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COVID-19 Campus Announcements

Post-Thanksgiving Update

Dear Lion Family:

Thank you for your continuing cooperation and understanding as we have strived to navigate this challenging period in Missouri Southern’s history.

Each decision that has been made in relation to the Fall 2020 semester – including classes and campus operations – has been made with the utmost consideration of the overall safety of the Lion community and for as little disruption to the academic and student experience as possible. Because of your support, our efforts have been successful, with the blend of hyflex courses allowing us to stay face-to-face for as long as possible.

We appreciate your patience as we waited to make a final decision on our post-Thanksgiving plans to ensure that we had a clear understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community, as well as the most current recommendations from our state and local public health officials.

Out of an abundance of caution and due to the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Southwest Missouri, following the Thanksgiving break, in-person and hybrid courses – with limited exceptions outlined below – will move to online delivery for the last two weeks of the fall semester, including the final exam period.

This decision will result in reduced activity on campus, particularly as residential students will be given the option to stay home after the break, thereby helping to prevent future spread of the virus. This action is supported by both the Student Senate and Faculty Senate.

All previously stated health and safety protocols will remain in effect during this period, including the mandatory use of face coverings and the required practice of social distancing. Following consultation with local public health officials and our key constituencies, we are confident that the decision to move academic programming primarily online for the final two weeks of the semester, while continuing to offer on-campus residential and student services, will be the best move forward for Missouri Southern as we conclude the fall semester.

In the meantime, know that we will consistently monitor the situation in the Joplin area, and will be in contact detailing plans for the spring semester. At this time, we want to assure you that if the conditions allow, it is our intent to return to the face-to-face/hyflex courses for the Spring Term. You may continue to access the most current and comprehensive campus information, including dashboard data, by visiting our COVID-19 website. If you have any questions on plans for the remainder of the fall semester, please direct them to covidtaskforce@mssu.edustudentaffairs@mssu.edu or call the student affairs office at 417.625.9392.

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate these challenging times together.

Lions Together,
Dean

Dean Van Galen, Ph.D.
President
Missouri Southern State University
417.625.9501

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The decision to shift to online delivery for most courses after Thanksgiving will have the following impact on academic and student services:

Academic Course Delivery:

  • Courses currently offered online will continue to be offered remotely.
  • The majority of courses that are currently offered in a face-to-face or hyflex format, will be offered remotely.
  • Exceptions are in-person or hybrid courses that are not amenable to remote delivery, including in-person clinical and field-based experiences.
  • Students who are impacted directly by these exceptions will soon receive further instruction from their faculty/instructor.

Residential Life:

  • All residence halls will remain open to students who wish to return to campus after Thanksgiving.
  • Residence hall students will not be required to move out, but are strongly encouraged to do so if their classes allow them to finish at home.
  • If on-campus residential students choose to stay home after Thanksgiving, they will need to check out with the Residence Hall staff prior to departing for the Thanksgiving break.
  • The Residence Life office will follow-up soon by email with detailed instructions for this process.
  • If you choose to leave university housing, you will receive a prorated refund or credits for the period beginning Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 through the end of the semester fall semester.

Social Interactions, Extra-curricular and Co-curricular Activities: 

  • Social interactions will continue to be limited to small groups.
  • If these interactions take place indoors, masks must be worn and six feet or more of social distance must be maintained.
  • Residence hall visitation restrictions will remain in effect.
  • Student Activities will assess any planned activities and events for the possibility of those events being held virtually and/or via live stream.

Willcoxon Health Center:

  • The Willcoxon Health Center will continue normal hours during this time.
  • If you are not feeling well or have any Covid-19 symptoms, please contact the Willcoxon Health Center at 417-625-9323 or email at covid19hc@mssu.edu. We will help you determine if your symptoms are consistent with Covid-19 and if testing is recommended.

Library:

  • The George A. Spiva Library will be open with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.
  • Computer use and study space will be available for students following health and safety guidelines.
  • Contactless book request and pickup service will continue.

