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Update - May 22, 2020

Statewide Safer at Home Order

 

Update - May 15, 2020

Celebrating the Class of 2020

 

Update - May 11, 2020

  • The University has been informed that a graduate student who lives off campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual has been in contact with Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center and is currently self-isolating at home.

Statewide Safer at Home Order

 

Update - May 8, 2020

CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants

  • The University of Southern Mississippi has finalized the process for distributing $6,753,021 in CARES Act funding designated for Emergency Financial Aid Grants for students.
    • Students who believe they are eligible to receive CARES emergency funds must complete an online application to certify that they have incurred qualifying expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, in accordance with United States Department of Education guidelines.
    • Reminder: Students must also complete a 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to confirm eligibility for CARES emergency funds.
    • Specific application instructions and eligibility requirements have been sent to students via email.

 

Update - May 6, 2020

Public Access and Events

  • Given the continuing evolution of public health guidelines related to COVID-19, the following restrictions are extended through June 1, 2020, at which time these guidelines will be reevaluated.
    • Public access for visitors to all USM campuses and sites remains suspended.
    • All events sponsored by USM or hosted in USM facilities are canceled.
    • All in-person campus tours remain suspended.
  • Beginning June 1, 2020, the Union Complex and Conference and Event Services expect to be open for select meetings, events, and camps in a limited capacity, depending upon the current status of local, state, and federal guidelines, including recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
    • University units, student groups, external clients, and University community members may call 601.266.4399 or email cesFREEMississippi%20to discuss possible events or summer programs, or to request more information about the current capabilities of the Union Complex and Conference and Event Services.

University Travel

  • University-sponsored domestic and international travel will remain suspended through June 30, 2020, at which time these guidelines will be reevaluated.
    • Requests for exceptions based on mission-critical institutional priorities may be considered on a case by case basis and will require approval by each division’s executive officer.

Library Materials Return

  • University Libraries is now accepting returns of books and materials.
    • Items from Cook, Gulf Coast and Gunter Libraries may be returned via book drops at Cook Library and the Gulf Coast Library or by mail.
    • No fines or fees will be assessed for these materials.
    • Email access.servicesFREEMississippi with questions or concerns.
    • Mailing addresses:
      • USM Cook Library: 118 College Drive #5053, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
      • USM Gulf Coast Library: 730 East Beach Blvd. #5128, Long Beach, MS 39560
      • USM Gunter Library: 703 East Beach Drive #5118, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

 

Update - May 5, 2020

CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants

  • The University of Southern Mississippi will receive $6,753,021 in CARES Act funding designated for Emergency Financial Aid Grants for students. University officials are finalizing a process for distributing those funds directly to students, in consultation with the State Institutions of Higher Learning system office and the United States Department of Education. Although institutions have been given a one-year time frame to distribute all funds, USM’s goal is to distribute CARES Act funds as soon as possible.
    • Students must meet eligibility requirements determined by the United States Department of Education and have a 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file to confirm eligibility for CARES emergency funds.
    • Specific eligibility requirements and FAFSA filing instructions have been sent to students via email.

 

Update - May 1, 2020

Housing, Meal Plan and Parking Permit Refunds

  • Prorated housing, meal plan, and parking permit refunds have been processed for 8,160 students who were eligible to receive refunds in accordance with guidance from the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).
    • Specific instructions for viewing credit adjustments and refund amounts have been sent via email to eligible students whose refunds have been processed.
    • 189 student accounts are still being evaluated to determine eligibility for students who have unique circumstances. Applicable updates will be emailed directly to those students as soon as possible.

CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants

  • The University is developing a process for the distribution of CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants for students, in consultation with the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) system office and the United States Department of Education. Grants will be distributed as soon as the process is finalized. Specific details will be shared with students via email in the coming weeks.

 

Update - April 29, 2020

  • Today, The University of Southern Mississippi announced plans to resume on-campus operations this fall. The regular semester is currently scheduled to begin on August 24, 2020. These plans could change, as guidance from public health officials monitoring COVID-19 continues to evolve. In preparation for this transition, modified policies and procedures are being developed for implementation across the institution, including expanded health and safety protocols and flexible course formats, which will allow the institution to adapt more easily to changes in the environment.

 

Update - April 24, 2020

Statewide Safer at Home Order

  • Students, faculty, and staff should review Executive Order #1477 issued by Governor Tate Reeves on April 24, 2020, which implements a statewide Safer at Home Order until May 11, 2020, unless rescinded, modified or extended.

 

Update - April 20, 2020

Summer Course Update

  • For the Summer 2020 term, the standard Online Delivery Fee of $20 per credit hour will be waived for all classes that were converted from face-to-face to online formats due to COVID-19.
  • In addition, for students who had enrolled in fully online Summer classes prior to COVID-19, the Online Delivery Fee will be waived for this Summer term to provide some relief from financial challenges those students may now be facing as a result of COVID-19.
  • Students who have not yet been advised for Summer 2020 courses should contact their advisor as listed in their SOAR Student Center, or submit general questions through the Ask-an-Advisor form linked on the Advisement Center website.

 

Update - April 17, 2020

HELP Grant for Students

  • Students have until April 30, 2020, to submit supporting documents, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in order to qualify for the HELP Grant, a state-supported student financial aid program. Additional information is available on the Mississippi Public Universities website.

Statewide Shelter in Place

  • Students, faculty, and staff should review Executive Order #1473 issued by Governor Tate Reeves on April 17, 2020, which extends the statewide Shelter in Place order until April 27, 2020.

