MU administrators announce that in-person classes will switch to remote learning following Thanksgiving break

Administrators advise students to stay home over the break and finish classes at home until the spring semester starts on Jan.19

MU announced this afternoon in an email that a majority of its in-person classes would shift to an online format. This change is set to be implemented on Nov. 20, and will continue through the three weeks following the Thanksgiving break.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the decision comes after a 48-hour long discussion based on what administrators felt they needed to do to benefit the surrounding community and MU students.

“This was a decision that was made with the input of public health, our medical experts and with the observation of statistics we were seeing in the community,” Basi said in a press conference shortly after the announcement had been made.

It was only one month ago that the administration sent out an initial email stating that in-person classes would resume after Thanksgiving.

Basi said contact tracing and case investigation since Labor Day weekend have suggested no evidence of transmission during in-person classes and that only 15% of the total caseload in Boone County is made up of student cases.

However, with a recent uptick in cases on campus, they decided to go forward with the change in schedule in an attempt to help relieve the stress on the local hospitals, Basi said.

“The numbers changed, the circumstances changed and there was more stress on our hospitals,” Basi said. “We certainly realized and understood the stress on the hospitals in the area and decided to make the call.”

Though Basi and the rest of the administration have reportedly not dealt with any direct pushback from the community, students on campus still worry about their futures at MU.

Freshman Ellen Sherwood was initially excited to be at one of the only colleges bringing students back after the break.

Now, she is confused and frustrated at what this change could mean for the upcoming spring semester and hopes more information regarding the fate of her residence on campus becomes clear as the week progresses.

“I am worried for next semester, but hope Mizzou communicates openly to all students and staff about their plans,” Sherwood said.

Basi said that as plans change, and once those changes are implemented, the administration would communicate those changes immediately with the student body as they had done today.

That being said, questions have arisen regarding whether students will be allowed on to campus at all during this time because of how the initial email strongly advised students to stay home.

Basi said the campus will not close and the dining halls and the residence halls will remain open. There is no rule or mandate that says students can not come back to their Columbia residence, but MU is strongly discouraging it.

“If you are going to leave the residence halls we are not expecting you back,” Basi said. “If you can go home, and you can go home safely, please do so.”

In regards to the spring semester, Basi said that the current plan is to have students report for classes on Jan. 19. This decision is reportedly very likely to stay regardless of changing case numbers because of the difficulty coming back halfway through the semester presents.

While the current plan plays out over the next month, Basi said he and the rest of the administration will carefully watch the statistics in Boone County and actively work to report whatever changes they make to these plans to the students and their families.

“It is a difficult decision, it is a disappointing decision for some, but we are very proud of everyone, the students, the faculty, the staff that have made this semester possible,” Basi said. “We are very proud of the hard work that’s been put in by all of our campus community to make this semester possible.”

Edited by Lucy Caile|lcaile@themaneater.com

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