Rec Center:

  • The Beimdiek Recreation Center will continue to operate, observing the current Covid protocols.

Dining:

  • The Mayes Dining Hall will continue to offer its normal hours of operation.  The Lion’s Den Food Court will be in normal operation with meals packaged to go.  Please check for the possibility of changes to the operating hours for all facilities.

Computer Labs and Wifi Access:

  • Computer labs will remain open with possible modified hours.
  • Users must maintain six feet or more of social distance and observe other health and safety protocols.

Athletics:

  • University athletic team activities will continue – including limited winter sports competition, practices, and individual and small group training – provided all activities are supervised by athletics staff and observe health and safety protocols.

Commencement:

  • Winter Commencement will proceed as scheduled in a walk-through format that maintains proper health and safety measures.

Virtual university town hall session planned for Nov. 19

A virtual town hall is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov 19.

Topics will include university updates, legislative priorities, budget, commencement, COVID-related issues, a few special presentations and more. Don’t miss the live drawing for 10 students and 10 employees to each win $100 for participating in this semester’s priROARity enrollment challenge.

To join via Zoom:
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://zoom.us/j/93360523423?pwd=NmR3V1JaWjc0QkxKRVdZS3piNlRaQT09
Passcode: 187208

Questions for the town hall presenters can be submitted to UniversityAnnouncements@mssu.edu by 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

Visit the town hall page for up-to-date information and a link to re-watch the session.

Campus events at MSSU closed to external guests

In order to keep campus safe and for classes and activities to continue face-to-face, all events at Missouri Southern State University have been closed to external guests until further notice.

All campus activities, including those scheduled as part of the Caribbean Semester, will be open only to Missouri Southern students, faculty and staff.

The university has also extended the following updates to operations at the Beimdiek Recreation Center and the George A. Spiva Library until further notice:

Beimdiek Recreation Center

  • Maximum 25% capacity in the Rec Center
  • Basketball/volleyball courts will be closed
  • Free weights area will be closed
  • Fitness classes will be cancelled
  • Intramurals will be cancelled

George A. Spiva Library

  • The first-floor entrance to the library remains closed.
  • The entrance facing the Oval will remain open and access will be granted to current MSSU students and employees
  • Students and employees will be required to show MSSU identification at the library-staffed table as they enter
  • Community borrowers will not be permitted access regardless if they present valid government-issued identification
  • Signs will be posted that state access is only for current students and employees
  • The Circulation 2 phone number (625-9862) will be included on signage for current employees and students to call to request assistance to enter the library for handicap access.
  • Library hours are posted on their main page.

For more information on how Missouri Southern is working to protect students, faculty and staff from exposure, visit https://emergency.mssu.edu or email COVID19hc@mssu.edu.

Missouri Southern launches dashboard to track COVID-19 cases

We are living in unprecedented times and that means we all have to be part of the solution. With this in mind, and due to positive COVID-19 cases increasing in the community, Missouri Southern State University is taking preventive steps to keep our campus safe.

Students, employees and community members can now check for updates regarding COVID-19 on the Missouri Southern campus at https://emergency.mssu.edu/coronavirus-dashboard/.

The dashboard will be updated every Monday. Information is compiled from data provided by the university’s Willcoxon Health Center and Human Resources, but may not include results from campus-connected individuals who were tested at non-Missouri Southern sites.

Effective immediately, the following updates to operations are being made:

Beimdiek Recreation Center

  • Maximum 25% capacity in the Rec Center
  • Basketball/volleyball courts will be closed
  • Free weights area will be closed
  • Fitness classes will be cancelled
  • Intramurals will be cancelled

George A. Spiva Library

  • The first-floor entrance will be closed Friday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Aug. 31. (The library is closed on Saturdays.)
  • The entrance facing the Oval will remain open and access will be granted to current MSSU students and employees
  • Students and employees will be required to show MSSU identification at the library-staffed table as they enter
  • Community borrowers will not be permitted access regardless if they present valid government-issued identification
  • Signs will be posted that state access is only for current students and employees
  • The Circulation 2 phone number (625-9862) will be included on signage for current employees and students to call to request assistance to enter the library for handicap access.
  • Library hours are posted on their main page.