Public Access, Events and Travel

  • Given the continuing evolution of public health guidelines related to COVID-19, the following restrictions are extended through May 15, 2020, at which time these guidelines will be reevaluated.
    • Public access for visitors to all USM campuses and sites remains suspended.
      • All events sponsored by USM or hosted in USM facilities are canceled.
      • All in-person campus tours remain suspended.
    • All University-sponsored domestic and international travel remains suspended.

Reminder: Protective Face Coverings

 

Update - April 10, 2020

 

Update - April 9, 2020

Protective Face Coverings

Union Plaza Access

  • Beginning Monday, April 13, access to Union Plaza between The Rock and Cook Union will be restricted due to construction. Students who need to access dining services should follow all applicable directional signage.

Reminder: University Holiday

  • All University offices will be closed on April 10 (Good Friday).

 

Update - April 8, 2020

Undergraduate Admissions

  • The Office of Admissions is temporarily waiving the requirement for high school seniors to submit an ACT or SAT score to complete an application for freshman admission for the Fall 2020 term.
    • Students who meet the State Institutions of Higher Learning requirement of a 3.2 core high school grade point average (GPA) will be admissible without test scores, provided all other application criteria are met.
    • Please be aware that students will need to submit official ACT or SAT score reports for placement purposes before advisement at New Student Orientation, or no later than August 24, 2020.
    • Details are available on the Admissions Requirements web page.

Reminders: Mental Health Resources

  • For Students
    • Stay connected while social distancing with new Virtual Activities and Programming.
    • Check out Campus Recreation’s new virtual fitness and wellness resources, including daily workout videos, interactive programming, and online intramural leagues.
    • For immediate relief in managing stressors, try Eagle Cares.
    • Student Counseling Services remains available to assist students who may be feeling anxiety related to COVID-19 or social isolation.
      • Counselors are available remotely for students who are currently residing in Mississippi.
      • Counselors will assist students who are currently residing out-of-state with finding resources where they are located.
      • Students may call 601.266.4829 for assistance during normal business hours.
      • For after-hours and weekend emergencies, call 601.606.4357.
      • More information is available on the Student Counseling Services website.
  • For Benefit-Eligible Employees
    • USM’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), GuidanceResources, has a Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources toolkit available online. Access instructions for benefit-eligible employees and their dependents are available on the Human Resources website.
    • Remember, benefit eligible employees and members of their household have telephonic access to talk to a counselor, financial advisor or legal advisor: 800.272.7255.

 

Update - April 7, 2020

Gulf Park New Student Orientation

  • Orientation for new students on the Gulf Park campus has been tentatively rescheduled for August 12, 2020, pending future public health guidance as COVID-19 continues to evolve. Students who have already registered will receive specific updates via email. More information is available on the Orientation at Gulf Park web page.

Gulf Park Student Resources

Reminder: Summer and Fall Advising

Reminder: eTextbooks

  • USM students can access more than 55,000 eTextbooks from Barnes & Noble through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Details are available on the Advisement Center's eTextbooks web page. The closure of Barnes & Noble store locations has been extended to April 20, 2020, pending future public health guidance.

 

Update - April 6, 2020

  • The University of Southern Mississippi is honored to join Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, along with organizations and individuals across Mississippi, in the ringing of the bells each day at 6 p.m., from today through April 20, in a symbol of solidarity for healthcare workers on the front lines and those who are ill.

  Prevention

  • Wash Hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid Close Contact with other people and practice social distancing.

CDC Prevention Guidelines

Student Health Services COVID-19 Updates

CDC Protection Guidelines

Student Health Services COVID-19 Updates

 

Update - April 3, 2020

Student Health Services Hours

  • Clinic and pharmacy hours for Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center have been updated to 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The clinic and pharmacy will be closed April 10 (Good Friday).
    • Call ahead if you experience COVID-19 symptoms (fever of 100.4F or higher, cough, or difficulty breathing).
    • More information about telemedicine and pharmacy pick-up options for routine health needs is available on their website.

Updated Internet Access Information

 

Update - April 2, 2020

Students: Listen Up!

For many of us, being cooped up and practicing social distancing are challenging. But these things matter. The farther we stay apart now, the sooner we will be able to get back together in the future and do the things we enjoy, including hanging out with friends, going back to regular routines, game day activities, and making our own mark to leave Southern Miss better than we found it.

  • Help Stop the Spread - Flatten the Curve
    • Even if you are otherwise healthy, you should continue to practice social distancing and avoid non-essential movements. This includes:
      • Avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people; and
      • Keeping 6 feet of space between you and others whenever possible.
    • Regardless of where you are, follow all applicable local and state public health guidelines.
    • Even if you don't feel ill, you may still be spreading the virus to others.
  • Don’t Forget to Manage Stress
    • Eat well, sleep well, and stay hydrated.
    • Connect virtually to supportive friends and family. Make virtual plans in advance, and be accountable to one another with those plans.
    • Focus on what you can control.
    • For immediate relief in managing stressors, try Eagle Cares.
    • Student Counseling Services remains available to assist students who may be feeling anxiety related to COVID-19 or social isolation.
      • Counselors are available remotely for students who are currently residing in Mississippi.
      • Counselors will assist students who are currently residing out-of-state with finding resources where they are located.
      • Students may call 601.266.4829 for assistance during normal business hours.
      • For after-hours and weekend emergencies, call 601.606.4357.
      • More information is available on the Student Counseling Services website.
  • If You Experience COVID-19 Symptoms
    • If you experience symptoms (fever of 100.4F or higher, cough, or difficulty breathing), self-isolate immediately, and call ahead to Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center or your primary care physician.
    • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
    • You should stay home except for medical care.

