MU announced Thursday that it would resume in-person classes after Thanksgiving break.
This decision was based on several factors, including the campus community’s progress in managing the pandemic, lack of internet access for students living in rural areas or low-income households and the need for students with part-time jobs on and off campus to remain in Columbia, according to an MU news release.
“We’ve been very pleased with how our students, faculty and staff have responded to the new campus requirements,” MU Chancellor Mun Choi said in the release. “We have demonstrated that we can have in-person classes at Mizzou and do so safely.”
MU spokesperson Christian Basi said students are being encouraged to stay in Columbia for the week.
“We want students to be mindful of their plans for Thanksgiving,” Basi said. “We would encourage students to do the least amount of traveling possible, and that means we are encouraging them to stay in Columbia.”
He said residence halls will stay open based on student need.
Meals and other Thanksgiving celebrations are being planned for those remaining in Columbia so they avoid the risks of travel and interacting with at-risk family members, according to the release.
Across the country, colleges and universities have adjusted their teaching formats around COVID-19. The University of Illinois and Indiana University are going virtual after Thanksgiving.
Last week, MU announced it will host a virtual celebration for December graduates rather than in-person commencement ceremonies. Events for Homecoming, which was supposed to be this weekend, are largely canceled.
It is possible MU’s decision on classes post-Thanksgiving could change based on new data.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and should we feel like we need to make a different decision or go a different route, we’ll announce that as soon as we can,” Basi said.
As of Thursday morning, there were 70 active student cases on campus, a 90% decrease from a Sept. 5 peak. A bump of 24 new cases Wednesday might be due to a local provider’s delayed report of older positive tests, according to MU spokesperson Liz McCune. The last time there was an increase in active cases over eight was Sept. 29.