By working together, this semester can be a success for our entire Lion family. For more information on how Missouri Southern is working to protect our students, faculty and staff from exposure, visit https://emergency.mssu.edu. #LionsTogether

#CampusClear app now available

As part of MSSU’s comprehensive strategy for controlling the spread of COVID-19 on campus, we are deploying #CampusClear, a daily self-screening app and campus “FastPass” developed by Ivy.ai and Creighton University. The #CampusClear roll-out will begin today, Thursday, August 6 (https://youtu.be/RpD6u_BL9T8).

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. A web version for those without access to a smart phone is currently being developed and will be available soon. #CampusClear information will only be used by the MSSU Willcoxon Health Center staff to assist with monitoring, managing, and communicating the potential spread of COVID-19.

We highly encourage everyone in our learning community to use #CampusClear before coming to class on campus each day.

To get started:

Download the app from the:

Apple App Store, Google Play Store or via the web app, https://go.mssu.edu/campusclear

Once you have downloaded #CampusClear, log in by entering your MSSU email address. You will receive an email confirmation, and after clicking the confirmation link, you will have access to the app. Please make sure you enable notifications from the app. There will only be one notification each day to prompt you to take the self-screening survey. Visitors will need to enter a phone number to receive the confirmation link. It only takes a few seconds to self-screen, and your participation helps us to keep our campus safe for everyone. Once you submit the See Results button at the bottom of the survey, you will receive a “FastPass”, a confirmation on whether it is okay to come to campus.

Likewise, please be sure to self-screen daily, even if you have no symptoms.

Thank you for your cooperation and participation in doing all that we can to make sure we have a safe return to campus.

Face Mask/Covering Policy

Do you have questions?


Students or Health Related – Wilcoxon Health Center: covid19hc@mssu.edu
Faculty/Staff: hr@mssu.edu
General Questions: covidtaskforce@mssu.edu

Face Mask/Covering Policy


Effective July 13, 2020, all students, faculty, staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors are expected to wear
masks/face coverings while on the MSSU campus, including in classrooms.
Masks/face coverings are also expected to be worn in office spaces and outdoor spaces where physical
distancing is difficult to maintain.
There are some exceptions for face coverings that will be made under the following circumstances:
  • For those who fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or are otherwise covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act; Those individuals seeking accommodations from wearing a mask/face covering, should contact the appropriate representative (Students should contact the Disability Services Coordinator at 417-659-3725, Faculty and staff should contact the Human Resources Office at 417-625-9527).
  • For dining facility patrons while they are dining; or
  • For individuals exercising or while walking with other people from the same household, if social distancing from others who are not your family or household members can be maintained; and engaging in organized group or team sports, or other physical activities where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a mask or socially distance; or
  • In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or medical treatments.
 

Update from the MSSU COVID-19 Task Force

The spring semester was a challenging time and we are proud of how everyone worked hard to make the best of a difficult situation. There are continued questions about what is happening this fall and our plans going forward with the opening of campus. We are working to answer them as soon as we can.

A COVID-19 task force is meeting weekly to prepare these plans. A new COVID-19 exposure FAQ page has been added to the MSSU COVID-19 website to address some of the concerns.

The health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority in this ever-changing landscape. Any guidance will be subject to modification in accordance with federal, state and local health guidelines.

We are taking steps to protect your health and safety and ask that you join us in keeping campus safe

  • More than 200 hand sanitizer stations have been installed on campus near building entrances.
  • Our custodial team is continuing to clean and disinfect areas as much as possible. Please be diligent in disinfecting your personal space or shared areas after meetings, etc.
  • Perform a daily personal wellness check before coming to campus and do not come to campus if you feel ill.
  • Please continue to refer to COVID-19 Exposure FAQ and the CDC COVID-19 site on how to protect yourself and what do to if you are sick.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging and fluid situation which continues to evolve. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. Stay up-to-date by checking the university’s COVID-19 website at https://emergency.mssu.edu/.

