Mississippi’s eight public universities have modified the schedules for the spring semester classes to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus.
“The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are paramount,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. “Our universities are modifying the schedules for the spring semester out of an abundance of caution.”
All eight universities, including Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi are observing Spring Break this week and will extend Spring Break an additional week, which will allow faculty members time to prepare to offer classes remotely.
Classes will resume the following week, on Monday, March 23, and will be taught online and via other alternative instructional methods. Students are encouraged to remain at home and will participate in their classes remotely. Students enrolled in professional and graduate programs will be notified of any exceptions to meet clinical and other requirements.
“The situation remains fluid and university plans are subject to change in response to new information and recommendations received,” said Rankins. “We continue to work with the Mississippi Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness and Response Planning Steering Committee and the Mississippi State Department of Health as we develop our plans for the coming weeks and months. Our goal is to mitigate the risks posed by the coronavirus while maintaining the quality and integrity of our instructional programs.”
Faculty, staff, students and their families should monitor their university’s website, official social media accounts and their email daily for updated information.
As of this report, no decision has been announced for the state’s community colleges.
During a Thursday press conference, officials with the Mississippi Department of Health said they did “not have any intent of giving recommendations to close” elementary or high schools.