EVENTS AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
In-person events and extracurricular activities sponsored by the university (on campus and in non-university-managed venues) will follow the university’s Spring 2021 Protocols and Parameters Framework for Hosting Events and Activities. The university continues to monitor public health guidance and current executive and local orders in effect for the respective venue. Virtual events are allowed and are strongly encouraged.
- Feb. 18, 2021: The university shared a letter about extracurricular activities including the wide range of current events and activities, how to stay plugged into campus life and next steps for expanding engagement opportunities safely for Spring 2021.
- Jan. 12, 2021: Social gatherings will not be registered for the first month of the Spring 2021 semester. The university will again offer COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, which will help the university understand its COVID positivity rate, and in turn, inform decision-making about on-and off-campus gatherings. Administrators will monitor testing rates from Jan. 19-Feb. 19 with the hope that social gatherings can take place after Feb. 19.
- Oct. 19, 2020: The university launched a pilot to expand student social activities safely. The pilot is a two-week process to allow some off-campus social gatherings under delineated parameters and requirements. See Oct. 19 message to students for details.
- Oct. 2, 2020: The university provided updated guidance about events, activities and social gatherings hosted by members of our university community, including registered student organizations as well as academic and administrative units. The guidance covers on campus and off campus gatherings. Read the full message.
SPRING 2021 OVERVIEW
The university is committed to continue expanding and enhancing extracurricular activities and engagement opportunities for the campus while keeping health and safety at the forefront. The university monitors the COVID-19 positivity rate from its Asymptomatic Testing Program to inform decision-making about future on- and off-campus extracurricular activities. Additionally, the university continues to follow public health guidance and current executive and local orders in effect for the respective venue.
For Spring 2021, the university will follow a framework for positivity rate thresholds and accompanying protocols and parameters. The university will monitor the positivity rate for the current week and previous week. The previous week’s positivity rate is reported on the university’s dashboard page each Friday.
The protocols and parameters framework outlines the requirements that on campus extracurricular activities and those held in non-university-managed venues must meet for the current positivity rate threshold.
All events are subject to approval and changes may occur based on our positivity rate. Any violations of the parameters and requirements associated with registered and approved social gatherings will be subject to sanctions from the Office of Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR SUBMITTING AN ACTIVITY/EVENT FOR APPROVAL?
All events and extracurricular activities must be registered through The ForUM 15 days in advance in accordance with standard practice by the Ole Miss Student Union (OMSU). Staff will do their best to be flexible with requests. Protocols for the event will be reviewed by the Ole Miss Student Union or Fraternity and Sorority Life. The latest updates for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) regarding protocols for events and activities for this semester can be found here. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR EVENT?
As you plan events/activities or social gatherings, please consult the Event Registration resource page which contains answers to many common questions.
- If you still have questions, contact the OMSU staff at email@example.com.
- Questions from academic and administrative units should be submitted to Emily Ferris with the Events and Activities Task Force.
The Ole Miss Student Union and Jackson Avenue Center are accepting reservation requests for certain rooms with limited configurations. Some other campus facilities that have been available traditionally for departmental and organizational events cannot be reserved due to COVID-19 limitations. Contact managers of specific facilities with questions. In addition, you can find a list of COVID-19 compliant spaces on this page.
The university will host two Commencement ceremonies this spring — one for the Class of 2021 and another for the Class of 2020 to make up for the postponement of last year’s in-person ceremonies due to the pandemic. Additional details can be found on the Commencement website.
- The University of Mississippi 2021 Commencement exercises will be held April 29 – May 2, 2021. Morning convocation will be held on Saturday, May 1 at 8:00 a.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
- The University of Mississippi 2020 Commencement exercises will be held May 6 – 8, 2021. Morning convocation will be held on Saturday, May 8 at 8:00 a.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The university has developed its planning for Commencement 2020 and 2021 in compliance with current government orders and public health guidance. Venue capacities are subject to change dependent upon evolving COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. Please note that the Class of 2021 ceremony will precede the 2020 ceremony because 2021 graduates will already be in Oxford completing final exams in the week leading up to the Commencement ceremonies.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: When and how can we start registering events?
