- Don’t forget masks when packing to come back to campus — wearing a mask in indoor public places on campus is still required, and will be essential as we combat the latest surge of cases. We need each and every student to do their part as mask-wearing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- CDC guidance says choose masks that:
- have two or more layers,
- cover your nose and mouth,
- fit snugly,
- don’t have gaps and
- have a nose wire.
- If one of our C19 Ambassadors reminds you about masks, please be respectful — they have been tasked with helping keep us healthy and safe.
- Please get vaccinated or boosted if you are eligible. Vaccination is proven to help lessen the severity of the symptoms of COVID-19 and to keep more people out of the hospital. And, initial data suggest COVID-19 boosters help bolster protection against Omicron.
- The pharmacy at the Student Health Center offers FREE vaccines on a walk-up basis, no appointment necessary. The pharmacy is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thursdays, when it closes at 4 p.m. Find out more about on-campus and off-campus vaccinations.
- The CDC updated the recommended quarantine period for anyone who’s been exposed to COVID-19. See complete details of the updated CDC guidance and information from MSDH: What to Do If You Are Diagnosed with or Exposed to COVID-19 (Isolation and Quarantine).
- Notify your instructors and/or supervisors.
- Have a plan in case you need to quarantine. The university will provide limited quarantine and isolation space for students living on-campus in residence halls.
- Please don’t return to campus until you’ve completed a five-day isolation after the first full day of symptoms, or for five days after your positive test if you never develop symptoms. Notify your instructors and/or supervisors.
- Once you are asymptomatic or have had no fever for 24 hours, make sure you wear a mask around others for five days after your isolation period.
- Report a positive COVID-19 test to the University Health Center.
- Have a plan in case you need to isolate. The university will provide limited quarantine and isolation space for students living on-campus in residence halls.
- Get free symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at the University-Oxford Depot on campus Monday through Saturday. To schedule your test, text “2020” to 833-991-3009 OR click on this link.
- Call Student Health at 662-915-7274 if you need to schedule a symptomatic or asymptomatic test on campus.
- Local clinics offering COVID-19 tests are listed here, and all Mississippians can be tested for free at MSDH testing sites. Lafayette County’s MSDH testing site is at the Oxford Conference Center at 102 Ed Perry Blvd.
- The spring semester will remain in-person and commence on our campus as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
- The mask requirement for public indoor spaces remains in effect, and it is essential that all of us comply. As we begin the spring semester, we must be more vigilant because wearing a mask is a simple and important layer of protection to limit spread of the virus. Visit this page for more information on current protocols, and please follow CDC guidelines for how to wear a mask so that masks can be as effective as possible.
- We encourage you to hold any and all meetings virtually when you are able.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, feel sick or experience symptoms, stay home to avoid contact with others and do not attend school, work, meetings or events. Notify your supervisor or instructor. Refer to the updated CDC isolation and quarantine guidance.
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
As we continue to monitor COVID-19 data, metrics and trends on our campus and adjust our protocols, we’re pleased to see the continued reduction in case counts and low levels of community transmission. We have been committed to utilizing layered prevention strategies and to adjusting our protocols as needed. To that end, I’m pleased to share that the university will shift to a mask optional status:
Effective March 2, face coverings are required only on transportation networks (mandated by the Transportation Security Administration) and in healthcare settings such as University Health Services and University Counseling Center, regardless of vaccination status.
Face coverings are optional in all other indoor spaces, including classrooms, laboratories, studios, residence halls, libraries, dining facilities, the Student Union, Campus Recreation facilities, retail spaces, offices, conference rooms or extracurricular activities held in indoor on-campus spaces.
We’re grateful that we have access to widely-available tools to manage the impact of the pandemic including vaccines, testing and medications to treat COVID-19. And, we remain committed to monitoring campus and community metrics and trends, and we will not hesitate to reimplement effective mitigation measures such as mask requirements, if warranted.
It is important that we all continue to support and respect those in our community who need to, or choose to, wear a face covering in non-required spaces. This includes faculty and staff who may continue to require face coverings for visits to their private offices.
I’m very appreciative how our campus community continues to respond and adapt in order to meet our top priorities of keeping our campus healthy while meeting our mission and serving our students.
Glenn F. Boyce
Testing is an important way to limit spread of the virus.
Public health officials predict that the Omicron surge will be relatively short, but that it will continue to grow in the coming weeks. To help reach the end of the surge sooner, please hold large group meetings virtually when possible and consider postponing non-essential gatherings or modifying them to reduce the spread. These seemingly small steps can prevent transmission of the virus.
Charlotte Fant Pegues
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Dear students, faculty, and staff,With the spring semester approaching, I want to share an update on our university’s ongoing response to the pandemic to help you understand what to expect on campus. We find ourselves facing another period of uncertainty, but I am confident that we will once again persevere and keep our students on track towards earning their degrees while continuing to move the university forward. The Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of the virus. While health officials indicate Omicron cases are generally mild (especially for those who are vaccinated), the transmissibility of Omicron is significantly higher than the Delta variant. We anticipate that classes and services delivered on our campus will face disruptions.
Ultimately, vaccination remains the best and most widely available protection against severe illness. We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted.We know there is a lot of COVID fatigue out there, but our best path forward is to get vaccinated, follow the protocols, and limit the spread. We may not want to wear masks, but doing so helps to minimize the impact of the virus. This is a special community, and that has been evident through the ways in which we have persevered for nearly two years in navigating this pandemic. Be on the lookout for additional communications in the coming days that will provide more detailed guidance and information. Thank you for your patience and your commitment to seeing this through. Stay healthy,
Glenn F. BoyceChancellorRead More...
Dec. 8, 2021
To all faculty, staff, and student employees,
On Tuesday, December 7, a federal court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the COVID vaccination mandate for federal contractors, which was set forth in a federal executive order and related guidance issued in September.
The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) gave university leaders the authority to follow the federal government’s executive order and related guidance as long as the order was not stayed, delayed or revoked. Since the executive order was stayed, the university is suspending its efforts to require vaccination of our employees. The vaccination requirement for those in an institutional clinical setting, which was permitted through separate board actions taken in August and September, shall remain in effect.
I want to thank all faculty, staff, and student employees who have been vaccinated. I especially want to express my appreciation to those who acted promptly to submit their vaccination record or request for an accommodation. Our community mobilized quickly in response to the mandate, and I appreciate the commitment shown by thousands of employees to respond. The university committee reviewing all pending requests for accommodation will put those requests on hold unless and until the mandate is reinstated.
We will continue to monitor any additional developments in the law, including any appeal of the Georgia decision and other court cases related to the vaccination mandate. As courts make their rulings, this situation could change. If the mandate is reinstated by a court, we will adjust our efforts accordingly.
While this action stays the mandate, the benefits of getting vaccinated are clear. As we approach the year-end holiday season when we will gather with family and friends, I urge everyone to make it a priority to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated.
Glenn F. Boyce