 

Update - April 1, 2020

  • To ensure continued compliance with evolving federal, state, and local public health guidelines, including Executive Order #1466 issued by Governor Tate Reeves on April 1, 2020, the University is implementing additional steps to further limit the presence of individuals on all campuses and sites. Per the Executive Order, these expanded restrictions will be in place until April 20, 2020, unless rescinded, modified, or extended.
    • All course work will continue in online or other alternative remote delivery formats.
    • Students who have been approved to remain in on-campus housing due to extraordinary circumstances must limit their movements to dining and health services only, and they should keep their USM ID with them at all times.
    • Public access for visitors to all USM locations remains suspended.
    • All vehicular and pedestrian traffic on University property is strongly discouraged.
    • All University Libraries locations will be closed, effective no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.
      • Physical materials will not be accessible for use or circulation, but electronic collections and resources will remain available virtually through the University Libraries website and through interlibrary loan.
      • Students may submit questions about library resources through the Ask-a-Librarian form.
    • Effective Friday, April 3, all employees must refrain from traveling to any USM campus or site unless they have specifically been assigned to work on-site and received an official notice in writing.
      • This restriction includes all faculty and instructors of record.
      • Supervisors will communicate related expectations directly to employees who may be affected.
      • Employees must pick up any additional on-site supplies they need to work remotely by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.
      • Employees who receive official notice to continue working on-site must continue to keep their USM ID with them at all times and must limit their time on-site to the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, unless their assigned work shift or an emergency requires otherwise.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • Congress has enacted a new law, effective April 1, 2020, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In response, University Human Resources has updated the Employee Handbook with two new policies: 5.11 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (COVID-19), and 6.14 Expanded FMLA Leave (COVID-19). The COVID-19 Employment FAQs have been updated to reflect these new policies. A notice of this new law is also available for review.

Title IX Office

 

Update - March 31, 2020

Student Health Reminders

  • Help Stop the Spread – Flatten the Curve
    • Mississippi is predicted to reach its peak infectivity mid-April to early May, and each individual must follow CDC prevention guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
    • Even if you are otherwise healthy, you should continue to practice social distancing and avoid non-essential movements. This includes:
      • Avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people; and
      • Keeping 6 feet of space between you and others whenever possible.
    • Regardless of where you are, follow all applicable local and state public health guidelines.
  • If You Experience Symptoms
    • If you experience COVID-19 symptoms (fever of 100.4F or higher, cough, or difficulty breathing), self-isolate immediately, and call ahead to Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center or your primary care physician.
    • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
    • You should stay home except for medical care.
  • Routine Health Needs

Remote Tutoring Resources

Changes to State and Local Guidelines

  • The University is monitoring recently announced state and local guidelines applicable to some Mississippi counties and municipalities, particularly those along the coast. University officials are evaluating the possible impact similar guidelines may have for employees who are currently assigned to work remotely and the limited number of employees who are currently assigned to work on-site across all USM locations. Supervisors will communicate related updates directly to employees who may be affected.

 

Update - March 30, 2020 - 8 p.m.

  • The University has been informed that a mechanical subcontractor’s employee, who was part of a construction crew working on the Hattiesburg campus, has tested positive for COVID-19. The construction worker has not been on campus for 10 days and was working in an isolated construction zone in Cook Library, with limited interactions with others in the building. USM has suspended the construction project in accordance with recommended public health guidelines. Employees who work in Cook Library were notified and advised to continue following public health guidance for prevention and protection.

Commencement

  • Commencement ceremonies have tentatively been rescheduled for the following dates. Please note these plans are subject to change, pending future public health guidance as COVID-19 circumstances continue to evolve.
    • Graduate students based on the Hattiesburg campus – August 20, 2020
    • Undergraduate students based on the Hattiesburg campus – August 21, 2020
    • Graduate and undergraduate students based at coastal operations – August 22, 2020
  • Students who are eligible for graduation will receive specific information from the Office of the Registrar via email in the coming weeks.
    • Students who previously registered to participate in May ceremonies do not need to take action at this time.
    • Students who did not previously register should follow instructions they receive via email to reserve a seat.
      • Students who complete all degree requirements during Spring 2020 or Summer 2020 semesters will have the option to participate in August or December Commencement ceremonies.
    • Additional information will be posted on the Office of the Registrar’s Commencement web page as details become available. Questions may be directed to graduationFREEMississippi.