You can start now! Events and extracurricular activities must be registered through The ForUM. Events prior to March 11 need to be registered seven days in advance. Events on or after March 11 must be registered 15 business days in advance as outlined by standard Union procedures. The latest updates for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) regarding protocols for events and activities for this semester can be found here. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: When can we start having events?
Events and extracurricular activities can be submitted now and will be reviewed by OMSU or FSL staff for adherence to the requirements outlined for this semester. Staff will do their best to be flexible with requests so that events and activities can proceed.
Q: What kind of events and activities can we have?
Events and extracurricular activities can be hosted as long as the specified requirements are met and it is submitted through the appropriate channels.
Q: Can we have off-campus events outside of Oxford and Lafayette County?
Non-university-managed venues must be reviewed and approved by the Ole Miss Student Union or Fraternity and Sorority Life. At this time, group travel outside Lafayette County is prohibited unless a waiver is obtained through the Event Registration process.
Q: Can we do events in shifts?
Yes, organizations can schedule up to two shifts of maximum capacity for each shift. Additional details about how shifts must be managed is posted in the guidelines document.
Q: Why can’t we just do things like we used to?
We know this is a lot to sort through as we navigate new and creative ways of gathering and holding extracurricular activities. We also know this is not college life before COVID-19, but it is more open than we could be in the fall. It is important that we recognize the pandemic does not mean that we can’t do the things that we used to do before COVID-19, it just means we need to do them differently. Take, for example, college sports. COVID-19 didn’t mean we didn’t get to cheer on Lane Kiffin, Matt Corral and our football team. It just meant we had to do so with fewer people in the stadium, with masks on and social distancing. The same holds true for student activities
Q: Why does the asymptomatic testing matter?
Our Asymptomatic Testing Program is an important part of this strategy. We understand that some people who are infected with the virus don’t exhibit symptoms, yet they can spread illness to others. Understanding the positivity rate among those who do not have symptoms is an important tool to help us protect our community. Your participation in testing is essential — more testing does not equate to more positives, so please do your part to stop misinformation that students should not get tested because it will drive up the positivity rate. The more students who are tested, the larger the pool for calculating the rate. Please participate in the testing program and encourage your classmates and friends to do so.
Q: For the testing requirement for off campus events, can I submit a Positive Antibody Test as proof of positive for COVID-19?
At this time, we cannot accept a Positive Antibody Test as an exemption from testing. CDC guidance states that a Positive Antibody Test should not be used for decisions on returning to work or grouping people together. Until more about immunity is known, the university will continue to follow CDC and MSDH recommendations of showing proof of a PCR or Rapid Antigen positive test within the past 90 days.
Q: How do we know what the university’s current positivity rate is?
Each Friday, the university updates its COVID dashboard based on the previous week’s positivity rate. The rate measures the percentage of positive RT-PCR tests performed during the prior seven days through the Asymptomatic Testing Program.
Q: How can I find out what events are occurring on campus?
- Explore events and organizations at The ForUM.
- Read The Powder Blue, the weekly student newsletter that provides helpful information, connection and campus happenings for all students.
- Follow the social feeds of Ole Miss Student Services and the Associated Student Body.
- Check out the university’s events calendar.
As you plan events/activities or social gatherings, please consult the Event Registration resource page for answers to many common questions. If you still have questions, contact the OMSU staff at email@example.com.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND RESOURCE DOCUMENTS
- CDC Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
- CDC Testing, Screening, and Outbreak Response for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)
- CDC Considerations for Events and Gatherings,
- ACHA Guidelines Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education for the Spring Semester 2021
- MSDH COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDERS SUMMARIZED
- Executive and local orders currently in effect for Mississippi and the City of Oxford