USM announces condensed schedule for upcoming fall semester

The University of Southern Mississippi has announced a condensed schedule for the 2020 fall semester. 

According to an update provided by the university, USM will begin the semester on Monday, August 17, and end regular instruction on Monday, Nov. 23—prior to the student Thanksgiving holidays Wednesday, Nov. 25, through Friday, Nov. 27. Semester exams will be conducted online, beginning on Monday, Nov. 30, and concluding on Thursday, Dec. 3. Previously, the schedule called for classes to begin on Monday, August 24. The modified schedule also eliminates the traditional Fall Break for students in mid-October.

The plan was created in an “effort to limit student travel into and out of the region and help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.”

“As we prepare for resuming on-campus operations, the safety and health of our USM community remains our top priority,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “The condensed fall calendar will present new challenges, but the fall semester will undoubtedly be another opportunity for USM to demonstrate our proven ability to meet any challenge with innovation and determination.”

USM is implementing plans for faculty and staff to begin returning to campuses in a phased approach, beginning in early June and continuing into mid-July in preparation.

USM stated that additional health protocols and procedures will be in place in the fall and that the IHL’s ‘Safe Start Task Force’ will continue to provide guidance along with public health officials. 

Recently, the IHL passed a resolution stating the Board’s intention that the campuses of all eight public universities make plans to resume traditional operations on their campuses in the fall.

As for sporting events and other large gatherings, USM stated that public health guidelines will determine their approach.