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COVID-19 Response

Student Messages

April 8, 2020 - Important Updates from the Vice President for Student Affairs

Dear Students,

These past few weeks have been very difficult for all of us as we transition to our new normal of social distancing, staying at home, and learning through new formats and in new ways. Despite this, I have heard many stories about all the great things you are accomplishing, and I am so proud of each of you.

During this time, the Division of Student Affairs wants you to know that, even virtually, we are still committed to our mission of developing healthyconnected and learning-focused students and communities. Please find below some resources available to all students.

Student Connections

There’s a new site in town! The Student Connections team has created a platform to help you stay connected while social distancing. Visit the new Virtual Activities and Programming page. We invite you to share your adventures with us by using #StayConnectedUSM when you post to social media.

Campus Recreation

Campus Recreation has gone virtual! Follow their Facebook page to keep your workout routines going while we are social distancing. The team is producing daily workout videos, interactive programming, and online intramural leagues for your fitness, health and wellness needs.

Student Government Association

Congratulations to our new Student Government Association Officers!

  • SGA President – Rachel Shoemaker
  • Senior Vice President – Olivia LeBlanc
  • Vice President of Judicial Affairs – Kelsi Ford
  • Vice President of Finance and Administration – Mallory Ivy
  • Vice President of Communication – Anna Denette

Be on the lookout for more information about SGA elections at the Gulf Park campus.

Esports Tournament

Are you missing traditional sporting events? Check out the USM Esports Teams as they participate in the Ole Miss Rebel Rumble Esports Tournament on April 18. The Eagle Esports Association (EEA) will also begin hosting virtual game nights within the next two weeks. You can learn more about the tournament, the teams, or the upcoming events from EEA by following the twitter account at @USMesports or by joining the discord server.

Learning in FOCUS Blog

The purpose of this blog, called Learning in FOCUS, is to sharpen students’ focus on learning by providing resources and tips to assist in perfecting your ability to learn and develop the skills needed for success. Learn more about the blog's purpose or access the latest posts.

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.

Student Counseling Services

  • 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.

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 academic resources, please visit the COVID-19 Student Resources web page.

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

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay connected. Stay home.

SMTTT!

Dee Dee Anderson, Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs

April 7, 2020 - Gulf Park Student Resources and Advising Reminders

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.

April 2, 2020 - Managing Health and Stress

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.

March 31, 2020 - Health Reminders and Tutoring Resources

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

March 30, 2020 - Commencement and Course Updates

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.

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.

March 27, 2020 - Student Academic Resources

March 20, 2020 - Important Student Updates

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

March 12, 2020 - Extended Spring Break

Dear Students,

As part of USM’s response to COVID-19, Spring Break has been extended through March 27, 2020.  We urge you to continue taking this critical international public health issue seriously and to read this message in its entirety.

This is a time to think critically about travel and whether that travel is in your best interest considering COVID-19. This guidance does not prohibit you from going home if you feel like that is something you need or want to do.

If you are in a situation where travel is unavoidable, please submit any new or updated travel plans in case the University needs to contact you by using this link:

Register Student Travel

You should be aware that upon your return, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days, given the rapidly changing circumstances.

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.  Hours may be modified slightly during the break, so we encourage you to visit each area’s website for current information.

Students should prepare for the strong likelihood of all 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.

Student employees should consult with their supervisors regarding work during the extended Spring Break period.

Regardless of your Spring Break plans, remember we want you to be healthy, stay connected, and continue to learn. Make good choices, take care of yourself and others, and use common sense. Utilize this additional time to get ahead in your classes. Retention, progression, and ultimately your graduation are all important to you and your ability to be successful – and important to the University.

Please be aware that rumors and inaccurate information are spread easily on social media. You should 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

March 10, 2020 - Spring Break Student Safety

Dear Students,

The University of Southern Mississippi is taking measures to help protect our students and our campuses from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  This is a critical public health issue; we urge you to take it seriously and read this message in its entirety.

We strongly recommend that you do not travel this year for Spring Break.  If travel is unavoidable, we ask that you register your travel plans in case the University needs to contact you.

REGISTER PERSONAL TRAVEL (STUDENT)

You should be aware that upon your return, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days, given the rapidly changing circumstances.

We urge you to use the utmost caution when planning any type of travel.  Students should consider their own health status and reports for specific travel destinations before making plans for personal travel, recognizing that the status of Coronavirus in the United States continues to change.  Students are also encouraged to consider health, age, and medical conditions that may impact family members and others with whom they may interact when they return.

Residence halls will remain open during Spring Break for students who live on campus.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Based on the recommendations of healthcare providers, preventive actions to help limit the spread of respiratory diseases include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow CDC recommendations for using a face mask. Face masks should be used by people who are ill to prevent the spread of the disease to others and for healthcare workers who are taking care of ill patients.
  • Wash your hands often with soap & water for at least 20 seconds OR use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Regardless of your Spring Break plans, we want you to be healthy, stay connected, and continue to learn. Make good choices, take care of yourself and others, and use common sense.

Each of us has a responsibility to do our part to keep our University community safe.  Join me and other members of our Golden Eagle family in continuing to read all official communications regarding this issue and act accordingly.

With so much information on social media and in the news, I understand that you may be feeling anxiety and stress.  Please be aware that rumors and inaccurate information are spread easily on social media, and you should rely on official University updates for the most accurate and timely information. We encourage you to frequently visit the University's official COVID-19 website for official updates.

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

Dee Dee Anderson, Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs