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IHL Board intends universities to reopen in fall

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning passed a resolution at its meeting Thursday stating the Board’s intention that the campuses of all eight public universities make plans to resume traditional operations on their campuses in the fall of 2020.

“Providing a safe environment for all students and employees is paramount,” said Ford Dye, IHL Board of Trustees president. “We urge the universities to take prudent precautions in planning for resuming traditional operations and make adjustments as needed, based on recommendations from health experts.”

The resolution includes direction to the universities to plan to offer as many in-person classes as possible, while taking into consideration guidance from the federal government and the Mississippi Department of Health and complying with any executive order from the governor then in effect.

The Safe Start Task Force, established in April by Commissioner of Higher Education Alfred Rankins Jr., is developing a system-level plan for starting and completing the fall 2020 semester in the safest and most effective way.

“The Safe Start Task Force is working diligently to develop guidelines to help the campuses resume traditional operations in a safe manner,” said Rankins. “While this is a fluid situation and there are many unknowns at this point, our goal is to provide the best academic experience in the safest manner possible.”

The resolution recognizes that plans being made may need to be modified to align with changes in recommendations from health experts.

ISL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.