that has only been out for such a short period of time!," said another alum who wishes to remain anonymous.

"I’ve heard of many complications because of the vaccine and I don’t think my health is worth the risk, especially at such a young and healthy age that all these college students are!," the alum continued.

[RELATED STORY: MSU Adds Influenza Vaccine Exemptions, Mandates Quarantine and COVID Testing]

Individuals across the country are beginning to sue universities over the COVID vaccine mandate.

Down in Indiana, “several students who want to attend in-person classes at Indiana University in the fall have filed a lawsuit that says the school’s COVID-19 vaccine policy is unconstitutional.”

Similar to Michigan State University, the policy at some other universities “requires students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated or receive an exemption for religious or medical reasons before the fall semester” begins.

Throughout the pandemic, President Stanley and MSU have promoted the COVID vaccine and encouraged everyone to get it. Much of the emphasis has been for voluntary actions and resources have been readily provided.

Some vaccine data and effects have shown to be at least mixed, with some vaccinated still getting coronavirus. Some have had adverse reactions to the vaccine, which is still not approved by the FDA.

A recent CDC study showed that “74% of people infected in Massachusetts Covid outbreak were fully vaccinated.”

The new data that was published in the U.S. Agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and “found that fully vaccinated people who get infected carry as much of the virus in their nose as unvaccinated people, and could spread it to other individuals.”

The CDC has been offering substantial evidence “bolstering the hypothesis that vaccinated people can spread the more transmissible variant and may be a factor in the summer surge of infections,” according to The Washington Post. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is helping to persuade “agency scientists to reverse recommendations on mask-wearing and advise that vaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor public settings” but only in some situations.

The Morning Watch has reached out for comment; the article will be updated accordingly.

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