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MU considers schedule change to fall 2020 semester

Proposal requires approval from MU Faculty Council and Board of Curators; would start and end semester early

June 3, 2020
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Missouri officials are considering an earlier start to the fall 2020 semester. The new schedule would start the semester 10 days early (August 12) and would end in-person classwork right before Thanksgiving. The proposal will require approval by both the MU Faculty Council and the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

“We remain focused on having in-person teaching, research and engagement in the fall, and this schedule change would help to limit exposure due to travel during the semester. This also would avoid having thousands of additional people on campus during the winter weeks when illnesses are more common,” said Latha Ramchand, MU provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This is a measure many other universities around the country have taken in the interest of managing our campus communities through an evolving public health situation. The health and well-being of our students and community is our top priority.”

The proposed new schedule includes the following:

  • 8 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12: Semester starts. (original start date was Monday, Aug. 24)
  • Sept. 7: The university would remain open on Labor Day
  • 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20: In-person classwork ends. (original end date was Thursday, Dec. 10)
  • Nov. 30 – Dec. 14: Finals given online. (finals week originally scheduled for Dec. 14 – Dec. 18)

“It’s important to note that this is a proposal and still fluid at this point. However, we wanted to inform our community about this so everyone could start thinking about how the schedule could affect them if it’s adopted,” Ramchand said. “We understand that this requires a significant amount of flexibility among our students, faculty and staff. During this unprecedented time, we will continue to be as flexible as we can while also working very hard to provide the high-quality education that Mizzou is known for throughout the state and nation.”

The MU Faculty Council will meet on Thursday, June 4, to consider the proposal. If it passes, the proposal will be sent to the Board of Curators for consideration at the Thursday, June 18, meeting.

Planning for a return to in-person operations in the fall is well underway. Seven work groups  — Academics, Research, Student Affairs, Testing and Tracing, Facilities, Athletics, and Communications — are working through various scenarios and planning for how the in-person campus experience will resume with safety as the highest priority and with flexibility in a changing public health environment.

Faculty members also are training and developing robust remote and online class offerings to support the university’s contingency plans for the fall depending on the status of the pandemic, as well as to support on-campus social distancing plans.

“We are grateful to our local health department, state and federal authorities and our own medical experts who have provided guidance to the many volunteers in our campus workgroups who are diligently charting our safe and timely return,” said Mun Choi, UM System president and interim MU chancellor. “We look forward to seeing everyone on campus in the coming months as we continue the vital missions of this great university.”

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