Stay well, Lions!

MSSU COVID-19 Task Force

Missouri Southern offers update on Fall 2020 semester

While backup plans are in place should the COVID-19 pandemic situation change, Missouri Southern State University is moving forward toward fully opening campus this fall.

“The Fall 2020 semester will be an exciting time – one of renewed energy and focus as Missouri Southern moves forward,” said Dr. Alan Marble, president of the university.

The university anticipates offering face-to-face classes and a full slate of campus activities, he said.

Admissions and enrollment are underway, with the Fall 2020 Schedule book available on the university’s website. The enrollment team is ready to answer any questions students may have. More information is available at https://www.mssu.edu/student.

Missouri Southern’s Financial Aid Office is working to ensure students have the resources to successfully complete their education, despite their financial background or current economic situation.

In a typical academic year, the university offers more than $6 million in academic and departmental scholarships, says Becca Diskin, director of financial aid. Federal and state aid – which includes grants, work study and loans – total more than $36 million.

For more information, visit https://www.mssu.edu/financial-aid.

Missouri Southern to re-open on Monday, May 11, 2020

Following the guidelines set by the City of Joplin and Missouri Governor Mike Parson, campus will open for business to staff, students, and visitors on Monday, May 11, 2020. This includes Admissions, Financial Aid, Campus Recreation, Spiva Library and the Lion Cub Academy.

  • Staff are to return to work as scheduled on Monday, May 11, 2020, utilizing summer hours – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
  • Student employees are eligible to return to work on Monday, May 11, 2020, pending approval of the appropriate vice president. The last date of pay for student workers who are not working will be May 8, 2020.
  • Staff who are hesitant to return to work because they believe they fall in to one of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) exemptions should contact both their supervisor and Evan Jewsbury, director of human resources, and submit a MSSU COVID-19 FMLA Request Formwith corresponding documentation to HR as soon as possible.
  • Following the Governor’s orders, staff and visitors should practice social distancing and are reminded to wash their hands frequently and utilize hand sanitizer stations.
  • Facemasks are not mandatory. Faculty and staff who wish to wear one should provide their own. If faculty and staff do not have access to a face mask, they should contact a Staff Senate representative for information on how to receive a complimentary face mask.
  • Custodial staff are present on campus this week to thoroughly clean buildings in preparation for staff’s return on Monday.

We continue to partner with regional and national health officials and emergency management organizations to respond to evolving circumstances as they become available. The City of Joplin’s response and recovery plan can be found here. For additional information, please visit Missouri Southern’s COVID-19 resource page – www.mssu.edu/COVID-19 and also refer to HR’s Return to Work FAQ’s here and see attached.

IDEA Course Evaluations Opening Soon

Dear Missouri Southern Students,

Good day to you all. I am sorry to add to what I know is an already overburdened inbox, but I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you. Most importantly, we thank you for your understanding and flexibility in adapting to the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves this semester. We very much respect and appreciate your commitment to continuing your education, and can’t wait until things return to normal.

Next week, course evaluations will be open on Blackboard. As I usually do, I am writing to encourage your completion of these evaluations. The feedback you provide is of great value to your instructors. And I thank you in advance for your efforts. This semester, however, I want to add one additional request. Might you please consider using this mechanism as a way to communicate what particularly worked for you and what maybe didn’t quite work as well in your courses as they migrated online. This semester did not turn out as any of us might have expected or anticipated. But to whatever extent we can, our campus would like to use this time as a learning experience to continue to make things better for all of us.

Thanks to all of you. We are so happy and proud that you are part of our Lion Pride.

Continued best wishes for your health and wellness.

Paula Carson, PhD
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs