Last Updated: March 15, 2020 / 8:30 p.m.
- Current university status
- What you need to know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Guidance for students
- Guidance for faculty, staff and research activity
- Campus events and gatherings
- If you are sick
- Returning to campus from international travel
- Guidance on university-affiliated travel
- Preventing the illness
- What happens if a case is identified?
- Support within the UM community
- New Faculty, Staff, or Students who are Scheduled to join UM
- Who to contact
Current university status
In response to the rapidly evolving situation with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to maximize social distancing in order to slow transmission, all classes on the Oxford campus and the regional campuses are canceled for March 16-20, 2020, the week that students were scheduled to return from Spring Break.
Beginning Monday, March 23 and until further notice, the university will hold all classes and related coursework online or via methods other than in-person, on-campus instruction. The timeframe for this approach is open-ended, and we will monitor this approach continuously with the hope of returning to normal operations before the end of the spring semester. Students will hear directly from their respective deans and/or faculty instructors regarding any specific instructions.
Campus notifications can be found at https://communications.olemiss.edu/coronavirus/
What you need to know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The University of Mississippi continues to actively monitor the spread of the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to infection with novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). People in numerous countries, including the United States, have been infected. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Mississippi.
The university’s Emergency Management Office and Student and Employee Health remain in contact with state public health officials and Baptist Hospital to ensure that we are following the latest information, trends and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, we are following alerts and recommendations from the U.S. Department of State.
The Mississippi State Department of Health has established a COVID-19 hotline for the general public, 877-978-6453. It is available Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
The safety and well-being of the university community is always our highest priority. We will update this page as needed to keep our campus community informed.
Guidance for students
Students are strongly encouraged to return to their family home and stay there during this period to promote social distancing and minimize the risk of spreading the virus. If you have no other living option available, contact University Housing at 662-915-7328 to arrange a place to stay. Campus dining and other services will be available to those students on a limited basis.
Students are expected to stay away from campus and participate in classes from home. However, we recognize that students may need to retrieve essential items (e.g., laptop, textbooks, medicine) in order to continue their studies. Residence halls will be accessible for the limited purpose of retrieving essential belongings from Sunday, March 15 at 8 a.m. through Wednesday, March 18 at 5 p.m. If you cannot get to campus during that time period, contact University Housing at 662-915-7328 to make alternative arrangements. Additional details will be sent as available.
For students who live in fraternity and sorority houses, additional information will be forthcoming from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life as that office coordinates with national and local chapter leadership.
Each faculty member will make decisions about the best means of course delivery in light of the nature of the course. Please monitor your Ole Miss email and your course webpages for details.
Guidance for faculty, staff and research activity
Faculty, staff and other employees are expected to work during this period and practice social distancing. Some faculty and staff may be able to telecommute. Telecommuting allows employees to work at home or in a satellite location for all or part of their workweek. Temporary telecommuting arrangements may be approved amid COVID-19 concerns. These arrangements will be approved on a case-by-case basis. Unless otherwise noted, research activities will continue at this time.
See Coronavirus Workplace Considerations by Human Resources.
Campus events and gatherings
Effective immediately, all university-sponsored non-Athletics events and large on- and off-campus gatherings, including events sponsored by any registered student organizations, will be canceled or postponed until further notice. Please look for announcements from event coordinators and contact them if you have questions.
We encourage administrative gatherings and large meetings to be conducted by teleconference, and keep in-person meetings to an absolute minimum. We will explore options to enable certain events to be held virtually.
As a member of the SEC, Ole Miss Athletics will follow the approach announced by the conference.
If you are sick
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from any affected country or area with active community transmission, you should call ahead to Student or Employee Health or your primary healthcare provider and mention your symptoms and recent travel. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from any affected country or area with active community transmission, you should call ahead to Student or Employee Health or your primary healthcare provider and mention your close contact and their recent travel. At this time, your healthcare provider will work with the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
- Students – should contact Student Health for additional evaluation and information.
- Faculty and Staff – should contact Employee Health for additional evaluation and information.
