The president of the University of Missouri System now has temporary authority to implement “lawful policies, procedures or other measures” related to the system’s response regarding COVID-19.

The new rule would allow Mun Choi to make adjustments to human resources policies such as sick leave, administrative leave and vacation leave as the system responds to the virus threat.

As of Monday, there were no COVID-19 cases at MU, in Columbia or in Boone County.

The board’s three-member Executive Committee unanimously approved the new rule.

The meeting was called on short notice after the system learned about 1:30 p.m. that Columbia Public Schools will close Wednesday. The district will use alternative ways of teaching until students are allowed back in their brick-and-mortar classrooms.

“CPS’ announcement affects many of our faculty and staff and the arrangements they have made for their families during the work day,” UM spokesperson Christian Basi said. “So the reason why we had to call this meeting this quickly was so that the president could make some necessary policy changes quickly.”

On Friday, the UM System announced its four campuses will use remote instruction for the rest of the spring semester.

The curators can remove the authority given to Choi any time if there are disagreements. Choi will advise the board on any changes made under the rule.

“In making the motion, I point out that the Board of Curators maintains complete control of this,” curator Maurice Graham said upon moving to approve the rule. “This is a very fluid situation and one that is going to have to be addressed on a day-to-day basis, so I see a need for a policy like this.”

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Education reporter, spring 2020. Studying news reporting. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is a city editor at the Columbia Missourian. She oversees coverage of education. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and

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