Nov. 5, 2020: Thanksgiving departure testing for students

Dear Spartans,

With the end of the semester and fall break just a few weeks away, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure the safety of our community, especially for those who plan to travel or return home for Thanksgiving. COVID-19 is on the rise in Michigan and the state has recorded a record number of positive cases due, in part, to small indoor gatherings without face coverings.

I want to remind you of essential health and safety practices to help minimize transmission to you and your loved ones:

  • Continue preventive health measures, including wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, washing your hands frequently and avoiding large gatherings.
  • Practice an enhanced physical distancing period for 14 days before you travel.
  • Quarantine for 14 days upon arrival at your destination.

Student Departure Screening and Testing
In addition to the steps outlined above, testing can be an important element in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. It’s important for you to know your status before leaving East Lansing to help reduce the likelihood of bringing the virus to your home community. From Nov. 15-22, as part of a voluntary departure testing program, MSU is offering free, saliva-based departure screening and testing for on- and off-campus students and strongly encourages students who are traveling to sign up on the program registration link. Due to limited lab capacity, testing dates may fill up, so I urge you to sign up today.

The university will continue to provide walk-up clinical testing at Spartan Stadium, as well as testing by appointment for those who are symptomatic at Olin Health Center, if those options are more convenient for you.

Please note: If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last three months, you should not participate in the saliva test. Evidence to date suggests that reinfection does not occur within this time window.

Remember, any form of testing reflects your COVID-19 status at the time your sample was collected. That’s why it’s vital to stay vigilant and continue to practice safe behaviors before and after the departure test.

If you start to feel sick or believe you’ve been exposed to the virus, please self-isolate and contact the MSU COVID-19 Triage Line at 855-958-2678 or your health care provider. Do not wait, even if you are already registered for departure testing and screening.

Let’s hold ourselves accountable for doing our part to keep our family, friends and community safe. Please take the important steps outlined above before you leave. You can also consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional information on traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic and safer ways to celebrate with family and friends.

I wish you the best for your studies and final exams, and hope fall break offers you a welcome rest.



Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.