Mississippi State plans broader return to in-person classes this fall

Mississippi State Starkville campus (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)
Mississippi State Starkville campus (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)(WTOK)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 2:25 PM CDT
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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTOK) - Mississippi State University is planning a broader return to in-person instruction and normal operations this fall.

“I believe our students, faculty and staff have done a heroic job dealing with the challenges of the pandemic,” said MSU president, Dr. Mark Keenum. “Now, following evolving guidance from federal and state authorities, I believe that MSU is ready to move decisively toward a more normal college experience. If we all continue to observe sensible COVID-19 protocols on our campus and vaccinations continue to progress, the Fall 2021 semester can be the beginning of that necessary and appropriate transition to normalcy.”

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw echoed Keenum’s comments. “After COVID-19 changed almost every aspect of the Mississippi State experience for the past year, we’re eager to get back to in-person educational, research, residential and extracurricular activities that are the foundation of the Bulldog family. This certainly wouldn’t be possible without the students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni who have boldly faced the adversities of the past year and used their skills and creativity to get us to this point.”

Students are scheduled to return to the classroom Aug. 18.
The university said plans indicate that the level of in-person instruction will be much like that of fall 2019 when looking at course delivery and attendance.
Other goals and expectations include:
— Residence halls returning to full occupancy, with first-year freshmen required to live on campus
— Buildings and facilities resuming normal hours and larger capacity, including dining, library, student union and recreation services
— Parking operations continuing as normal into the fall with increased capacity and improvements through a new parking lot on Stone Boulevard, north parking garage on Bailey Howell Drive, and paving of the commuter east lot behind the Industrial Education Building
— SMART shuttles continuing operations into the fall with normal service hours and scheduling, and anticipation of increased ridership per bus beyond the current 50% vehicle capacity
— Faculty and staff returning to offices and regular workplace activities.

“Of course, we will continue to evaluate and aid students with individual needs, such as travel or health concerns. We also will be monitoring, as we have since last spring, public health protocols and directives as we move closer to the fall semester,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt.

Hyatt explained that plans for fall are being made with the hope that vaccines remain widely available and have been widely adopted by students and MSU employees prior to the return of the fall semester.

“There continues to be a need for public health precautions, but we are optimistic they won’t be as restrictive as we work to finalize our plans,” she said.

In looking at the fall semester, below are dates to remember:
Aug. 14 – Residence Hall Move-In Begins
Aug. 18 – Classes begin
Aug. 24 – Fall Convocation
Oct. 7 and 8 – Fall Break
Nov. 24-26 – Thanksgiving holiday
Dec. 3 and 6-9 – Final Exams
Dec. 9 – MSU-Meridian Commencement
Dec. 10 – MSU Starkville Campus Commencement

An expanded schedule can be found here.

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