The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) Board of Trustees announced that all eight public universities in the state, including the University of Mississippi, will extend spring break by one week to “allow faculty members time to prepare to offer classes remotely” and prohibit the spread of the coronavirus.
When classes resume on Monday, March 23, they will be conducted online and via other alternative instruction methods until further notice. Following the announcement, Chancellor Glenn Boyce sent a university-wide email detailing the move to online classes.
“The timeframe for this approach is open-ended, and we will monitor this approach continuously with the hope of returning to normal operations before the end of the spring semester,” Boyce’s statement said.
The IHL decision comes the day after the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the state’s first presumptive positive case of the virus in a Forrest county adult male who recently traveled to Florida.
Boyce encouraged students to return home to their families during this period “to promote social distancing and minimize the risk of spreading the virus.”
If students have “no other living option available,” Boyce said they can contact university housing. Residence halls will be accessible from Sunday, March 15 at 8 a.m. until Wednesday, March 18 at 5 p.m. for students to retrieve “essential items.”
All future university-affiliated international travel is also prohibited until further notice, and study abroad programs starting between May and August 2020 are suspended.