Internet Access

Alternative Grade Options

  • For Spring 2020 courses, students will have the ability to make a one-time request to change grades to alternative options that will provide credit for hours earned but will not impact GPA. Standard letter grades are expected to be posted by May 20, and students will have until May 27 to decide if they wish to keep their standard letter grade or request a permanent change to one of the grades listed below. Details are available on the Office of the Registrar’s Spring 2020 Grade Options web page.
  • For Undergraduate Courses
    • Z Grade: Means “Pass” and satisfies all pre-requisite requirements. Has no GPA impact.
      • Can replace grades of A, B, or C or higher at the undergraduate level
    • P Grade: Means “Pass.” Has no GPA impact.
      • Can replace grades of D at the undergraduate level
    • NP Grades: Means “No Pass” and does not give any class credit. Has no GPA impact.
      • Can replace grades of F at the undergraduate level
  • For Graduate Courses
    • Z Grade: Means “Pass” and satisfies all pre-requisite requirements. Has no GPA impact.
      • Can replace grades of B+, B, or B- at the graduate level
    • PS Grades: Means “Pass.” Has no GPA impact.
      • Can replace grades of C+ or C at the graduate level
    • NP Grades: Means “No Pass” and does not give any class credit. Has no GPA impact.
      • Can replace grades of C- or below at the graduate level
  • These grades cannot be applied to January Intersession or first half-term (8W1) classes for Spring 2020.
  • If students choose to change any grade, it cannot be changed back. The change is permanent.
  • Students will not earn quality points, and GPA will not be impacted by the alternative grades. If students are on any type of probation, probation continued, or suspension, they should talk with their advisor about whether they should change their grades.
  • Student-athletes must talk with their academic counselor before changing grades.

Graduate Admissions

  • The Graduate School will be authorizing standardized test waivers (excluding English proficiency exams) to applicants for the Summer and Fall 2020 terms. Please be aware that applicants to certain programs will not be eligible for this waiver due to accrediting or state and/or federal admission guidelines. Details are available on the Graduate Admissions website.

New Student Orientation

  • May and June student Orientation dates will be tentatively rescheduled for July and August, pending future public health guidance as COVID-19 continues to evolve. Students who have already registered will receive specific updates directly from the Office of Orientation and Transition Programs.

Summer Courses

  • All summer undergraduate courses and many graduate courses will be delivered online or through other alternate remote delivery formats.
  • Students who have not yet been advised for summer courses should contact their advisor as listed in their SOAR Student Center, or submit general questions through the Ask-an-Advisor form linked on the Advisement Center website.

 

Update - March 30, 2020

Message from the President

Dear Southern Miss Community,

Today marks an important day in the history of our institution, as we begin to deliver our entire curriculum remotely as part of The University of Southern Mississippi’s response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. It is fitting that we begin this new journey, together, on the 110th anniversary of our institution’s legislative founding.

The past few weeks have brought with them more uncertainty than many of us have experienced in our lifetime – and we do not yet know exactly what tomorrow will bring. Even so, I am confident that we will continue to rise above the unknown challenges of COVID-19 with the same grit, determination, and resilience that has characterized the Southern Miss we know and love for decades.

Each of you have demonstrated your commitment to supporting each other in the face of this international public health crisis.

  • As students – you have remained engaged and followed CDC guidance to help protect yourselves and those closest to you. I am deeply grateful for your patience and adaptability as our faculty, staff, and executive leadership team have worked quickly to implement changes designed to support your success. I encourage you to continue consulting resources to help you Keep Learning during this transition, and to contact your instructors or the Dean of Students office if you need assistance.
  • As faculty and staff – you have worked countless hours to learn new technologies and convert course work, operations, and services to remote formats. I sincerely appreciate your dedication to making this transition as seamless as possible for our students and your willingness to remain flexible throughout this ever-evolving situation.
  • As alumni and friends – you have helped to share the University’s COVID-19 response updates, and you have supported one another as neighbors and as members of our Golden Eagle family. Thank you for continuing to demonstrate the Southern Miss Spirit to the world, despite the uncertainty we all now face.

Even though our immediate future is different than what we had planned, and many of the decisions we are forced to make bring with them great disappointment, I remain encouraged and inspired by each of you. In a time when we must remain physically apart from one another, each of you have demonstrated that nothing can temper the Southern Miss Spirit – and you have proven, yet again, what we all know to be true.

The Southern Miss we know is built upon the unwavering caliber of our people. We are not afraid. We do not hide. We do not stop when something challenges our dreams. We band together. We support one another. And we overcome any obstacle with courage, persistence, and compassion for our fellow Golden Eagles.

Moving forward, our collective success will not be determined by any one individual or any one group. Each of us has a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families, and to support each other, to the extent we are able to do so. This too shall pass – and when it passes, I look forward to celebrating extraordinary stories of how each of us overcame all odds, as I know we will do.

And so, on this 110th anniversary, I know that each of you join me in being grateful for The University of Southern Mississippi, an institution that means so much to so many – an institution that has provided each of us with opportunities we otherwise would not have had. Thank you, again, for your part in creating our Southern Miss legacy.

Sincerely,

Rodney D. Bennett

President

 

Update - March 27, 2020

Student Academic Resources

 

Update - March 26, 2020

Student Reminders

Student Teaching and Licensure Update

 

Update - March 25, 2020

 

Update - March 24, 2020

  • Student Counseling Services remains available to assist students. Please visit their website for current details.
  • USM’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), GuidanceResources, now has a Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources toolkit available online. Access instructions for benefit-eligible employees and their dependents are available on the Human Resources website.

 

Update - March 23, 2020

  • All students who have traveled out of state during Spring Break should follow CDC prevention guidelines, including:
    • Self-isolate for 14 days and monitor your health.
    • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times daily and monitor for symptoms.
    • If you get sick with fever (100.4F or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing, call ahead to Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center or your primary care physician.
  • Students who live in campus housing should check their email for information about updated housing access policies.
  • The Eagle’s Nest food pantry has limited services to a grab-and-go window. Pre-selected bags of food can be picked up on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, as long as supplies are available. The Eagle’s Nest is located off of Eagle Walk in the former Stone’s Throw building.
  • The University is sensitive to the additional burden and impact this international public health crisis has on our students and their families. We are continuing to explore all options that are consistent with state and federal law to provide as much relief to families as we can. We will communicate related updates as those details become available.
  • USM students now have free access to more than 55,000 eTextbooks from Barnes & Noble through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Details are available on the Advisement Center's eTextbooks web page. Barnes & Noble store locations will be closed from March 23, 2020 through April 6, 2020. Free shipping on online orders will be offered to students during this period.

 

Update - March 20, 2020

Important Student Updates from the Vice President for Student Affairs

Dear Students,

I know that for many of you, this is an unsettling time, and you may be deciding what you want to do once the extended Spring Break ends on March 27. This is a time to think critically about whether travel back to campus is in your best interest, considering public health officials’ guidance. I wanted to provide you with the following updates as you finalize your plans.

  • When classes resume on March 30, all academic course requirements will be completed online or through other remote delivery formats. A Guide to Course Completion has been created to assist you with accessing academic and technology resources.
  • Many community businesses have limited their operating hours or suspended all business hours.
  • Campus housing, dining services, libraries, and select computer labs remain open for students who need to return to campus, and changes to hours have been posted on each unit’s website.
  • Students who choose to return to campus should be aware of the following:
    • Movements around campus should be limited to essential services, such as computer labs and dining services;
    • All traditional programming and student activities have been suspended; and
    • A “no visitation” policy has been implemented in all campus housing facilities.
  • Students who choose to remain off campus will still have access to essential academic resources and student support services by phone or online.

The University is sensitive to the additional burden and impact this international public health crisis has on our students and their families. We are exploring every opportunity to provide as much relief to families as we can, and we will communicate related updates as those details become available.

Remember we always want you to be healthy, stay connected, and continue to learn. Ultimately, your health and your academic success are both important to me, to you and your family, and to our entire University community. As a reminder, follow CDC prevention guidelines, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with other people and practice social distancing.
  • If you feel sick, call ahead to Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center or to your primary care physician.

Please continue to monitor the University’s official COVID-19 website for accurate information and critical updates, and check your University email account frequently.

For questions, please contact the Dean of Students office at 601.266.6028.

SMTTT!

Dee Dee Anderson, Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs

 

Update - March 19, 2020

 

Update - March 18, 2020

  • For students who complete their degree requirements this spring, transcripts will be updated and diplomas will be mailed according to the normal processing timeline for the end of the spring semester, even though Commencement ceremonies will be held at a later date.
  • Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center has posted updates regarding routine health needs. As a reminder, follow these prevention guidelines:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with other people and practice social distancing.
  • All Campus Recreation facilities are closed until further notice.
  • Specific research information has been posted on the Vice President for Research’s COVID-19 Research Guidelines web page.
  • COVID-19 Employment FAQs have been updated.

 

Update - March 17, 2020

The University’s COVID-19 Response status has been moved to Orange, which means the University has converted institutional functions to remote formats wherever possible and limited operations and access at all locations.

Please note the following:

  • USM Commencement ceremonies will not be held in May. We understand that participating in Commencement is a very important tradition for our graduating students and their families, as we celebrate the culmination of many years of hard work on the path to degree completion. We are working as quickly as possible to identify an alternate date for the ceremonies, but it is unlikely they will be held prior to the latter part of the summer, given the ongoing evolution of COVID-19.
  • The University remains open for limited business operations and essential functions for students, including campus housing and dining services. Public access for visitors to all USM campuses and sites remains suspended. Students, faculty, and staff should keep their USM ID with them at all times.
  • Supervisors have begun the process of communicating specific work arrangements with individual employees according to the University’s work assignment guidelines.
    • The goal is to notify employees of all alternative work arrangements by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18, but individual unit factors may influence this timeline.
    • Employees should continue to work as normal until they are notified otherwise by their supervisor.
    • University HR is in the process of updating COVID-19 Employment FAQs and will post revised information Wednesday morning.
    • Specific payroll guidance will be provided to supervisors on Wednesday to ensure all employees are paid appropriately and timely.
  • The University Police Department has increased presence at all campuses and sites.

Please be advised that the University’s response level can still change quickly based on the constant evolution of this international public health crisis. You should continue to monitor this website and your University email account closely. Faculty and staff should also maintain frequent communication with their supervisor.

 

Update - March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Response Status levels have been posted on this official website and will be updated as conditions change. At this time, the University is operating at a Yellow response level, which means the University has prohibited University-sponsored travel; canceled events; and adapted course delivery methods, select student services, and select operations to alternative formats.

Please be advised that these response levels can change quickly based on the constant evolution of this international public health crisis. You should continue to monitor this website and your University email account closely, as well as maintain frequent communication with your supervisor.

Additional updates include:

  • Public access for visitors to all USM campuses and sites is suspended until further notice.
    • All campus tours are suspended until April 30, 2020, at which time guidelines will be reevaluated.
    • Libraries will remain open for students, faculty, and staff, but are closed to the general public.
    • Clients should contact clinics directly for information about service modifications.
  • The IHL system office has requested guidance from the United States Department of Education regarding the potential of student housing or meal plan partial refunds, given that those refunds would have an impact on federal financial aid.
  • Reminder: Events sponsored by USM or hosted in USM facilities, where 50 or more attendees are expected, are canceled.
  • Following updated national guidelines, gatherings of 10 or more individuals are strongly discouraged. However, faculty are still expected to refrain from requiring students to participate in any course activities face-to-face. Please reference Academic Affairs FAQs on the Keep Teaching site for more guidance.
  • Study Abroad trips are canceled through June 30, 2020.
  • At this time, current employee assignments have not changed; however, University leaders are working expeditiously to implement directives in accordance with Executive Order 1458 issued this evening by Governor Reeves.
  • Reminder: Employees who have specific health concerns should discuss their situation with their supervisor. Temporary remote working arrangements may be approved amidst COVID-19 concerns. The duration of any remote working arrangements is at the discretion of the supervisor. Remote working possibilities will be dependent upon the specific position and unit needs. HR's COVID-19 FAQ web page has been updated as of March 16, 2020.

