Starting Monday, all four campuses in the University of Missouri System are closing. No one will physically work on campus unless directed otherwise, UM System President Mun Choi said in a systemwide email Thursday afternoon.

The shutdown will continue through April 12 and is meant to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Staff and faculty will either work remotely if they can or, if that is not possible, they will be paid through enhanced leave measures that we are putting into place,” Choi wrote in the email.

He was referring to an expansion of leave options announced Tuesday, a day after the UM System Board of Curators gave him temporary authority over the system’s response to the virus.

The new directive does not apply to MU Health Care or the MU School of Medicine.

“Supervisors will have employees report in person only for duties that are necessary to continue the university operations in this interim period,” Choi said. “Exceptions should only be made in rare cases.”

Buildings will be locked during the closure. Some students without other living arrangements, including international students, will be allowed to remain in residence halls, and some dining services will offer carry-out options.

MU announced Thursday that study abroad programs scheduled to take place this summer have been canceled.

As conditions related to the pandemic change rapidly, UM leadership has adjusted plans for the campuses in Columbia, Rolla, St. Louis and Kansas City.

On Friday, Choi and campus chancellors announced that in-person classes would be conducted remotely through the rest of the semester.

On Wednesday, MU told undergraduate students still living on campus to return home if possible. Also Wednesday, Vice Chancellor for Finance Rhonda Gibler announced that students who left on-campus housing by April 3 would be refunded 45% of the semester’s cost.

“I appreciate what each and every member of our UM family has done to help stop the spread of this disease,” Choi said in email. “This situation has required that we find unconventional methods to continue our mission of serving our constituents and Missourians, and I’m proud of the commitment that we all share.”

No announcement has been made about whether commencement ceremonies will be held.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • I'm an assistant city editor. This is my junior year at MU, where I study investigative reporting and political science. Interests include local journalism, breakfast food and good books. Email with any story tips.

  • 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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