Returning to campus from international travel
Note that all university-affiliated international and domestic travel is prohibited until further notice.
Those who are returning from international travel will be required to self-quarantine, self-monitor, complete the travel log and follow the CDC recommendations for what to do, for a minimum of 14 days.
Those returning from domestic travel are asked to self-monitor for the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough and shortness of breath – and call the Health Center if symptoms develop.
- Students – please call Student Health (662-915-7274) for additional evaluation and information.
- Faculty and Staff – please call Employee Health (662-915-6550) for additional evaluation and information.
These measures are in place to assist you and protect the health and safety of our community.
- Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
- Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.
- Isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.
Guidance on university-affiliated 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 travel is strongly discouraged.
Summer study abroad programs, starting between May and August 2020, are cancelled. For questions or information about your specific program, contact Study Abroad. The university has also requested that currently abroad students return to their home countries.
Students should return to their home countries and follow the recommendations for those returning from international travel.
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. That’s why the university has launched a Travel Reporting Portal to log any recent international travel (including personal travel) by faculty, staff and students. 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.
Preventing the illness
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC also offers specific guidance for travelers.
What happens if a case is identified?
Currently, there is not a case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Oxford. The CDC, State Department of Health, and local and university health care experts will be integrally involved if a case is detected in our area. We remain in close contact with them to understand their protocols and refine our plans as the recommendations from national and state authorities evolve and change.
The university is in the process of refining its epidemic plan and developing contingency plans that can be called into place if needed. Additional updates on these plans will be posted as needed.
Support within the UM community
The fear and uncertainty that accompanies widespread illness can lead to many reactions. UM community members may have friends and family overseas who are affected and may be anxious or sad about the situation. They may also be overwhelmed by the amount of media coverage, both through news channels and social media.
As a university community known for caring about each other, this is a time when we all need to be understanding and compassionate to people who may be affected by the news. Also, we should be aware of and avoid broad generalizations and assumptions about China and people from Asian countries. Classifying Asian people as dangerous or sick, or making assumptions about a person’s nationality based on their physical appearance reinforces long-standing histories of xenophobia and racism, whether intentional or not. Please treat all members of our community with respect and empathy as our university and the entire world deals with this evolving situation.
New faculty, staff, or students who are scheduled to join UM
We appreciate that some departments are making hiring decisions and making decisions on the admission of graduate students. These decisions should not be based on the nationality or country of origin of the applicants. Please know that students, faculty and staff from affected areas will face some limitations on their movement and activity upon entering the U.S. This measure is in place to assist the individual and protect the health and safety of our community. These efforts may be directed by the CDC, U.S. State Department of Health, Mississippi State Department and/or the university. The university will work with state and local public health officials to determine the best plan for entering students, faculty and staff.
If your department is welcoming a visitor who is not a permanent member of the UM community (such as Visiting Scholars, Research Scholars, Recruits, etc.), please assess whether their presence is essential at this time. If you feel it is essential, please make a request to allow their presence to the appropriate Vice Chancellor of your area. If the arrival of the visitor can be delayed, please recommend this to your visitor.
Who to contact
Office of Global Engagement
Questions Related to Studying Abroad
Academic Continuity Planning and Faculty Support
Faculty Technology Development Center
See guidance from Human Resources
- UM Messages on COVID-19: https://communications.olemiss.edu/coronavirus/
- UM Student Health: https://healthcenter.olemiss.edu/services-2/
- UM Employee Health: https://healthcenter.olemiss.edu/employee-health-service/
- UM Office of Global Engagement: https://global.olemiss.edu
- FAQ for Study Abroad Students: https://global.olemiss.edu/2020/03/08/covid-19_studyabroadstudents/
- FAQ for the International Community: https://global.olemiss.edu/2020/03/08/covid-19_international/
- CDC What To Do If You Are Sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
- UMMC Guidance: http://www.umc.edu/Coronavirus
- MS Department of Health: HealthyMS.com/covid-19
- MS Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 877-978-6453 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.)
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6