STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV)- Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum said the university is fully committed to welcoming students back to campus this fall and that plans to resume in-person classroom and laboratory instruction in the Fall 2020 semester are “on schedule and taking solid form” as the university continues development of specific new operating guidelines.
Keenum on April 28 announced MSU’s “institutional intention” for MSU to resume more traditional operations in the fall. Under Keenum’s direction, the university has 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.
With MSU Provost David Shaw’s leadership position on the state task force in developing strategies for the reopening of all of the state’s public universities, Keenum said MSU will benefit from the expertise of other veteran higher education administrators on the IHL task force and share that information with MSU’s COVID-19 task force. Joining Shaw on the IHL task force is MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt. Rankins appointed two administrators from each of the state’s eight public universities to comprise the task force.
Keenum said MSU’s COVID-19 task force would develop a strategy to reopen that included guidance and input from the IHL task force, direct input from MSU stakeholders, and the shared governance model that already exists on the MSU campus with faculty, staff and students.