COVID-19 Information

See the latest updates and information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of University contact information at

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Southeast Missouri State University is monitoring the growing public health issue surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). To help protect the University community and prevent the spread of this virus to our campus, we are providing the following information. Please check back here for updates.

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As of May 8, 2020

Student CARES Act Funding Available

Dear Southeast students,

Many of you have heard about the CARES Act, a federal stimulus package responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  A portion of the federal CARES Act provides funding to support students and institutions in covering unexpected expenses due to COVID-19.  Southeast has received funding totaling $6,830,214 and the Department of Education is requiring half of that funding to go directly to students.  This results in Southeast having $3,415,107 available to award to Southeast Students. 

The CARES Act instructs universities like ours to direct the aid for students to support current undergraduate and graduate students who have incurred expenses due to COVID-19.  Financial questions and concerns voiced by Southeast families have helped guide how to best distribute this aid, in accordance with the federal guidelines.  The aid can cover related expenses such as technology costs for remote learning, unexpected travel costs and childcare and medical expenses related to COVID-19.

The CARES Act encourages us to give special attention to students with unmet needs, and students must be Title IV eligible.  To verify Title IV eligibility, students must have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file with the university.  The CARES Act does not address COVID-related expenses incurred by our international students, our DACA students, or students who were enrolled exclusively online.  However, the University does have a limited amount of funding available through a privately-funded student emergency fund.  Please contact Student Financial Services at to assess if we have other resources to assist you through this crisis. 

To be considered for COVID-19 Relief funding, you will need to submit the COVID-19 Relief Request application.  To access the application:

  • Visit
  • Log in using your SEKey and password
  • Click the Students tab at the top and then select CARES Act
  • Complete the COVID-19 Relief Request form
  • Once you are done, be sure to electronically sign and hit submit. 

Aid amounts awarded will vary based on expenses incurred and student need.  Most awards will be a maximum of $750.  The application will remain open as long as funds are available.  Applications will be reviewed weekly.  Please note that in some cases additional documentation may be required, which could extend our response time. 

 Please ensure you are set up for direct deposit of refunds through the Southeast portal so that if you are eligible for aid, it will reach you quicker than if we have to mail you a check.  You can sign up or verify your direct deposit information by clicking the “direct deposit” link at the top of the COVID-19 Relief Request application.

We hope this aid will assist you and your family through this very difficult crisis.  University departments are returning from teleworking beginning May 18th and we are readying the campus to provide you a safe environment for learning and interacting this fall.  We can’t wait to see you again!

Carlos Vargas


As of May 8, 2020

Update to the University Community from President Carlos Vargas

Dear University Community,

As the spring semester winds down and the previously announced end date for our telework period is nearing, I want to thank each of you for the ways in which you have seamlessly continued to operate and serve our students during this unusually difficult and uncertain period of time. I am so proud of all you have continued to do in support of Southeast Missouri State University.

With spring classes coming to an end this week, I want to provide you an update on plans for reopening our institution. I have reconvened the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), and this group has begun meeting weekly for the foreseeable future to discuss transitioning back from telework, our summer and fall operations, and other related items. 

Transitioning from Telework

As you may recall, in April, I extended the University’s telework period through May 17 and asked that employees return to our campuses May 18. In preparation for this move, I have asked Executive Staff to work with their Divisions to formulate individual plans based on specific situations for departments and employees in their areas to begin returning to campus during Phase I of our reopening starting May 18. Your supervisor will be in contact with you to discuss the specific schedule for you and your department. Essential student employees also may begin working on campus beginning May 18, and I ask supervisors to work with these students on scheduling their return.

Please also adjust your calendars to note that on May 18, the University will begin observing summer office hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through Aug. 14, as originally planned.

Over the past several weeks, we have been closely monitoring Governor Mike Parson’s “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan for the state of Missouri and the recommendations and guidance of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center concerning reopening of businesses both locally and across the state. In keeping with this guidance, Executive Staff will be working with individual departments on our transition from telework, and we will slowly ease back into our positions over a span of weeks. During this measured and phased process, Executive Staff will work with individual departments to assess physical workspaces on campus and specific needs so appropriate adjustments, such as the installation of sneeze guards and office spacing, can be made to accommodate health concerns and social distancing guidelines for both our employees and customers. While many of us are ready to quickly return to our physical work spaces on our campuses and pick up where we left off in March, I urge you to be patient with us as we proceed with a cautious and deliberate approach.

This phased transition may look different for each department, depending on work responsibilities and the needs of individual offices. I encourage employees to continue to conduct meetings remotely, whenever possible, and to continue to use remote business processes to deliver services. Your safety and well-being are our top priority, and we are doing everything we can to work through a plan that is fluid, flexible, thoughtful and careful to put measures in place to help protect the health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students as we continue to cope with the impacts of COVID-19.

Safety Precautions

While Executive Staff is working on plans that assess physical workspaces to ensure they can accommodate appropriate social distancing, we are also cognizant of employees who may perform their job duties within less than six feet of a co-worker. With this in mind, the University will be implementing enhanced precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. I am asking supervisors to discuss specific social distancing plans with their respective departments. Also, please know the University is procuring and purchasing masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies that will be provided to departments and employees to help keep everyone safe in their work spaces.

Leave Policies

I remind you that personnel policies have been updated and are in place to accommodate expanded Family Medical Leave for employees unable to return to work/telework due to exposure to COVID-19, high risk concerns or the need to stay home with children due to the COVID-19 interruption. These policies are posted on the University’s COVID-19 page at I am asking supervisors to work with the director of Human Resources in these cases.

Summer Classes, Events, On-Campus Housing

As previously communicated, all summer courses beginning prior to June 29 will be delivered online or remotely. At this time, courses beginning June 30 through Aug. 7 will be taught both in-person and online, with courses to be conducted in the mode of delivery as they were originally scheduled. All University events on and off campus remain canceled through June 30.

Beginning next week, Towers South will be open and will accommodate a limited number of students who have made arrangements for on-campus summer housing. Slowly, I expect the campus to begin adjusting to our “new normal” so we are prepared to welcome our freshman class in August.


In an abundance of caution and with concern for the health of our University, existing work-related travel restrictions will remain in place. I know some of you may be considering your summer plans and personal travel. While some areas of the country are reopening, I urge you to continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  available at


Our practices as we return from telework should be much like those we practiced before telework began.  I ask that you continue with frequent handwashing and proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Being aware of your personal health, including chronic conditions, allergies and new illnesses, keeps the community healthy.  Morning home temperature screening is the best early identification of illness.  If you feel ill, especially with a temperature of 100.4 degrees, please stay at home.

Also, know that as we transition back to our work spaces, our Facilities Management staff will resume its daily cleaning schedule and will perform daily high-touch area cleaning as well. We also will be providing departments with disinfectant so they can perform their own intermittent cleaning of high-touch areas such as public counters, copier touch screens, queuing system touch screens, keyboards, phones, etc.

We all should do part so our campus remains healthy.

Our plan is to offer our students a high-quality in-person academic experience this fall. Our new students are telling us they are eager to spread their wings at Southeast, and our returners are very anxious to get back to Cape Girardeau! While there are many uncertainties in the months ahead and students and their parents naturally want to feel comfortable about our plans for this fall, one thing is certain -- we will all rise to the challenge and exceed their expectations! I am very confident our gradual and measured approach to reopening will serve us well. As our Emergency Operations Center outlines additional plans and details for the summer and fall terms, of which there will be many, I will keep you updated.

Thank you again for all you do for Southeast, and I look forward to seeing you on campus later this month!

Carlos Vargas