Southern Miss president releases statement on coronavirus

(The following information comes from the University of Southern Mississippi.)

Dear University Community,

Following the guidance of recent COVID-19 advisories provided by federal, state, and local healthcare organizations, The University of Southern Mississippi is providing the following updates:

Events • Events sponsored by USM or hosted in USM facilities, where 50 or more attendees are expected, are canceled. • This guidance is effective from March 12, 2020 to April 30, 2020, at which time event guidelines will be reevaluated.

Spring Break • Spring Break has been extended through March 27, 2020. Students should read this message from the Vice President for Student Affairs - https://www.usm.edu/provost/extended-spring-break.php - linked on the Provost’s website - https://www.usm.edu/provost/coronavirus.php - for more specific information.

• Classes will resume the following week on Monday, March 30. • During the extended Spring Break period, the University’s offices and all student services will remain open, including residence halls, dining services, libraries, campus recreation, student health services, student counseling services, and other student services. Hours may be modified slightly during the break, so we encourage you to visit each area’s website for current information. • Supervisors are encouraged to consult with their student employees to discuss work during the extended Spring Break period. Students may not be required to work during this period but are permitted to work if their unit determines that the work is essential for University operations. • Employees remain eligible to use personal leave or comp time in accordance with existing policies. We encourage you to do so as appropriate, in consultation with your supervisor. However, please be reminded that this is a time to think critically about travel and whether that travel is in your best interest considering COVID-19.

Face-to-Face Classes • University officials are currently engaged in discussions about face-to-face classes and will communicate related updates as soon as decisions are made. • Faculty should prepare for the strong likelihood of all coursework being delivered online or through an alternate delivery method. Resources and guidance are available online at https://www.usm.edu/provost/keep-teaching/index.php.

• Students should prepare for the strong likelihood of all coursework being delivered online or through an alternate delivery method, including securing adequate internet access. Resources and guidance are available online at https://www.usm.edu/advisement-center/course-completion.php. For students who are on campus and not exhibiting symptoms, libraries and computer labs will remain open.

Competitive Athletic Events • Policies regarding athletic competitions are being reviewed in conjunction with Conference USA, and an announcement is expected later today.

Individuals who are responsible for existing event plans should consult with their school or unit director if they have questions. For the most up to date information about COVID-19, you should continue to monitor the University’s official website - https://www.usm.edu/provost/coronavirus.php. Sincerely, Rodney D. Bennett President

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