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COVID-19 Response

Fall 2020 Transition

July 28, 2020

Message from the President: Fall 2020 Transition

Dear Students:

As we prepare to resume in-person classes and operations this fall, we are also carefully monitoring the continued increases in cases of COVID-19 across the state of Mississippi. To help ensure a successful transition, we are adjusting plans to allow a phased transition period before larger in-person course activities take place. 

All classes will still begin as scheduled on Monday, August 17, but traditional lecture course work will be delivered remotely for the first three weeks of the semester, with in-person meetings for face-to-face and hybrid lecture classes beginning on Tuesday, September 8.

  • This change only affects the delivery of course content; no changes to the academic calendar will be made at this time.
  • Most labs, clinicals, and other applied courses will meet face-to-face during this time, with all applicable health protocols being enforced. Once the semester begins, please check your Canvas course shells for details.
  • Your course instructors will be available to communicate with you through Canvas, email, or video office hours.
  • All essential programs and services will be open and available to you during this transition period, including Eagle Dining, Student Health Services, all University Libraries, Student Counseling Services, all centers for advisement and student success, and other academic support resources.
  • Campus Recreation, the Office of Leadership and Student Involvement, the Gulf Park Fitness Center, and other student activities areas will be open, with modified procedures in place to comply with current health and prevention protocols.
  • If you plan to live in on-campus housing this fall, you should still move in at your scheduled date and time. During the first three weeks you are living on campus, Housing and Residence Life will implement special programming to provide you with important health protocols and information specific to living in a residential community.
  • While you are encouraged to bring your own face coverings with you, face coverings will be provided at check-in for on-campus residents and will be available for pick-up at select student events.
  • Please visit the Flight Path: Fall 2020 website for more information as plans continue to evolve. 

Do Your Part: Community Standards

USM’s Community Standards will be enforced for all in-person activities. I invite you to view and share this new video:

As a reminder, regardless of whether you will live on or off campus this fall, the University encourages you to self-isolate to the extent possible for 14 days prior to returning to campus, so that when you do return, you are doing so in a manner that is reducing the likelihood of a potential COVID-19 outbreak on our campuses. If you are sick, please do not return to campus, and notify the Dean of Students office of the delay in your anticipated arrival by emailing dosFREEMississippi.

The University will continue to do all that we can to limit the spread of COVID-19, while encouraging your academic success – we will continue to listen to public health experts and implement each measure they recommend. But our collective success is ultimately determined by you, our students. This fall, you must do your part. Your health and your family’s health depend on it. The health of your classmates depends on it. The health of the entire University of Southern Mississippi community depends on it.

Thank you for your commitment to your success and the success of The University of Southern Mississippi. Our University’s history is rich with stories of students, faculty and staff who have embraced challenge, persevered and succeeded. I know that you will once again rise above the significant obstacles before us.

To The Top – Together,

Rodney D. Bennett