Good morning to our students, faculty, and staff, far flung as we are! I hope this email finds you well.
I know you join me in offering prayers and warm thoughts to our Millsaps employee diagnosed with COVID-19. As we communicated Saturday, our colleague is self-isolating under medical supervision and the close contacts of this individual have been notified and asked to self-quarantine as a precaution. We continue to pray that our community remains safe and healthy.
Like almost all states, Mississippi is under a "shelter-in-place" executive order from Governor Tate Reeves. Consequently, the only persons permitted on campus today are those whose on-site work is essential for educational and operational purposes. I am deeply grateful to our staff and faculty—those limited few who continue to make their way to campus and the majority who are working from home—for their dedicated work and commitment to our success during these challenging times.
As the college enters its third week of remote instruction, reports indicate that although things are certainly different, our faculty continue to deliver an exceptional educational experience and our students maintain their commitment to learning. Several students have said to me that being together in a virtual classroom is far better than learning alone. I appreciate the community's flexibility as we navigate these unchartered waters.
All of us have been required to make many difficult decisions and change our normal day-to-day operations as a result of COVID-19; unfortunately Commencement now joins that list. In light of the projected long-term impact of the virus, although degrees will still be conferred on time, the graduation celebration will not be held on our campus in May. What Commencement looks like, however, is yet to be decided. The college is currently in the process of forming a taskforce of students, faculty, and staff to discuss the best way to celebrate the success of our seniors. Have an idea about Commencement you'd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Similarly, all summer school classes for 2020 will be held via online instruction. Faculty members are currently thinking about what courses students may need or desire in light of the disruptions we have experienced this spring. Information will be forthcoming as these details formalize.
We also want you to know that, like many colleges our size, Millsaps is pursuing emergency federal aid to help address financial challenges being faced by the college and our students as a result of COVID-19. We will keep the community informed as we track our application for relief through the funding process.
In the meantime, we continue to look toward next year, and we are undeterred in our recruitment efforts for the class of 2024. Our Offices of Marketing and Communication and Enrollment have created a series of postcards to show students who have indicated interest in Millsaps what we—under non-COVID-19 circumstances!—look like and the amazing experience we offer our students. We hope these postcards will inspire them to become a Major. You may view the postcards here.
I will continue to keep the community informed as we move through these unchartered waters. Continue to send questions to email@example.com, practice effective hygiene and social distancing practices, and take good care of yourself.
God bless and stay well!