Just as the spring semester is underway, Michigan State University has issued a  "enhanced physical distancing" period for on- and off-campus students.

The announcement comes after a rapid increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate since students returned to campus for the spring semester according to The State News. The news was announced by University Physician Dr. David Weismantel and Senior Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services Vennie Gore.

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MSU officials are ordering all on-campus students to stay in their residences with the exception of picking up meals from a dining hall, attending a in-person class, or to go to work. Students can also conduct research, participate in MSU's COVID-19 Early Detection Program, seek medical care,or exercise outside with two or fewer people.

"We must reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our Spartan community," the email said. "If we increase our distance now, we vastly increase the chances of being able to come together safely later this semester."

. MSU also sent a separate email to students living in the residence halls stating,

"You may not have any visitors in your residence hall room, gather in groups in lounges or dine together — this includes suitemates, 'pod mates' or 'bubble mates,'"  Gore and Weismantel wrote. "You also must continue to follow the MSU Community Compact, which includes completing a daily health screening form and participating in the COVID-19 Early Detection Program."

MSU stressed the importance of adhering to the new order noting, "Failure to comply with this directive may result in your removal from on-campus housing without refund and/or suspension or expulsion from the university."

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