Nov. 12, 2020: Keep your guard up

My Fellow MSU Employees,

As our local community, state and nation see a steady and significant escalation in COVID-19 cases, I write to you today to express my appreciation for your commitment to protecting our campus community. But I also write to urge all of us not to let our guard down.

This pandemic has made even the most routine activity challenging. And after months of hard work to incorporate inconvenient but important preventive health measures, it can be tempting to fall back into old ways — even if only for a moment — particularly for those who have returned to in-person work. But if there is one thing we all have learned, it is that this incredibly infectious disease will exploit any moments of complacency.

The protections and protocols established to keep you and our community safe are truly effective if every single one of us adheres to them. With another wave of the virus rearing its head locally and nationally and hospitals seeing a rise in COVID-19 patients, now more than ever we must double down on our commitment to protect ourselves, our colleagues and our community.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Work remotely, if possible. Supervisors should continue to ask employees who can work remotely to do so. Do not come to campus unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet from others — at workstations and elsewhere. Physical distance, when combined with mask-wearing, greatly reduces the risk of transmission.
  • Avoid group breaks with co-workers. Prolonged exposure to others, especially within close proximity to one another, increases your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Continue the key risk-mitigating measures, including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and getting tested if you feel ill or have reason to believe you were exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Soon we will face yet another aspect of this pandemic — the start of a holiday season traditionally filled with travel and large gatherings. While much will look different this holiday season, I urge you to consider the actions you can take to reduce the risk for yourself and our community. To assist, I am extending the COVID-19 Departure Screening and Testing Program to all MSU employees. Testing is a key factor in reducing transmission of COVID-19. It’s important for you to know your status before traveling to help reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus to others. And if you are traveling this holiday season, please be sure to practice an enhanced physical distancing period for 14 days before you depart and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival at your destination, as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends.

This year has been incredibly difficult for all of us. I know what I continue to ask of you can feel exhausting. But I assure you that if we stay vigilant and put forth the Spartan spirit that has shone through this entire year, we will get through this together and be stronger because of it.

What we decide to do today can save lives tomorrow. Let’s all work together to do what is right. Together, we will.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.