 

Update - March 15, 2020

  • Reminder: All employees are expected to report to work as usual unless they have requested leave or were directed otherwise by their supervisor. Employees and supervisors should consult HR’s COVID-19 FAQ web page for more information.

 

Update - March 13, 2020

The University appreciates the engagement of all students, faculty, and staff, in reviewing and responding to messages regarding the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis.  University leaders are working as quickly as possible to respond to all issues during this rapidly evolving situation, as this is the first time modern public higher education has had to face an issue of this magnitude.

We appreciate your patience as University leaders are continuously reviewing relevant policies and procedures along with frequent guidance from federal, state, and local agencies. The University is fully committed to fostering a healthy and safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff, as we all work through this complex situation, together.

Beginning on Monday, March 16, emails will be distributed when significant changes are made; you are encouraged to continue monitoring this website closely for more frequent updates.

Residence Halls and Dining Services

  • At this time, all residence halls remain open for students who live on campus. The University is reviewing possible modifications to visitation policies, facility access, contractual policies, and other factors that may impact their health and wellness.
  • Dining services remain open. As a reminder, current hours remain available on the Eagle Dining website.
  • Because the University will remain open, current housing and meal plan contracts are still in place.

Spring Break Schedule and Academic Course Transitions

  • The University’s Spring Break was extended by one week, through March 27, 2020, to align with other IHL institutions whose Spring Break periods were changed to two weeks.
  • The additional week will be utilized by faculty who are in the process of transitioning all face-to-face course material to online or other alternative delivery formats, and by staff who are making preparations to adjust University services and processes to best meet the needs of our students after classes resume on Monday, March 30. Faculty should ensure all regular course material is converted to formats other than face-to-face.
  • Students should utilize the additional week to prepare for course materials to be delivered online for the remainder of the semester, including securing adequate internet access. Resources and guidance about the transition of course materials and how to schedule advising appointments remotely are available on the Advisement Center's website.
  • During the extended Spring Break period, the University’s offices and all student services will remain open, including residence halls, dining services, libraries, campus recreation, student health services, student counseling services, and other student services. Students should check each area’s website for current information about hours of operation.
  • All employees are expected to report to work as usual unless they have requested leave or were directed otherwise by their supervisor. Employees and supervisors should consult HR’s FAQ web page for more information.

Student Teaching and Licensure Requirements

Travel FAQs

  • The Office of Procurement and Contract Services and the USM Foundation have developed an FAQ web page for travel reimbursements. Faculty and staff whose planned travel has been canceled should review this information carefully and contact those respective offices with further questions.

Additional Questions

  • For specific questions that are not addressed via COVID-19 web pages, please contact the primary unit that retains oversight for that area.

 

Update - March 12, 2020 - 12:20 p.m.

Conference USA announced Thursday, March 12, a suspension of all spring sports competition, effective immediately, until further notice.

 

Update - March 12, 2020 - 12 p.m.

Beginning March 30, all course work will be delivered online or through an alternate delivery method. Students should review the Advisement Center's Guide to Course Completion resource page to prepare and should closely monitor their University email account for more specific updates about course work.

The below message has been updated to reflect this change.

 

Update - March 12, 2020

Message from the President - Critical COVID-19 Updates

Dear University Community,

Following the guidance of recent COVID-19 advisories provided by federal, state, and local healthcare organizations, The University of Southern Mississippi is providing the following updates:

Events

  • Events sponsored by USM or hosted in USM facilities, where 50 or more attendees are expected, are canceled.
  • This guidance is effective from March 12, 2020 to April 30, 2020, at which time event guidelines will be reevaluated.

Spring Break

  • Spring Break has been extended through March 27, 2020. Students should read this message from the Vice President for Student Affairs for more specific information.
  • Classes will resume the following week on Monday, March 30.
  • During the extended Spring Break period, the University’s offices and all student services will remain open, including residence halls, dining services, libraries, campus recreation, student health services, student counseling services, and other student services.  Student services hours may be modified slightly during the break, so we encourage you to visit each area’s website for current information.
  • Supervisors are encouraged to consult with their student employees to discuss work during the extended Spring Break period. Students may not be required to work during this period but are permitted to work if their unit determines that the work is essential for University operations.
  • Employees remain eligible to use personal leave or comp time in accordance with existing policies. We encourage you to do so as appropriate, in consultation with your supervisor. However, please be reminded that this is a time to think critically about travel and whether that travel is in your best interest considering COVID-19.

Face-to-Face Classes

  • Faculty should transition all coursework to be delivered online or through an alternate delivery method. Details are available on the Keep Teaching Site for Faculty.
  • Students should prepare for coursework being delivered online or through an alternate delivery method, including securing adequate internet access.  Resources and guidance are available on the Advisement Center's Website. For students who are on campus and not exhibiting symptoms, libraries and computer labs will remain open.

