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MSU Adds Influenza Vaccine Exemptions, Mandates Quarantine and COVID Testing

Author: Sergei Kelley

Michigan State University initially did not include exemptions for the influenza vaccine, but has changed course.

In preparation for students returning to campus for the spring semester, the university has been outlining health precautions. In a December 10 email, MSU President Samuel Stanley stated any students who “at any point during the spring semester” will be on campus must receive the influenza vaccine.

All students and faculty “are strongly urged to receive a flu vaccine,” Stanley stated. For students traveling over Christmas break, “students are to remain in their local residences” after traveling outside of East Lansing, and upon returning, in a quarantine of 10 to 14 days.

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Noted in December 17 and December 21 emails from Stanley are exemptions for the influenza vaccine, which include “medical, religious, moral or ethical reasons.”

MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen noted the vaccine exemptions and told The Morning Watch, “With an increase in COVID cases around the state and nation, and hospitals nearing capacity, it is important we do what we can to preserve our local health care resources for those who need them the most.”

As reflected in emails sent to students on December 10, 17, and 21, any student who plans to be on campus in the spring must participate in MSU’s COVID Early Detection Program. Requirements for participants include providing “at least weekly” saliva samples to be tested. MSU will notify participants of negative, positive, or rejected results. If the sample is rejected, participants must deliver another.

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All data from tests will go to the MSU Data Warehouse where “they [will] link demographic data already collected by MSU,” according to MSU. Personal identifiers will be removed, and data will be shared with health officials, MSU administrators, and some data will be shared with the public.

Additional changes to the spring semester include an official delay to classes, which now begin January 19. Students currently do not have a spring break, but “wellness days on March 2-3 and April 22-23,” Stanley reiterated in his December 21 email.

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