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Mississippi College announces plans for students’ return to campus

CLINTON — Mississippi College officials released details Thursday of the university’s fall 2020 semester calendar with changes made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classes will begin Aug. 17, a week earlier than usual, with the semester to end before Thanksgiving.

“The health and safety of our students, as well as of our dedicated faculty and staff, will continue to be our priority as we move forward,” President Blake Thompson said. “We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 developments during the summer months as we prepare for the start of the fall semester.”

Thompson thanked key university leaders for recommending significant fall calendar adjustments to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Other key dates include the Aug. 8 move-in at university residence halls, and an Aug. 11-16 orientation/welcome week. Labor Day and fall break holidays were canceled. Final exams are set for Nov. 18-24.

MC School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jonathan Randle said the task force created to develop best practices for the school to reopen grappled with challenges as they put the fall calendar together.

“We’re trying to prepare for a future that we don’t even clearly see yet,” Randle said. “We’re making recommendations that try to prepare with an eye toward health and safety, but with the least amount of disruption.”

Randle co-chaired the MC fall opening task force with administrator Jonathan Ambrose. He serves as the associate vice president for the student experience and dean of students. The group sought input from faculty, staff and students.

The school announced the state of meal plans in the Clinton campus cafeteria will begin Aug. 8.

The last day of fall classes is set for Nov. 18, with students needing to move out of residence halls no later than Nov. 28.

Officials announced a fall commencement has been postponed but said a spring 2021 graduation ceremony would be held.

“There are an awful lot of crucial parts being played by lots of different people,” Randle said. “Each role is essential in making the fall semester a success.”