Missouri Southern moving classes online, restricting access to campus through April

University puts plan into place in response to COVID-19 pandemic

JOPLIN, Mo. – Sophomore Diah West is getting ready to pack up her dorm room and move back to St. Louis.

“I think it’s just the best decision to go home and kind of regroup [and] get on my classes in an environment where I know I feel safe,” says West.

She’s one of many Missouri Southern students who have had to quickly decide if they were going to stay on campus, as the university encourages students that live on campus to go home if they feel the need to.

“It’s surprising I would say. Like, I wasn’t expecting it,” says West.

The university is putting several things into place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

One of the biggest things is moving all classes online from the end of spring break through the end of April.

“No, we haven’t had this magnitude before, but next week is spring break and it’s not gonna be much of a spring break for our faculty sadly because they’re gonna have to convert classes,” says MSSU President Alan Marble.

Something that students we talked to have some mixed feelings about.

“Two of my classes do Blackboard a lot, so it wouldn’t be too much of a change. But, for my other two classes, I don’t know how else we’re gonna do it,” says student Carter Churchwell.

“I’m an art major and a lot of the classes that you do with art, it’s a lot of hands-on stuff. So, moving that to an online format would be really difficult I feel like,” says student Conalee Churchwell.

The university is also closed to everyone but essential faculty, staff and student workers through the end of April.

For students that may not have internet access, two computer labs in the Anderson Criminal Justice Center will be available.

Right now, the university’s top priority is to clean and sanitize every building on campus.

“We don’t think we have any problems because we don’t have anyone that’s sick, but we don’t know. We do know that if and when students come back to campus, we want it to be completely sanitized,” says Marble.

As of right now, everything is in place through April 30th, but Marble says that could change depending on how the situation unfolds.

“We don’t want to put students at any type of disadvantage, so we’re kind of taking it in chunks. We didn’t go to the end of the semester. And we’ll have to make decisions probably by the middle of the month what we’ll do with commencement if we’ll have it or we don’t,” says Marble.

Even though moving off campus away from her friends is hard for West, she thinks the university made the right call.

“I’m sure that making this decision was difficult, and I feel like the first couple of weeks might be difficult to get adjusted. But, I feel like in the long run, focusing back in on guaranteeing the safety of students, I feel like it’ll impact us well in the end,” says West.

The Lion Cub Academy will still be open so parents can still go to work.

Any student worker that can’t work will still be paid.

Additional information on all of the changes can be found below:

MSSU COVID-19 response