On Thursday, the University of Mississippi released its official “Campus Ready” plan for the fall 2020 semester.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while returning to in-person operations, the university is implementing new protocols for everyone on campus, a modified academic calendar, forms of both in-person and remote classes, mandatory training for students and staff, plus daily symptom checks.
“The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus,” Chancellor Glenn F. Boyce wrote in a letter to the campus community. “To that end, we have redesigned fundamental aspects of campus life in an effort to mitigate the risk of virus spread and help us all keep each other healthy. I know we’re all eager to return and regain our sense of community and connections to one another. Fall will be here before we know it, and it will require all of us working collectively and in alignment to limit the spread of the virus and bring people back to our beautiful campus.”
Quick rundown of the “Campus Ready” plan:
- Modified Academic Calendar: The fall 2020 semester will begin on August 24 with the last day of classes being on November 17. Final exams will be administered from November 18-24.
- Course Delivery: Classroom capacities will be reduced to comply with regulations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Mandatory Training: All employees and students will be required to complete an online training module related to COVID-19 before returning to campus.
- Daily Symptom Checker: Employees and students will be checked for coronavirus symptoms before going to campus each day.
The “Campus Ready” plan was developed in alignment with Governor Reeves’ Safe Return Order, the city of Oxford’s Serving Oxford Safely plan, the IHL Safe Start Task Force, the CDC, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and the American College Health Association.
The plan, according to Boyce, could be successful if and only if students and employees work together to follow the protocols.
“If we cannot achieve full compliance with the protocols across our entire community and the university experiences prolific spread of the virus, we will have no choice but to scale back on-campus operations and take more drastic measures to prevent further spread,” he said. “If we all do our part to prevent the virus from spreading using the protocols, our level of activity on campus in the fall can be greater.”