Dear students, faculty, staff and friends of the University of Mississippi,
This message offers a high-level overview of how we will approach several key matters for the remainder of this academic year.
First, I appreciate the tremendous efforts to move instruction online in such a short period of time to maximize social distancing. The university will deliver all course content online or via other remote methods for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. While this action is necessary, I’m particularly saddened by this abrupt and unexpected ending to the campus experience for our seniors as they prepare to embark on their lives after college. In light of the unprecedented challenges and difficult decisions at the local, state, national and global levels because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we came to this conclusion in keeping with the university’s highest priority of safeguarding the health and well-being of the university community.
Additionally, as the university continues to rely on public health protocols issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mississippi State Department of Health related to large public gatherings, we have postponed the 2020 Commencement ceremonies to an unspecified future date. Commencement in the Grove and other beautiful venues on our campus represents one of our most beloved traditions, and this is a sad but necessary decision for our university community. The call on whether to hold Commencement ceremonies will be deferred in the hope that we can set a date for sometime later in the summer. A final decision will be driven by public health considerations, depending on how the virus spreads. One way or another, we will find a way to recognize and celebrate the significant achievements of the members of the Class of 2020.
The public health imperative to maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings creates a challenge for our on-campus residents to retrieve their belongings safely from our residence halls. The university is developing and will announce an appointment-based system at a later date for students to return to campus to retrieve personal belongings from their residence hall or university-owned apartment. Our operating environment has many unknowns at this time, so the timeframe for these appointments will be dictated by public health considerations. All residence halls and rooms will remain locked until further notice, so your rooms and the possessions in your rooms will be secured. Students are not authorized to return to University Housing facilities until further notice.
As this situation remains extremely fluid, we ask for your patience as we continue to respond to this rapidly evolving crisis. I encourage you to visit olemiss.edu/coronavirus regularly to find the most up-to-date information from the university. And, as we always do, I know the Ole Miss family will come together and support each other through these uncertain times.
Glenn F. Boyce