Competitive Athletic Events

  • Policies regarding athletic competitions are being reviewed in conjunction with Conference USA, and an announcement is expected later today.

Individuals who are responsible for existing event plans should consult with their school or unit director if they have questions.

Sincerely,

Rodney D. Bennett

President

 

Update – March 11, 2020

As part of USM’s preparations for the possible onset of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Mississippi, faculty, staff and students will be required to follow protocols (listed below) which are intended to help prevent the spread or transmission of the virus.  The following protocols are based on current guidelines from CDC and other health organizations.

The University is not currently suspending classes, services or closing offices.  Residence halls, dining facilities, libraries, labs, and study spaces will remain open.  Students can continue to access computers in libraries and other labs throughout our campuses.

Faculty and Staff Health Protocols

  • Employees who have a fever of 100.4 F or greater along with cough or shortness of breath will be required to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Employees who appear to have a fever of 100.4 F or greater along with cough or shortness of breath upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
  • If symptoms become severe in nature, we encourage you to see your regular medical provider.
  • Instructors should notify their School Director and College Dean of the illness.
  • Non-academic employees should notify their supervisors.

Student Health Protocols

  • Students who live off campus and have a fever of 100.4 F or greater along with cough or shortness of breath should contact the Moffitt Health Center.  Students may be required to stay off campus until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
  • Students who live on campus and have a fever of 100.4 F or greater along with cough or shortness of breath should contact the Moffitt Health Center.  Students may be required to move to an isolated room on campus until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
  • Individuals who appear to have a fever of 100.4 F or greater along with cough or shortness of breath upon arrival to campus or become sick during the day should be separated from others and be sent home immediately.

Instructor of Record Protocols

  • Holding Classes: In-person classes should continue to be held until advised otherwise. Additionally, instructors are asked, whenever feasible, to offer an online option for their course material. Additional guidance is available online at the Office of the Provost's Keep Teaching site for faculty.  Instructors who are unwell are asked, as is standard practice, to make arrangements to have their course covered.
  • Attendance Requirements: We are asking instructors to consider suspending any attendance requirements until further notice.
  • Office Hours: We are asking instructors to consider conducting office hours via phone or video conference (e.g., through Skype or Canvas).
  • Exams: Instructors should accommodate students who are ill.
  • Labs: Labs should remain open and routine safety measures should continue to be adhered to.
  • Course Activities and Physical Contact: We recommend instructors consider a no physical contact policy for course activities (e.g., for courses in disciplines such as theatre, dance, music, nursing, recreation, etc.). Additionally, staff, instructors, and students are strongly encouraged to properly clean contact surfaces and equipment before and after use.

COVID-19 Employment FAQs

Spring Break Student Safety Message

 

Update – March 10, 2020

The University is providing significantly updated travel guidance to our community due to the continued spread of COVID-19. The following guidance dated March 9, 2020 is in effect until April 30, 2020, at which time travel guidelines will be reevaluated. 

 

Update – March 9, 2020

The University is providing significantly updated travel guidance to our community due to the continued spread of COVID-19. The following guidance is in effect until further notice.  

International Travel – University-sponsored

We are suspending all University-sponsored international travel, to any country—regardless of mode of transportation. This limitation encourages social distancing and reduces USM’s contribution to the potential spread of infection to other areas, in support of global public health. We realize the impacts may include cancelled trips, the window of time that research can be done, and for some researchers, the contractual obligation to complete projects involving international travel. To mitigate the above, an exception may be granted by a dean, vice president or the provost. However, the traveler must understand that given the rapidly changing situation there is a chance that USM’s self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon return from countries with CDC Level 3 travel health restrictions may be expanded to additional countries, and that there may be air or governmental restrictions on return that are beyond USM’s ability to control.

Note: No authorization will be granted for undergraduate student University-sponsored international travel.

International Travel – Personal

We strongly recommend against personal travel out of the country. If you do undertake such travel, you must understand there is a chance that there may be a self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon return as well as the fact that there may be air or governmental restrictions on return that are beyond USM’s ability to control.

Domestic Travel – University-sponsored

We are suspending all University-sponsored domestic travel (regardless of mode of transportation) to reduce USM’s contribution to the potential spread of infection to Mississippi. Travel between USM sites is exempt from this suspension. We encourage finding alternate means of conducting business. We realize the impacts may include cancelled trips, the window of time that research can be done, and for some researchers, the contractual obligation to complete projects involving domestic travel. To mitigate the above, an exception may be granted by a dean, vice president or the provost. However, the traveler must understand that given the rapidly changing situation there is a chance that USM’s self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon return to campus with CDC Level 2 travel health restrictions may be expanded to additional states, and that there may be air or governmental restrictions on return that are beyond USM’s ability to control.

Note: With the exception of student athletes, no authorization will be granted for undergraduate student University-sponsored domestic travel.

Domestic Travel – Personal

Residence halls will remain open over spring break for on-campus students. Faculty and staff as well as students should consider their own health status and other reports before making plans for personal domestic travel, recognizing that the status of COVID-19 infection in the United States continues to change. The possibility of a 14-day self-isolation requirement also exists for domestic travel, given the rapidly changing circumstances. We request anyone who is planning personal travel to register with the University.

REGISTER PERSONAL TRAVEL (FAC/STAFF) 

register personal travel (student)

 

Update – March 5, 2020

The University of Southern Mississippi continues to actively monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). People in numerous countries, including the United States, have been infected. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Southern Mississippi or in the State of Mississippi.

