I am following up with a few specifics about the College’s plan to continue instruction as we work through the COVID-19 situation. As noted in the recent message to all community members, students will have their spring break extended through March 22. During this extended spring break, there will be no class activities. Faculty, however, will utilize this week to prepare to engage students in classes remotely, beginning March 23 and continuing for at least two weeks, through April 3. We hope to be able to welcome you back to campus at that time, but we’re prepared to continue classes remotely as long as necessary. Below are some key points for now. We’ll update you as decisions are made and more information is available.
- For now, the only modification to the academic calendar for 2019–20 is the extension of spring break for one week. The unedited Academic Calendar is here,https://www.millsaps.edu/_resources/documents/2019-2020-academic-calendar.pdf
- Last class day for the semester is still April 28
- Exams are still scheduled between April 30 and May 5
- Baccalaureate and Commencement (should we be able to hold these events) are still scheduled for May 8 and 9
- As of now, we expect advising, preregistration, and registration for the fall 2020 semester to proceed on schedule. Details to follow.
- All faculty members will use Course Connect for all classes. They will post all essential information on their class’s Course Connect site, including
- Syllabus, complete with grading information
- Tentative Class Schedule (Material to be covered when)
- Assignment Prompts
Each faculty member has responsibility for determining the requirements for their courses, including which media and collaboration tools they use beyond the basic Course Connect requirements. Your faculty members will be in touch with you directly. You must be prepared to engage via campus email. You will be responsible for information sent through that medium.
- We recognize that some essential teaching and learning activities, like studio art classes, laboratories, and performing arts classes, do not translate easily to remote instruction. We will have to do the best we can to work through these issues. The entire higher education community is facing this same dilemma. We will continue to work with faculty and staff from other institutions to find the best possible solution to these problems.
- Students will not be allowed access to campus without being granted permission through Student Life. Faculty members do not have the authority to circumvent this protocol by giving students implicit or explicit permission to come back to campus.
- You will be expected to have reliable internet access to engage in your remote courses. If you do not have the necessary access, please file an exception request through Student Life, utilizing the online form, https://www.millsaps.edu/coronavirus/exceptions.php . We will do our best to help you identify appropriate resources.
- We are in the process of making decisions about Study Abroad/Study Away programs scheduled for this summer. I expect decisions on these programs to be made in the next few days.
- We are also in the process of making decisions about Comprehensive Exams. I expect to make an announcement about Comps no later than the morning of Wednesday March 18. For now, please assume that your Comprehensive Exams will proceed on schedule, but remotely.
- Stay up to date with the FAQ document on the Coronavirus webpage,https://www.millsaps.edu/coronavirus/faqs.php. We will update that page frequently. It has information about internships, externships, and student teaching, for instance.We will continue to provide additional information in the coming days. Please know that this situation is evolving at a pace that few, if any, of us could have predicted. We all recognize that remote instruction of any kind can’t measure up to the face-to-face, personal instruction and mentoring that is the heart of the Millsaps experience. While the circumstances are not ideal, I am confident that the extraordinary group of educators and professionals at Millsaps will find ways to engage and support you effectively as you finish out the academic year. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We’re all in this together and sorting out our new reality on the fly.
Sincerely, Keith Dunn