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Colleges and universities will resume “traditional operations” in the fall

Mississippi Today
Colleges and universities will resume “traditional operations” in fall of 2020, the Board of  Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning voted on Thursday.

The IHL Board, which oversees all of Mississippi’s eight public colleges and universities, passed this resolution unanimously and without discussion.

Contributed by the Institutions of Higher Learning

Al Rankins, Commissioner of Higher Education.

Commissioner of Higher Learning Alfred Rankins Jr. proposed a resolution to the board that said the board recognizes, “that providing a safe learning and living environment for the students it serves is paramount … [and] that providing a safe work environment for the system employees … is equally paramount.”

The resolutions goes on to state that, “all of the universities under the governance of the board shall make plans to resume traditional operations on their campuses in the Fall of 2020 to include the offering of as many in-person classes as possible.”

As they plan, higher learning administrators must also take into consideration all applicable guidance from the federal government, the Mississippi Department of Health and any executive orders from the governor that may be in effect at that time.

“The board urges the universities to take prudent precautions in planning for resuming traditional operations and the board recognizes that adjustments may be needed to align in changes with recommendations from health experts,” Rankins read from the resolution.

In March, the IHL board voted to extend Spring Break and cancel all in-person classes for the remainder of the semester in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The College Community Board is permitting each individual institution to decide whether it will offer in-person classes in the fall.

“First and foremost student safety will be top priority,” said Kell Smith, director of Communications and Legislative Services for the Community College Board. “Hopefully they will [resume in-person classes], but that will be that up to each inst to decide.”

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