The University’s Emergency Management Team and Moffitt Health Center remain in contact with state public health officials to ensure that we are following the latest information, trends and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, we are following alerts and recommendations from the U.S. Department of State.

The safety and well-being of the University community is always our highest priority. We will update this page as needed to keep our campus community informed.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

U.S. Department of State

Recent Student and Faculty Travel

Students and faculty that recently returned from travel to South Korea and Europe have been screened. Fortunately, their travel was outside of the outbreak areas, but we continue to monitor their health and well-being. Their status remains “very-low risk” for infection. Nevertheless, they are being assessed regularly to ensure campus and community safety. Nearly all the travelers are near or beyond the incubation period for Covid-19.

Symptoms

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from any affected country or area with active community transmission, you should call ahead to Moffitt Health Center or your primary healthcare provider and mention your symptoms and recent travel. 

If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from any affected country or area with active community transmission, you should likewise call Moffitt Health Center or your primary healthcare provider and mention your close contact and their recent travel. At this time, your healthcare provider will work with the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

CDC: What to Do If You Are Sick

If You Are Returning from an Affected Country or Area

Note that University-affiliated travel (by students, faculty and staff) to areas under a CDC Alert Level 2 (Sustained Community Transmission, Practice Enhanced Precautions), CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid All Nonessential Travel) OR U.S. Department of State Advisory Level 4 (Do Not Travel due to COVID-19) is under a USM travel prohibition until further notice. This currently includes travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan.

The University will work with state and local public health officials to determine the best plan for when and how returning students, faculty and staff might return to the U.S. and Hattiesburg. This will be dictated by current rules and guidelines by CDC and MS State Department of Health.

CDC: Travelers Returning from High-Risk Countries

CDC: Travel Information and Risk Assessment

USDoS: Travel Advisories

If you have traveled to one of these areas or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. This measure is in place to assist you and protect the health and safety of our community.

Faculty Staff and Students

Please call Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center (601.266.5390) for additional evaluation and information or contact your primary provider.

Student Health Services: Monitoring Coronavirus

Community Members

Please call your doctor for additional evaluation and information. 

If You Are Scheduled to Travel to an Affected Area

Conditions, alerts and information regarding any country can change at any time. Check CDC and State Department recommendations frequently. University personnel travel and programs scheduled to travel to areas under

  • CDC Alert Level 2 (Sustained Community Transmission, Practice Enhanced Precautions), OR
  • CDC Warning Level 3, or
  • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory 4

due to COVID-19 are under a USM travel prohibition until further notice. This currently includes travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

Spring and summer programs in these areas will be cancelled or suspended. This currently includes Italy, Japan and South Korea. We continue to monitor all summer programs for changes in status.

Students whose programs have been cancelled or suspended either by USM or the host program should return to their home countries and follow the recommendations under “If you are returning from an affected country or area” above.

For additional information, contact the campus coordinator of your travel or program.

The University also strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel to any country with any of the following advisories, due to COVID-19:

  • CDC Alert Level 2 (Sustained Community Transmission, Practice Enhanced Precautions), OR
  • CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel), OR
  • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel), OR
  • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 4 (Do Not Travel).

If you have questions about scheduled University travel to an area under any CDC level or what these restrictions mean for you, please contact the Office of Study Abroad.

Preventing the Illness

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC also offers specific guidance for travelers.

CDC: Risk Assessment and Management Recommendations

What Happens If a Case Is Identified?

Currently, there is not a case of COVID-19 in Hattiesburg or Mississippi. 

The CDC, State Department of Health, and local and university health care experts will be integrally involved if a case is detected in our area. We remain in close contact with them to understand their protocols and refine our plans as the recommendations from national and state authorities evolve and change.

The University has a robust infectious disease (pandemic) emergency response plan and contingency plans that can be called into place if needed. Additional updates on these plans will be posted as needed.

USM Support

The fear and uncertainty that accompanies widespread illness can lead to many reactions. Campus community members may have friends and family overseas who are affected and may be anxious or sad about the situation. They may also be overwhelmed by the amount of media coverage, both through news channels and social media.

This is a time when we all need to be understanding and compassionate to people who may be affected by the news. Please treat all members of our community with respect and empathy as our university and the entire world deals with this emerging illness.  Panic and generalization and the associated stigmatization of individuals impacted by the illness could negatively impact our ability to respond appropriately to a Covid-19 outbreak, should it occur.

 

Update – February 28, 2020

University Community,

Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State regarding the coronavirus, The University of Southern Mississippi is issuing travel restrictions for all University faculty, staff, and students to all countries under CDC Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisories. Travel to countries under Level 3 or Level 4 advisories will not be authorized or approved by the University. This travel restriction is similar to restrictions many businesses and organizations across the U.S. have implemented. Self-funded travel to and from these areas is also strongly discouraged. Keep in mind that this is a rapidly evolving situation and new countries could be added to advisories at any time.

The University will continue monitoring this evolving situation and provide updates as appropriate. To date, no one at USM nor in Mississippi is known to have been infected by the virus. Nevertheless, prevention is a key strategy with any infectious illness. We encourage the USM community to continue practicing preventative measures such as hand washing, covering your cough, self-isolation when ill, and disinfecting surfaces regularly.

I also encourage you to visit the Moffitt Health Center’s website, which contains information about the coronavirus, including links to important, additional resources.

Steven R. Moser, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs