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Students will have a shortened semester and a mix of remote learning. Here’s MSU’s plan.

DETROIT — The fall term at Michigan State University “will look different from any previous semester” when it starts Sept. 2 with a mix of in-person and online classes, the president of the state’s largest school said Wednesday.

President Samuel Stanley Jr. posted a letter on MSU’s website and invited students to a webcast to answer questions Friday night.

He said physical distancing and face coverings to reduce the risk of the coronavirus will be essential. Large campus gatherings will be limited. In-person classes will end at Thanksgiving, followed by three weeks of remote instruction and final exams.

There was no mention of fall sports. MSU had 39,000 undergraduate students last fall.

“The fall 2020 semester will look different from any previous semester at MSU. The driving factor behind our decisions will continue to be the health, safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff,” Stanley said.

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The University of Michigan hasn’t yet announced its plans, but one rural Michigan university is taking a different approach. 

Michigan Technological University plans to announce more information throughout the coming weeks, but the plan at the moment is to gradually phase in face-to-face instruction over the summer and be back to an in-person fall schedule on time.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes. In the fall, Michigan Tech will likely be reducing class sizes, creating spaces for smaller-scale collaborations and offering dining services take-out or grab-and-go while responding in real time to the changing and evolving nature of health and safety in the age of coronavirus. 

“We’ve had a certain number of students cancelling their enrollment decision or postponing their enrollment decision because they don’t want to be away from home if something happens,” Kyle Rubin, Director of Admissions Recruitment for Michigan Tech told The ‘Gander

“What we’re doing is encouraging them to not make a decision today,” he continued. “Nobody knows what the fall is going to look like, right? Nobody really knows what next week is going to look like. I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to sit back and see how this all plays out.”

There is no one approach, just as there’s no one answer for students asking how or if they should change their plans for school in the fall. But paying attention to statistics and government directives while making mindful decisions has a clear benefit. 

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