As the parent of the college student, I've had so many questions about what returning to campus this fall will look like. Many schools are gradually releasing their "Return to Campus" plans, with protocols and procedures laid out.

Michigan State University parents and students received emails along with a statement this week outlining procedures for returning students. The plan actually included protocol the university suggests the students follow even before they return to East Lansing.

In the statement from MSU PresidentSamuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., the school offers their travel protocol for returning students.  I've got to admit, some of it seemed a bit interesting when it comes to the reality of it actually being done.

The protocol suggests that all MSU students who plan to come to campus are asked to observe a 14-day period of enhanced physical distancing at home before arriving in East Lansing. It goes on to say that students should monitor their health during that 14 day period and greatly reduce their contact with others, all part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the general guidelines of wearing a face mask and social distancing of 6 ft apart, students are advised to check their temperature twice a day while at home.

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Once on campus, students will be completing daily health screenings when making their way around campus. The university had already announced that they would reserve a dorm, Akers Hall, for any students that happen to test positive for COVID-19. Many students have already been informed that some classes have been shifted to virtual learning for the Fall semester yet some will still be in-person.

A interesting notation in the statement was the section on the COVID-19 Community Detection Program. The university program will be collecting saliva samples from thousands of faculty, staff and student volunteers throughout the semester to analyze and identify the presence of the virus in people who are asymptomatic.The program, which individuals can volunteer to take part in, will help identify and manage potential locations on campus that may become “hot spots” for spreading the virus.

In all, MSU seems geared up and pro-actively ready for students to return to campus. Although, it may look good on paper, the past few months have shown that not all perfectly laid out plans actually work. Let's hope.

You can read the complete statement from MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. here.


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