March 10, 2020: Update on the novel coronavirus

Dear Spartans:

As the global epidemic associated with the novel coronavirus continues to rapidly evolve internationally and domestically, I want to reassure our community that we’re actively monitoring while preparing our campus to ensure the continued health and safety of all Spartans. 

It is OK to be concerned, and it is important to be prepared, but this is not a time for panic. There are many rumors about possible cases in Michigan, but there are no confirmed cases in our state at this time. 

A cross-university task force is meeting regularly to share information in real-time, consider any needed changes to best protect our community and address a broad range of contingencies. I am in contact with the task force daily, and I will continue to regularly update the community, through messages and on our website.

MSU preparations

MSU is preparing for a variety of possible scenarios and campus units have plans and resources in place for a potential outbreak. The university is in constant contact with the Ingham County Health Department and continues to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including:

  • Creating opportunities to move from in-person instruction to alternative delivery methods, where feasible.
  • Identifying ways to facilitate self-isolation for any affected student.
  • Sanitizing impacted areas and providing dining options in a way that reduces potential spread.
  • Switching out cleaning supplies with stronger germicidal disinfectant when cleaning bathrooms and other common surfaces.
  • Posting signage with key tips to keep yourself healthy during this time, including washing hands more frequently and for at least 20 seconds, practicing social distancing if you feel sick and covering your coughs and sneezes.     

We want you to know that we are taking this seriously. The health, safety and well-being of all our Spartan family is our top priority.

Continuity of teaching and learning

MSU has been preparing for pivoting the campus to online learning should that decision be required. The resource to support educators in moving courses to online instruction is

This website will grow over time as we discover additional needs and create content to address them. 

We also are developing the following services for educators:

  • How to move classes from in-person to online and other alternative delivery options.
  • IT support to address specific needs and connect educators with instructional design or technology help.
  • Best practices for online instructions and class discussions.
  • FAQs

A second website is under development for all other employees at MSU that will support business units in remote workplace policies, tips and resources.  We plan to have more information to share in the coming days.


We already have suspended university-related travel to level-three countries (as designated by the CDC). Now, effective immediately, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and April 20. If you are currently in an international location not impacted by a CDC advisory, you are not required to return home. We plan to reevaluate these guidelines and share updates as more information becomes available. 

We are also suspending non-essential domestic travel until April 20. There will be waivers available, and each situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by college and major administrative units.  

I realize these restrictions may be disruptive for some. But the safety of our campus community is our top priority. Your cooperation helps to ensure an appropriate response across our institution to this rapidly changing situation. 

Returning from spring break

Many of you have returned to campus this week from spring break travels. As we’ve said previously, if you traveled to a high-risk area for the novel coronavirus, we expect that you are following CDC and U.S. Border Patrol guidelines for self-isolation for 14 days. We prefer that students complete any self-isolation at their permanent homes, but the university is prepared to assist those who do not have that option. Please contact MSU Live On at 517-884-1783 to discuss available options.

In closing

Students can contact Olin Health Center’s 24-hour nurse line at 517-353-5557 if they have health-related concerns. Faculty and staff with health concerns should contact their primary physicians.      

If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to update your contact information in MSUALERT to receive important alert notifications.  

As always, the university will continue to provide real-time updates through our website, You can also call our toll-free information line at 888-353-1294.

This is a challenging time for our community, the nation and the world as we respond to novel coronavirus and the uncertainty surrounding it. We will do our best to stay on top of this quickly evolving situation and to communicate with you regularly and fully as conditions change. 

We are grateful to all of you for your understanding and flexibility, and your commitment to the well-being of our community.  We remain confident that we will navigate this difficult and uncertain period together.    


President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.