May 13, 2020
Although Millsaps College students spent the last month of the 2020 spring academic term utilizing remote instruction in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic, the college is gearing up for an on-campus residential experience in August, as well as planning to support remote instruction options in all classes for any students who are unable to return to campus.
"We expect at least some of our students will not be able to return to campus for a variety of personal reasons, including potentially their health or the health of a family member," says Millsaps College President Dr. Rob Pearigen. "Our faculty are working tirelessly to offer a high-quality educational experience to adequately serve all of our students for the upcoming semester."
Millsaps College Provost Dr. Keith Dunn agrees. "Multi-model instruction is the right solution to enable Millsaps to be responsive to the needs of all our students," says Dunn. "While we hope the majority of them will be with us in the classroom, we cannot leave behind those students who are unable to do so. Our faculty are fully engaged and committed to the success of our students, regardless of how COVID-19 has impacted their living situations. Each class will also include a continuity of instruction plan should a faculty member become incapacitated."
In addition to committing to both on-campus and remote instruction for all classes during the upcoming semester, Pearigen has formed six planning groups to assist with the many facets of the college's on-campus COVID-19 response. Planning group membership includes a broad range of Millsaps stakeholders from the ranks of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees and are focused on the academic program; commencement and special events; community life including Division III athletics; finances; instructional technology and services; and return-to-campus preparations.
In a statement following its virtual May meeting, the Millsaps College Board of Trustees expressed its appreciation for the flexibility and patience of the college's students, stating in part, "As the country looks toward a brighter but still uncertain future, we expect that students will return to campus for a residential experience beginning in August, and we fully support the efforts of the college to safely reach that objective. We express our thanks to all in our extended community for their support of our students during this difficult time and look forward to gathering together in fellowship in the near future."