MU Delays Start of Spring 2022 Semester for Campus Undergrad Programs

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After continuous consultation with health officials over break, I have decided to push back by one week the opening of the 2022 Spring Semester – and the testing that goes along with it – for both residential and commuter on-campus undergraduate students. Classes for these students will now begin Jan. 18 instead of the originally scheduled Jan. 10. Graduate programs and fully online programs in Methodist University Online will proceed as scheduled with no changes.

In summary:

  1. Undergraduate on-campus programs are delayed until Jan. 18.
  2. Graduate programs will begin Jan. 10, as originally scheduled.
  3. Methodist University Online programs will begin on their originally scheduled start date.
  4. Please note: Methodist University Online is the programs that are fully online. If you are an undergraduate on-campus student taking a course or two online in addition to your on-campus courses, all of your courses – including the online ones – will now begin on Jan. 18.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading extraordinarily fast in our county, state, and nation. Today, in fact, we saw a national record for new cases during the entire pandemic. I am certain we will have cases on our campus this spring, but as promised all along, we are working daily to remain as open as possible while also being as safe as possible. Delaying the full opening of campus by a week affords us multiple opportunities to mitigate risk.

As we transition from the 2021 Fall Semester to the 2022 Spring Semester, I see wonderful opportunities and achievements ahead. For some, it’s a final semester before the milestone of Commencement. For others, it’s a first semester at Methodist University with new doors being opened for the future. In every case, we move into this new year full of eagerness and excitement. As we have throughout the pandemic, we must continue to move forward together and make caring decisions to protect ourselves and one another.

A few important safety items pertaining to the delay and start of the 2022 Spring Semester at MU include:

  • As shared previously, all students, both graduate and undergraduate, who will routinely be on campus (and who were not already given exemptions) must show proof of full vaccination by end of day on Dec. 31. Visit the Vaccinations page on the Forward Together site for additional detail and how to upload documentation.
  • Students living in residence halls on campus will be asked to return to campus in four daily phases, beginning Jan. 13. You will soon receive additional communication explaining changes to the return-to-campus testing requirement, telling you which phase you are in, and explaining the process for returning to the residence halls.
  • Undergraduate commuter students are expected to be tested for COVID-19 after Jan. 7, but before returning to campus for classes on Jan. 18. Once you have completed your tests – please use MU’s Green Screen COVID-19 Monitoring App to affirm your negative result. Results as close to 72 hours prior to arrival on campus are preferable, but affirmation of any negative test between Jan. 7 and Jan. 18 will be acceptable.
  • MU prefers – for your safety and certainty – that individuals utilize professional testing sites if possible, but home kits of any kind or brand also are being accepted for this particular request only. I hope that having an additional week will be helpful, and I highly recommend you do not procrastinate as it takes effort to obtain these tests.
  • We request that you follow the full two-test regimen required by home tests if you decide to go that route. Once you have tested negative, we ask that you use extreme caution prior to and after returning to campus. Masks and social distancing remain highly effective.
  • Graduate students still need to affirm a negative test on the MU Green Screen app before they return to campus on Jan. 10. We prefer that this test be no more than 72 hours old, but we will accept any test done and affirmed on the Green Screen between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10. Please note the statement above about the home two-test regimen and being cautious after testing.
  • If you do not have a schedule, please contact your academic advisor on Jan. 10.
  • If you have challenges related to travel arrangements or housing – including already booked flights or already scheduled travel dates that will be difficult to change – please immediately reach out to studentaffairs@methodist.edu and explain your concerns. We will work with you to make sure you are not excessively inconvenienced by this rescheduling.
  • If you have questions about vaccines, required testing or anything else related to COVID-19 protocol at MU, visit the Forward Together web site. Our response team at forward@methodist.edu also remains available each day.

Unrelated to this particular testing procedure, but very important to remember, if you became fully vaccinated more than six months ago, a booster shot is highly recommended to diminish the potential of serious illness from COVID-19 and all of its variants. And again, while vaccines and tests have proven effective, please continue to take extra precaution – wear masks, socially distance, avoid crowds – for the safety of all.

Please continue to check your email for additional correspondence as we remain willing and able to adapt as necessary to keep our community safe. What an amazing 2022 this will be as Monarchs continue in excellence and move Forward Together.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President
Methodist University