Dear students, faculty, staff,

There is much excitement about our planned in-person return to campus this fall. Our students want to be back on our beautiful campus; and our staff and faculty are eager to fulfill our university’s vital missions of education, research, engagement and service to our state.

We also know many of you are wondering what our return looks like.

This update addresses some of the frequent questions we’re hearing. We are also launching our Show Me Renewal website featuring the latest information for students, staff and faculty, and hosting virtual town halls later in July.

All of our plans are living documents and will likely change as the situation evolves. Flexibility and an ability to pivot are essential as this global pandemic evolves. We are closely monitoring the public health situation and guidance at local, state, federal and global levels. We are not alone in this daunting task, as universities nationwide are working through the same challenges to manage this virus until a vaccine is found.

At Mizzou, we are fortunate to have a talented team of more than 135 professionals who worked several months determining the details of our re-opening plan. Our campus also benefits tremendously from our own world-class medical experts and extensive health care system (which is right on our campus). We built our plans on their expertise, advice of public health officials and CDC guidance. This in-house expertise and our public health officials will help us manage and track the virus with their testing, tracing and isolation strategies.

Our plans are focused on an in-person fall return, with creative use of technology and some online strategies to achieve social distancing. Faculty are preparing all courses with sufficient flexibility to transition to full remote instruction should public health conditions shift.

Precautionary changes will impact nearly every aspect of campus life — how we live, study and work. Our success will depend on everyone in our community sharing responsibility in our collective health and wellbeing.

To that end, we have and will continue to develop new practices to make our fall semester together safe and productive. Our campus strategies are built around the principle that our strongest defense to slow the spread of the virus is for all of us to adopt two important behaviors:

  • Maintaining 6-feet distance from others.
  • Monitoring our symptoms and temperatures on a daily basis.

Building these important habits into our routines will be our greatest opportunity for a healthy Mizzou. We know our Tigers will support each other and our community by committing to these basic tenets.

Beyond these critical behaviors, we highlight below other measures in our full student plan. That plan is posted here and will be updated regularly on the Show Me Renewal website. Staff and faculty can also find specific information on the site.

FACE COVERINGS:

  • IN CLASSROOMS AND BUILDINGS: Face coverings will be required in classrooms and recommended when in open areas within buildings. However, face coverings are not required for those who work in office locations where they can achieve social distancing of 6 feet.
  • FACE COVERING SUPPLIES: All students, staff and faculty are expected to supply their own face coverings upon their return to campus. The university has a limited supply of face coverings for students who may forget to bring them to class, and plans to distribute supply bags (with face coverings, hand sanitizer, wipes and reminders) to students and employees at the beginning of the term.
  • WHEN SUSTAINED 6-FOOT DISTANCE IS DIFFICULT: Face coverings should be worn any time contact within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more cannot be avoided. Face coverings should not be seen as a replacement for social distancing.
  • LOCAL REQUIREMENTS: Our policies regarding face coverings will adjust according to any changes in local public health requirements and guidance.

TESTING AND TRACING

  • TESTING: Any student showing symptoms can be tested for COVID-19 either through the MU Student Health Center or their health care provider. Employees are encouraged to contact their health care provider for guidance and referrals for testing. Everyone should monitor their own symptoms daily with a symptom checklist or other recording tools.
  • CONTACT TRACING: If one of our students or employees tests positive, we will work with public health officials to provide robust contact tracing teams to isolate others who may have been impacted.
  • ISOLATION FACILITIES: For students living in campus housing, the university has lodging set aside to isolate positive cases and quarantine their close contacts. For those living off campus, university staff will assist with isolation plans that include food delivery and direction from public health officials.
  • LIMIT CONTACT BEFORE RETURN TO CAMPUS: Students are asked to limit contact with others starting two weeks before the first day of classes on Aug. 24.

INFORMATION AND EDUCATION

  • Training on fall semester practices and expectations will be required for all students before arriving on campus. Those online modules are in development and more information will be shared soon.
  • A coordinated communications campaign across campus will remind all of us of the expected safety precautions and personal habits.
  • We will continue to provide updates with new information or significant changes.

COURSE SCHEDULES

Our academic team has found creative ways to meet social distancing requirements by ensuring appropriate space around students during classes and other activities. These solutions are driving the need for adjustments in the fall schedule, which now has varied class formats to support vital student experiences and student health. These formats include:

BLENDED: Class includes both face-to-face and online material. Two common blended options are:

  • Class splits: Part of the class attends in person on one day, while the rest take that day online and then they rotate.
  • Lecture/discussion group: Lectures for the whole class would be online. Smaller discussion sections would be in person.

FACE TO FACE: Since these courses require room for social distancing within the classroom, they will be moved to larger rooms. Or, smaller classrooms will be capped at a lower number of students.

FULLY ONLINE: In a fully online course, the instructors will decide which structure they will use:

  • Attend virtually at the time the class is taught (synchronous learning).
  • Complete the online materials on your schedule, known as a self-paced course (asynchronous learning).

We also will offer more remote options to accommodate instructors and students who may be in high-risk populations, as well as give students online access to all course materials if they miss class due to illness.

CAMPUS HOUSING MOVE-IN

  • To limit large gatherings and allow for social distancing, we expanded the length of the move-in period.
  • To limit large gatherings and allow for social distancing, we expanded the length of the move-in period.
  • To move into fall 2020 housing assignments, students must arrive to campus with a face covering, thermometer, hand sanitizer and cleaning products to assist with sanitizing their living area.
  • Students should prepare to complete their move within the 90-minute window and up to two individuals can accompany them.

While there is no blueprint for life in and after a pandemic, we will continue to work through more precautions and procedures to support safety on our campus. While this note highlights a few of the major areas of interest, we invite you to learn more on the Show Me Renewal site. There, you can find detailed reports covering aspects of academics, research and other areas. You can also offer your ideas for how our Tiger community can work together during this challenging time.

It will take positive actions of every one of us to build our new normal. We have immense confidence in the leadership, citizenship and can-do spirit of the Mizzou family.

MIZ!

Mun Y. Choi, Ph.D.
President, UM System and Interim Chancellor, University of Missouri

Latha Ramchand, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Missouri