As we settle into the rhythm of the spring semester (despite this week’s weather disruptions), I’m excited to share information below about the wide range of current events and activities, how you can stay plugged into campus life and our next steps for expanding engagement opportunities safely for the remainder of the semester.
We’re so proud of the way our students have found creative ways to host events while following our campus protocols. We now have more than 380 registered events scheduled across our campus this semester, and we expect to add many more before the term ends. We’ve already had our first Flagship Friday, Welcome Week on the Student Union Plaza and are looking forward to Engagement Week featuring our registered student organizations, free food and giveaways. You can see the entire list of registered student events in The ForUM.
Events and activities are an incredibly important part of campus life, and I’m committed to the university doing all we can to help you make the most of your college experience through this period. I’m grateful to you, our students, for all that you have done to help us navigate this pandemic to date. We appreciate your continued patience and commitment to do your part to protect all in our community.
In January, we shared that we would monitor our COVID-19 positivity rate for the first month of the semester to inform decision-making about future on- and off-campus activities. We must follow public health guidance and current executive and local orders in effect for the respective venue, and that requires good information to understand the health status of our community. Please note that all events are subject to approval and changes may occur based on our positivity rate.On the Events page of our COVID-19 website, you will find the positivity rate framework that we will follow for the remainder of the semester. The framework outlines conditions that must be met to host events, based on a series of thresholds for the positivity rate. Also, on the Events page (and in the snapshot below), you will find the minimum requirements for all events and activities regardless of venue (university-managed and non-university-managed) for the current positivity rate.
- SOCIAL DISTANCING: Social distancing must be maintained at all times (indoors and outdoors).
- CAPACITY: Must adhere to COVID capacity limitations and regulations currently in effect for that space or venue (consult current executive orders, city restrictions, etc.).
- MASKS: Cloth face coverings or masks required at all times except when actively drinking or eating (indoors and outdoors).
• Lower Risk Requirement: Food allowed if served while seated and adhering to dining restrictions.• Moderate Risk Requirement: Food services Grab and Leave only.
- EVENT MONITORS: Minimum of three designated Event Monitors present.
- ATTENDEE LIST: Attendee list provided to Ole Miss Student Union (OMSU) or Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) at least seven days in advance. Only current students and/or organization advisors will be allowed to attend.
- REGISTRATION: Activities must be registered in ForUM. Activities prior to March 11 must be registered ASAP. Activities on or after March 11 must be registered at least 15 business days in advance.
- NON-UNIVERSITY-MANAGED VENUES: Additional requirements must be met for non-university-managed venues. See the activities protocols and parameters for full details.
You can start now! Activities must be registered through The ForUM. Events prior to March 11 need to be registered ASAP. 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 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 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 on the Events page.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 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 activitiesQ: 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: 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 RSO and FSL Leadership better understand how all this will work?
Details will be shared soon for a Zoom panel session for RSO and FSL leadership to review this process and get questions answered.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.