Colleges and universities planning for the fall semester
Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum said the university is fully committed to welcoming students back to campus this fall. He says the plan is to resume in-person classroom and laboratory instruction in the fall 2020 semester as the university continues development of specific new operating guidelines.
Keenum announced Apr. 28 MSU’s “institutional intention” to resume more traditional operations in the fall. The university convened a COVID-19 task force that is focused on fostering a safe environment for the return of MSU students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus within the confines of official federal and state government guidance and that of the leadership of recognized public health agencies.
The MSU task force will produce guidelines to assist MSU across all campuses in transitioning back to more traditional campus activities. These will include:
* Revising the academic calendar to minimize disruption.
* Focusing on spread reduction techniques including social and physical distancing, increased cleaning and disinfectant protocols across facilities, and the availability and use of face coverings.
* Re-populating MSU through a robust screening strategy bolstered by testing where needed and contact tracing. Containment and isolation procedures if positive COVID-19 cases become present on campus.
* Exploring the appropriate mixture of hybrid, online, and face-to-face instruction, classroom and other facilities usage, and innovative class scheduling.
* Considering innovative and alternative best practices in campus life, business functions, athletics, Extension and other public outreach, and campus life.
Millsaps College also plans for students to be back on campus for the fall semester, beginning Aug. 24. It plans to support remote instruction options in all classes for any students who are unable to return to campus.
“We expect at least some of our students will not be able to return to campus for a variety of personal reasons, including potentially their health or the health of a family member,” says Millsaps College President Dr. Rob Pearigen. “Our faculty are working tirelessly to offer a high-quality educational experience to adequately serve all of our students for the upcoming semester.”
In addition to committing to both on-campus and remote instruction for all classes during the upcoming semester, Pearigen has formed six planning groups to assist with the many facets of the college’s on-campus COVID-19 response.
Planning group membership includes students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees. The group is focused on the academic program; commencement and special events; community life including Division III athletics; finances; instructional technology and services; and return-to-campus preparations.