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Michigan State University student union building in 2018. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Michigan State University will hold online-only classes for its fall semester, university President Samuel Stanley announced Tuesday, just days before students were set to move onto campus.

Why it matters: Michigan State is the third major university this week to revert to fully online classes for the upcoming term. The University of Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill both announced online-only classes following spikes in coronavirus cases.

What he's saying: "[G]iven 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," Stanley said in a letter to students.

  • "So, effective immediately, we are asking undergraduate students who planned to live in our residence halls this fall to stay home and continue their education with MSU remotely. While a vast majority of our classes already were offered in remote formats, we will work the next two weeks to transition those that were in-person or hybrid to remote formats."
  • "Right now, we want to make sure our students, faculty and staff have the ability to change any needed plans as we work toward a Sept. 2 start date for remote undergraduate education."

Go deeper: The cardiac threat coronavirus poses to athletes

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 25, 2020 - Technology

Remote learners may suffer in the new economy

An empty classroom in New York City, which closed its schools earlier this month because of rising COVID-19 levels. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

School districts are reporting declining grades as students struggle to adjust to the challenges of remote education.

Why it matters: It's bad enough that many children around the country are receiving sub-par remote schooling. But in an economy that will increasingly reward cognitive skills, those struggling today risk being left behind permanently.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 25, 2020 - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

Updated Nov 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.