MU officials provided additional details Wednesday on their plans to gradually reopen the campus, beginning with limited faculty returning next week in the first phase of the “Show Me Renewal” plan, according to a campus email from MU Interim Chancellor Mun Choi and Provost Latha Ramchand.

The steps, made in consultation with local health officials, are the first tangible signs of what leaders hope can be a return to campus this fall by students. This follows Choi’s previous announcement that the first wave of researchers would begin May 20.

The group will be focused on resuming research, but some university leaders and staff who have necessary in-person duties will be approved to return, the email said.

The email asked that all employees not in this group continue working remotely for the time being.

Returning faculty, staff and students are asked to follow health and safety guidelines such as staying home if sick and social distancing, the email said.

Earlier, Choi said Environmental Health and Safety officers will be monitoring the activity on campus to make sure safety guidelines are followed.

Faculty and staff will fill out authorization forms to return to campus, which will be on the MU eCompliance website Friday. These forms will then be reviewed by deans and division leaders, the email said.

Over the summer, the plan is to gradually repopulate campus in more waves of faculty, following county guidelines and the advice of experts at MU Health Care, the email said.

Eventually, the hope is to ramp up to the point where campus is ready to fully open in the fall, with health guidelines permitting.

Although a full fall reopening is the current plan, MU is asking faculty to prepare to teach their courses online so a quick pivot to online or a hybrid scenario with a mix of online and in-person classes is viable.

“It is critically important for faculty and staff assigned to teach in the fall to begin the process of developing eLearning versions of their courses,” the email said.

Choi has said that MU should “hope for the best, prepare for the worst, but also plan for surprises” when it comes to the fall reopening.

Faculty and staff groups are in the process of planning for the fall, the email said, focusing on “academic, research, student affairs, facilities and testing, contact tracing, and quarantining programs.”

A website for Show Me Renewal is in development to give updates, the email said.

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 a city editor at the Columbia Missourian. She oversees coverage of education. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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