• 68°

IHL announces all universities will extend spring break; classes to resume online

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit Mississippi, and all public universities are acting accordingly.

On Thursday, the Institutes of Higher Learning announced all eight universities will extend their spring break until March 23. Classes will then resume via online and other alternative methods.

“The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are paramount,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins, Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. “Our universities are modifying the schedules for the spring semester out of an abundance of caution.”

The announcement affects Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

When classes resume on March 23, students are encouraged to remain at home and will participate in their classes remotely. Students enrolled in professional and graduate programs will be notified of any exceptions to meet clinical and other requirements, per a release from the IHL.

“The situation remains fluid and university plans are subject to change in response to new information and recommendations received,” Rankins said “We continue to work with the Mississippi Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness and Response Planning Steering Committee and the Mississippi State Department of Health as we develop our plans for the coming weeks and months. Our goal is to mitigate the risks posed by the coronavirus while maintaining the quality and integrity of our instructional programs.”

Ole Miss announced residence halls will be accessible for the limited purpose of retrieving essential belongings from March 15 at 8 a.m. through March 18 at 5 p.m. Students are encouraged to return to their family home during this period. If students cannot get back to their dorm, they can call university housing at 662-915-7328 to make alternative arrangements.

Students living in fraternity and sorority houses will be notified with additional information from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life as the office coordinates with national and local chapter leadership.

Faculty, staff, students and their families should monitor the Ole Miss website and social media accounts for updates.

This is a developing story.