As we enter a “new normal” for our university, our overarching goal is to protect public health in ways that will also allow our students to maintain their academic progress this semester. I greatly appreciate the dedication and ingenuity shown by so many people across our university who are working day and night to get ready for our move to online classes and other alternatives to in-person instruction. To our faculty and staff, your dedication and commitment to serving our students is inspiring.
As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of dealing with COVID-19, I recognize many questions remain to be answered in terms of how we will move forward as an institution. The situation will continue to remain very fluid, and thereby require patience and flexibility from each of us. You can expect update emails like this one each weekday that will aggregate new information from across the campus and beyond. For now, the most important thing that all of us can do is to follow the guidance issued by our public health officials – wash your hands often, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly. All of us working together must do our part to protect the health of ourselves, our neighbors and our community.
Glenn F. Boyce
Student Contracts COVID-19 While Traveling Abroad
A University of Mississippi undergraduate student who was traveling internationally has reported to the university that she tested positive for COVID-19.
The student returned last week directly to her family home in another state, where she went into self-isolation. She did not visit Oxford or the university campus since returning from her travels.
The health and safety of our campus community is always our top priority. We urge all of you to heed the guidance issued by public health officials. Visit the COVID-19 Update Page for more information on the university’s response efforts.
Updated Travel Notice
The university has updated its travel prohibitions to include domestic travel. All university-affiliated international and domestic travel is prohibited until further notice. Faculty who believe their travel is essential must apply for a waiver with the Office of the Provost. Staff who believe their travel is essential must apply for a waiver through their respective Vice Chancellor. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged.
From a public health standpoint, it is important for university officials to know who in our campus community has traveled outside of the country since the outbreak. Please log any recent international travel (including personal travel) in the Travel Reporting Portal. The spread of this epidemic is extremely fluid, and places that you visited recently could have become a “hot spot” while you were in country, which may not be evident until after your return to the United States. If you recently traveled internationally or domestically, self-monitor and if symptoms develop, contact Student or Employee Health.
University Counseling Center
The University Counseling Center (UCC) will be open from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. each day. Students, faculty and staff are asked to call ahead in lieu of simply showing up for services. We will take calls from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily and plan to counsel students/faculty/staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.
To promote social distancing, UCC will include tele-mental health as a service delivery platform. EAP will be available during the hours mentioned for faculty and staff, who must call ahead first. UCC will work to assist all individuals who call in for services, including emergency and crisis calls.
Ombuds Office Availability
- The Ombuds Office will remain available to the University of Mississippi Community. If a face-to-face meetings in the Ombuds Office is not possible, the University Ombuds can be reached by:
- Zoom audio or video meetings (Zoom ID: U Miss Ombuds)
- Skype audio or video meetings (Skype ID: U Miss Ombuds)
In the event a member of the university community chooses to meet with the Ombuds via Zoom or Skype, confidentiality can be enhanced by using a personal Virtual Private Network (VPN) application to connect to the internet. For more information, email email@example.com.
Rebel Market Hours
Monday–Friday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Ole Miss Student Union
The Ole Miss Student Union is closed until further notice. All events and meetings scheduled for the Student Union have been suspended until further notice. Campus departments housed in the Student Union – including the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and the Ole Miss Student Union – will be available by phone or e-mail.
The Ole Miss Bookstore will remain open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Patrons can enter the Bookstore through the southwest patio entry nearest Bryant Hall.
Parking and Bus Service
Parking zone regulations and O.U.T. bus services implemented during Spring Break will be extended at least through March 20. O.U.T. buses will operate on a similar Spring Break schedule/service level. For questions or more information, visit the Department of Parking & Transportation site, call 662-915-7235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pak Mail Operations
Pak Mail will be open from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. through Wednesday, March 18 for those students returning to campus to get essentials. After those dates, the package center will be open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Mailboxes are still accessible 24/7. We will continue to receive packages for pick-up and place mail daily in mailboxes. A couple of services that may be helpful are mail/package forwarding and moving, storing and shipping home students’ belongings. For more information, email email@example.com or call 662-915-2611.
UM Library Services
University Libraries will remain open and are here to help with your teaching and learning needs. Here are some of the services that the Libraries can provide for remote instruction:
- Digitalization of course materials and access to e-book titles
- Online research & instruction services
- 24/7 online learning resources including databases, journal articles, e-books, videos, digital collections and more.
For any questions or concerns, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-7091. Visit libraries.olemiss.edu for the most current hours of operation, access to online learning resources and guides, and updates on services.
Reminder: Social Distancing Makes a Difference
Early data suggests that students are in the age group that seems to face less risk for severe health consequences, compared to older individuals. Nonetheless, everyone is at risk, and anyone can transmit the virus to others. Research shows that the virus is being shared in some cases before symptoms appear. None of these efforts will be effective in slowing transmission if people continue to go out and socialize. For your sake and the sake of others, please practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings of people.
Cleaning of Campus Housing Facilities
As of Friday, March 13, all campus housing buildings have been cleaned and disinfected, including all touchpoints, flat surfaces and public restrooms. While students retrieve essential belongings from their residence halls over the next few days, Student Housing has implemented an increased and enhanced cleaning schedule for all public areas in the residence halls. All public areas will be cleaned and disinfected every 1-2 hours, depending on the student traffic for that area. This level of cleaning will continue through March 18 in all residential buildings.
After buildings close on March 18 at 5:00 p.m., the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of all empty buildings will continue. Housing will also begin cleaning all shower and sink areas in unoccupied rooms, as well as the shower and sink areas in the limited number of occupied rooms every 1-2 weeks as determined by Student Housing. All front desks are being stocked with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
Faculty and Staff
Voice Mail to Email
As university employees consider resources and technology to facilitate work during this time, UM’s Telecommunications Center offers voice mail services including a service that sends your voice mail to your email. The service requires authorization from the dean or department head and costs $7/month. Please visit https://telecom.olemiss.edu/voiceMail.html or contact email@example.com.
Other Things to Know
On Sunday, March 15, the CDC issued new guidance recommending that for the next eight weeks, organizers should cancel or postpone in-person events consisting of 50 or more people throughout the entire U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html
On Saturday, March 14, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency. https://www.msema.org/news/governor-reeves-declares-state-of-emergency-due-to-covid-19/
Mississippi State Department of Health has developed a Mississippi COVID-19 Case Map with locations for cases where details are known. https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420.html
Updated Message from Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill: https://twitter.com/RobynTannehill/status/1239359904651137025
FYI Reading: “Why Everything Is Closing For Coronavirus: It’s Called ‘Flattening The Curve’” (Forbes.com) See also: Forbes Coronavirus Cancellation Tracker
Oxford School District will provide grab-and-go meals in various locations beginning Tuesday. More details are forthcoming on the locations. This is available to ALL children, not just OSD students. https://twitter.com/OxfordSD/status/1238749826726199296