THURSDAY (3/12): Note to Students from VP Sells
As you’ve undoubtedly read by now, President McPhee, in consultation with his on-campus management team and others, has announced that the university is extending our Spring Break by one week, through Sunday, March 22, to prepare for the remote delivery of instruction beginning Monday, March 23, and continuing until further notice. Dr. McPhee and all of the rest of us will continue to monitor the conditions around COVID-19 during this time period, and a future decision will be made as to if and when face-to-face classroom instruction may resume.
I know many of you have questions, so this will be the first of what will likely be several email messages to you with updates about the campus. Please be sure you are checking your MTSU email daily, as well as the MTSU Coronavirus page at www.mtsu.edu/coronavirus.
Residence halls and on-campus apartments will remain open and will be operating. However, I would ask that you carefully consider whether your campus residence or your permanent home residence is the safest environment for you. If you are currently away from campus and making decisions about returning to your local on- or-off campus residence, please consider the CDC’s criteria for people considered to be at higher risk, including older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html Students who are currently with us on campus or those who plan to return to their residence hall or apartment will be expected to officially register with Housing & Residential Life so we can account for every student living on campus. On campus residents can expect to hear more from Housing & Residential Life soon.
The practice of social distancing is thought to be a very effective strategy for helping to contain the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing is simply the practice of discouraging close contact between members of a community, including avoidance of social gatherings, meetings, and other group settings. With that in mind, beginning March 16 MTSU will be cancelling all student meetings and campus activities until at least March 30. The Recreation Center is already scheduled to be closed this weekend, and it will remain closed until March 30. We will re-evaluate the need for continuing social distancing measures at that time.
Meal plans will continue to be active during this time. However, beginning on March 16, dining venues will be limited to grab-and-go from the SUB POD and take out options from McCallie, in order to minimize time students spend in group settings.
Student Health Services and our Campus Pharmacy will remain open during this time. As a reminder, if you have had direct contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, or with someone who has traveled to China, South Korea, Iran, Japan, or Italy, you are not permitted to return to campus until you have completed a 14-day self-isolation period and been cleared to return to campus through the MTSU Student Health Services. If you believe you may have been exposed, please phone Student Health at 615.898.2988 for evaluation and further instructions. Students who live on campus and do not have a place to stay in isolation off-campus should contact Housing & Residential Life prior to arrival on campus so that we may assist you in determining a safe location in which to self-isolate.
I know this may be an unsettling time for you, and information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak changes so rapidly that it can be hard to keep up. Please check the MTSU Coronavirus webpage at https://www.mtsu.edu/coronavirus/ for daily updates as the next two weeks unfold. Administrative offices will continue to operate during this time. If you have questions regarding enrollment issues, as always you should send an email to MTOneStop@mtsu.edu
We will be working hard to make sure that we make the very best decisions to help protect the safety of our MTSU community, while simultaneously supporting your on-going academic experience. We will continue to communicate via the MTSU Coronavirus webpage as additional information becomes available, and, as I mentioned above, I will continue to communicate with you via e-mail so you are aware of what is happening. In the meantime, please help us protect the health of every MTSU student and staff member by:
- Washing your hands often
- Practicing effective cough and sneezing hygiene
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Staying home and self-isolating if you are sick
- Maintaining a 14 day self-isolation period if you may have been exposed to COVID-19
One of the things I love most about MTSU is the care and concern our students show for one another. I hope you will all be just a little extra kind and considerate during these next few weeks, as we all work through the best way to help everyone finish the term successfully.
Debra Sells, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and
Vice Provost for Enrollment Services