Mandatory Student Testing and Daily COVID Dashboard for Michigan State University

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An outbreak of COVID-19 is currently underway in East Lansing, MI. At least 342 MSU-affiliated individuals (mostly students) have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 24. The Ingham County Health Department is recommending an immediate self-quarantine for all local MSU students.

We are calling on President Stanley to: 

  1. Make widespread student COVID testing mandatory
  2. Create a daily COVID dashboard for transparency 

MSU has the capacity for widespread testing with saliva samples (http://humanmedicine.msu.edu/community-detection-program/index.htm) but the MSU leadership has been unwilling to deploy large-sample mandatory testing.

The Ohio State University offers a much stronger approach to COVID testing. OSU conducts random sample testing, contacting 8,000 off-campus undergraduates each week. Students who fail to comply may receive "a directive to quarantine until testing can be completed, loss of access to non-residential spaces and a report to Student Conduct."

Not only has MSU failed to develop adequate testing, the university provides only weekly updates on MSU-affiliated COVID cases https://msu.edu/together-we-will/testing-reporting/ .

Many universities offer COVID dashboards updated daily, including Northern Michigan University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Pittsburgh. MSU is failing to provide the campus community with current and actionable information about the spread of COVID-19.

MSU's insufficient approach to COVID-19 testing and transparency is exacerbating a public health crisis in our community. As a public university focused on a mission of outreach and engagement, this is an alarming abdication of MSU's responsibility to the broader community. An MSU caused outbreak will negatively impact K-12 students returning to school, vulnerable residents, and communities of color that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.

MSU must immediately develop an effective, large-sample, and mandatory off-campus COVID-19 testing program for students, and MSU must immediately develop a dashboard to provide real time updates on COVID-19 cases in the campus community.