To prepare for the fall, MU is developing a task force for COVID-19 antibody testing and contact tracing, UM System President Mun Choi said Thursday.

University officials are determining whether MU should provide tests to students or ask them to get antibody tests where they reside, Choi said at a meeting of the MU Faculty Council.

His comments on testing were more specific than they were when he addressed the council two weeks ago, when he said MU was working to increase its capability in testing for the virus.

Choi also said research will begin to resume on campus starting May 20 following health and safety guidelines. He said Environmental Health and Safety officers will be monitoring research to make sure researching faculty, staff and graduate students are acting safely.

On Monday, MU took early steps in reopening the campus, which has been largely closed since March. Members of the athletic department, including head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz, went back to work in Memorial Stadium’s South End Zone building.

Most MU employees have been working remotely since March 23.

Although Choi reiterated his plan to have normal operations in the fall, he also said that faculty members should prepare fall courses in both in-person and online formats.

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, but also plan for surprises, because we are going to get surprises,” said Choi, who is also interim MU chancellor.

“The next few weeks to few months will be very important to help us evaluate how the state is doing and how the rest of the country is doing with some of the easing,” he said.

He reiterated that the UM System will provide resources and training to help faculty members teach their classes online better.

“It usually takes about 10 weeks to develop a high-quality online course,” Choi said. “We have experts working at e-learning offices that are providing webinars and additions support to faculty members to convert their courses.”

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Education reporter, spring 2020. Studying news reporting. Reach me at lge7kn@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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