Editor’s note: Following today’s issue, the university’s COVID-19 newsletter will publish on an as-needed basis until Jan. 20, 2021, when weekly publication will resume for the Spring 2021 semester.
Please take a moment to respond to this survey to share your feedback about the COVID-19 newsletter so we can make sure it meets your needs. Thanks!
MSDH Health Alert
Due to the growing burden of COVID-19 cases, excessive hospitalizations and the high risk of COVID-19 infection in the community, the Mississippi State Department of Health issued a Health Alert today (Dec. 2) urging all Mississippi residents to avoid any social or public gathering with anyone outside of their nuclear family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians participate only in work, school or other absolutely essential activities. See the full Health Alert for specific details and examples of social gatherings to avoid.
Scheduled network maintenance
On Friday, Dec. 4, Network Services will trigger a brief outage from 7-8 a.m. to perform maintenance to equipment servicing the campus phone system. Services are expected to be operational again by 8 a.m.
Blackboard upgrade scheduled
Blackboard will be offline during a scheduled upgrade from Dec. 14-21. See the announcement for additional details.
University COVID-19-related news stories
- UM experts share practical tips for participating in year-end events without spreading COVID-19
- Chemistry professors innovate to run labs safely amid pandemic
- Center for Population Studies and partners host Hunger Summit to help nonprofits respond to COVID-19 and food insecurity in Mississippi
- Free symphony performance streams online
- Graduate students helping organize virtual workshop to help participants hone their science communication skills
Faculty and Staff
Employee COVID-19 requirements, policies and best practices
Human Resources shared a memo with faculty and staff today (Dec. 2) that included timely reminders related to telecommuting, leave policies, reporting positive tests, isolation and quarantine, clearance for returning to work, planning for work holiday celebrations, and more. Please read the memo for complete details.
Upcoming payroll periods
Guidance is provided in this notice for non-exempt (hourly) employees and supervisors/managers approving their timesheets for upcoming payrolls in 2020.
MSDH free testing
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) offers universal testing in every county for university students, faculty and staff. This offer includes symptomatic and asymptomatic testing. You can be tested free of charge at any county health department testing locations listed on this page, or daily at the free testing site in Jackson.
Currently, appointments in and around the UM community are available on the days and counties listed below:
- Lee Co. Health Department: Friday, Dec. 4
- Marshall Co. Health Department: Thursday, Dec. 3
- Panola Co. Health Department: Thursday, Dec. 3
- Pontotoc Co. Health Department: Friday, Dec. 4
- Yalobusha Co. Health Department: Thursday, Dec. 3
You will need to make an appointment before you visit by filling out an online questionnaire. You will receive an appointment regardless of whether you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is infected. If you are asymptomatic when completing the online questionnaire, be sure to provide answers through the fourth question, which asks, “Are you a student, faculty, or staff member of a Mississippi college or university?” When you respond “yes,” you will have options to choose a location and select a date and time.
Other Things to Know
CDC committee recommends health care workers and long-term care facility residents be first in line for COVID vaccine (CBS News)
10 ways families can minimize holiday travel risk (National Geographic)
The New York Times created a tool where you can build a dashboard to track coronavirus cases in the places you care about.
Sorry to Burst Your Quarantine Bubble: Pod means something different to everyone, and that’s a problem. (The Atlantic)
On the Lighter Side
- Happy Birthday Olive!
- Holly Jolly Holidays on the historic Oxford Square
- Conversation starters that have nothing to do with Coronavirus
- 5 games to play on video chat during quarantine
- Pandemic: Merriam-Webster’s top word of 2020
- Destinations on the rise for 2021: 25 amazing places to inspire future journeys and remind us why we love to travel
- UM COVID-19 Daily Symptom Checker
- UM confirmed COVID-19 cases among employees and students
- UM COVID-19 Dashboard
- Information about UMMC COVID-19 Testing
- MSDH COVID-19 Testing
- Information for Students and Families
- Information for Faculty
- Information for Staff
- SAA-sponsored Student Activities Around Campus
- Campus Ready: Return to Campus Plan for Fall 2020
- Frequently Asked Questions
- “Are You Ready?” Pledge
- City of Oxford Upcoming Events