Missouri Western State University will start its fall 2020 semester two weeks early and end it by Thanksgiving in response to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, we realize that the continued spread of COVID-19 will remain unpredictable for many months and that we need to remain flexible for the foreseeable future,” President Matt Wilson said in a message to campus. “After considerable discussion with faculty, staff and student leaders, we are joining with other universities that have announced early starts to their fall semesters in an effort to hopefully avoid the unpredictable and best serve our students.”
Wilson said this week’s notification from the Kansas City Chiefs that they would conduct their annual training camp at their own facilities rather than at Missouri Western gave the University the flexibility to change the schedule. The shift will allow Missouri Western to take advantage of a period of expected lower COVID-19 case rates before winter hits and minimize the risk of having students return to campus after traveling and interacting with others during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Classes will start on Monday, Aug. 17, two weeks earlier than the originally scheduled date of Aug. 31. On-campus instruction will end on Thursday, Nov. 19. Final exams will be held between Friday, Nov. 20 and Wednesday, Nov. 25. Fall commencement will be held on a date to be determined.
Missouri Western will also encourage the campus community to monitor their health, practice good hygiene, take steps to maximize physical distancing and follow the guidance of health officials on wearing face coverings. Faculty members will explore a variety of formats for course offerings.
Most students have not been on campus since before spring break started March 6. Instruction pivoted to alternative delivery methods for the remainder of the spring semester, and all summer classes have been offered online only.