EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University is going online for the fall and is encouraging students to stay home, the school’s president announced Tuesday, as schools across the nation struggled to control coronavirus outbreaks.
Remote learning for undergraduates is scheduled to begin Sept. 2.
“Given the current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they re-populate their campus communities — it has become evident to me that, despite our best efforts and strong planning, it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus,” President Samuel L. Stanley said in a news release on the university’s website.
The move to online learning is just for undergraduate students at the moment. The colleges of Law, Human Medicine, Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and all graduate programs will receive details at a later time, according to the university in East Lansing.
Last September, Michigan State’s total enrollment was 49,809 students, with 39,176 undergraduates.
“Our decision in March to transition to remote classes and have more employees work remotely was the right one,” Stanley said. “Since that time, we’ve worked diligently to create new approaches to educational and enrichment opportunities for our students, while always keeping health and safety foremost in mind.”
Over the next two weeks, in-person and hybrid classes will be transitioned to remote formats, Michigan State said.
Refunds or credits will be issued to students who already paid for the fall semester.
“We also realize that for some students MSU is their home or they need to be on campus for employment,” Stanley said. “Just like we did this spring, we will continue to provide a safe place for a small number of students in our residence halls.”
Tuesday’s action by Michigan State follows the decision by University of Notre Dame officials to go online for two weeks and an announcement Monday by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to switch to remote learning starting Wednesday.
The University of Michigan says it plans to offer a mixture of in-person and remote classes. Not all courses will be available in every format, the school said on its website.
Most students will be able to choose whether to return to Ann Arbor for a hybrid learning experience or study from home in a fully remote mode.
As of Tuesday, about 70% of undergraduate classes at the University of Michigan were being taken online, according to a school spokesman.
The university’s Ann Arbor campus will open its residence halls for housing and dining.
Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.