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University of Mississippi to have “full, in-person campus experience” for Fall 2021 semester

The University of Mississippi will soon see a bit of normalcy.

On Friday, Ole Miss announced its plan for the Fall 2021 semester, one that resembles more of 2019 than 2020. After a year of virtual and hybrid learning since last March, the university will resume full in-person instruction.

“We have seen a return this semester of much of the vibrancy and vitality for which our campus is beloved and so well-known,” said Ole Miss Chancellor Glenn Boyce in a letter to the University community. “We will offer the Fall 2021 semester as a full in-person campus experience. We will continue to monitor the health and safety of our campus community and adapt if necessary to government orders and public health guidance.”

Priority registration for the fall semester begins on April 12.

With COVID-19 vaccine distribution ramping up across the country, including Mississippi, universities across the state have announced plans to return to a more normal fall on their respective campuses.

The University of Southern Mississippi announced similar plans on Friday as well.

“The growing adoption and distribution of multiple vaccines against the COVID-19 virus enables us to plan for full resumption of in-person classes for Fall 2021 and fully return our campus to pre-COVID-19 operations,” Boyce’s letter continued. “As we remain committed to doing all we can to operate similar to Fall 2019, we will monitor the distribution of the vaccine closely as well as other relevant indicators.”

Ole Miss’s announcement did not give any clear indication of its plans for summer and intersession classes, but the University is working on those plans and will provide an update “soon,” according to Boyce.

Friday’s announcement would seem to indicate that fans will be allowed to tailgate once again in The Grove this fall, but no official word of that one way or the other was given by Boyce.

Governor Tate Reeves’ latest executive order is set to expire on Wednesday, and the Mississippi governor hinted at possibly rolling back several COVID-19 restrictions in his next Executive Order. If those orders include expanding capacity sizes at college stadiums and arenas, the Southeastern Conference would first have to sign off before Ole Miss could expand its seating at all athletic venues.

As of Friday, the state has gone 20 days without breaking 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, and the seven-day average of new cases was at 356 on Wednesday, down from a peak of around 2,400 last month.