See the latest updates and information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of University contact information at semo.edu/covid19.
Information in this plan is subject to updates and revision by the University.
Southeast Missouri State University began responding to the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in late January 2020. Over the past six months, we’ve learned that COVID-19 is a formidable foe that has left no area of our institution untouched.
The University’s Emergency Response Team came together under the auspices of the Emergency Operations Center in early March. Through regular and ongoing meetings, the team has navigated a wide swath of decisions of enormous magnitude beginning in the spring 2020 semester and continuing this summer and into the fall. At every turn, we have consulted our internal constituencies as well as the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, and tapped its expertise, while making decisions following best practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-19 prompted the University to swiftly curtail spring 2020 face-to-face classes and shift coursework to remote and online forms of delivery for the second half of the spring semester. Faculty quickly pivoted coursework, residence halls were closed, events were canceled, and students were asked unexpectedly to move home in late March.
Almost simultaneously, University employees transitioned to telework, and Southeast business was conducted remotely for about three months. Subcommittees of the Emergency Response Team began exploring a myriad of issues, and starting on May 18, employees slowly transitioned back to campus through a measured and phased approach guided by individual departmental return from telework plans. Buildings reopened for public access on June 29.
Over the next several weeks, the University will be preparing to welcome students to the institution for the start of the fall 2020 semester as we return to face-to-face classes.
Students will find campus life to be a bit different as we adjust to a new normal. Face coverings are now required, and safety signage is being posted across the University. Plexiglass has been installed in some public areas, hand sanitizer is readily available in departments and offices, and students and employees are asked to use disinfectant to help keep spaces clean. Chairs are being separated or marked off in classrooms, and some classes are being moved to larger rooms in order to follow social distancing guidelines. Other courses are being shifted to alternate forms of delivery if social distancing is not possible.
Move-in will be held in a drive-through format Aug. 15-21. Events will be smaller. More grab and go options will be available in dining facilities, and many communal areas will be closed to help mitigate risks. Most importantly, students and employees will be urged to conduct Daily Symptom Checks to ensure they are free of COVID-19 symptoms.
The challenges brought on by the pandemic are like none before faced. Opening Week will look different, but the spirit that buoys these events will emerge as always as we enthusiastically welcome the class of 2024! Thanks to our faculty and staff whose dedication to our students is unrelenting, we will continue to soar. At Southeast, we are rising to the occasion, and together, with everyone’s efforts, we are safely and purposefully navigating this pandemic. Have a great fall 2020 semester! Go Redhawks!
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors has guided every decision. Our goal is to continue providing the quality academic experience that is the hallmark of the Southeast experience. The focus is on educating our students in a safe environment while working to minimize exposure to the virus.
To that end, we are committed to holding in-person classes and resuming student activities on our campus beginning Aug. 24. Our long-standing values of student success, excellence, access and diversity, and community remain and will continue to drive all we do as we learn to live within the parameters of the pandemic.
In early March, President Carlos Vargas activated the University’s Emergency Response Team that has been working for months under the auspices of Southeast’s Emergency Operations Center. Their work has guided every decision as the University deals with the challenges of COVID-19.
Southeast is committed to guidance provided by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, the City of Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County, Cape Girardeau County Emergency Management, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s Show Me Strong plan, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To mitigate COVID-19 risks, Southeast has, among other actions:
We will continue planning, updating and taking necessary actions to protect the health and safety of our University community and to ensure the continuity of our operations with intentional strategic direction as we continue navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University’s Emergency Response Team works under the auspices of Southeast’s Emergency Operations Center. The team brings together 23 key University leaders from across the campus and represents all major facets of the institution.
Membership is as follows:
|Brady Barke||Director of Athletics|
|Dr. Debbie Below||Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success|
|Floyd Davenport||Assistant Vice President of Information Technology|
|Autumn Gentry||Safety Specialist|
|Beth Glaus||Director of the Department of Public Safety|
|Dr. Mike Godard||Southeast Provost|
|Jeremy Gray||Emergency Management Director|
|Jeff Honza||Assistant Director of Athletics for Strategic Communication|
|Dr. Doug Koch||Vice Provost|
|Dr. Trudy Lee||Vice President for University Advancement and Exectutive Director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation|
|Kathy Mangels||Vice President for Finance and Administration|
|Chris Martin||Chief of Staff, Assistant to the President for Strategy and Government Relations, and Secretary to the Board of Regents|
|Angela Meyer||Director of Facilities Management|
|Trae Mitten||Assistant Dean of Students and Title IX and Civil Rights Investigator|
|Michelle Rees||Communications Specialist|
|Sonia Rucker||Assistant to the President for Equity and Diversity and Dean of Students|
|Dr. Bruce Skinner||Associate Vice President for Student Life|
|Dr. Kendra Skinner||Director of Residence Life|
|Dr. Kevin Timlin||Executive Director of International Education and Services|
|Alissa Vandeven||Director of Human Resources|
|Dr. Carlos Vargas||President of Southeast Missouri State University|
|Tonya Wells||Director of University Marketing|
From the team, six subcommittees were formed to plan for the reopening of our campus:
|Tonya Wells, Chair||University Marketing|
|Jeremy Gray||Emergency Management|
|Michelle Rees||University Communications|
|Krista Mayfield||University Marketing|
|Dr. Brooke Clubbs||Communication Studies|
|Beth Glaus, Chair||Public Safety|
|Alissa Vandeven||Human Resources|
|Jeremy Gray||Emergency Management|
|Trae Mitten||Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity|
|Dr. Mike Godard||Office of the Provost|
|Dr. Debbie Below||Enrollment Management and Student Success|
|Dr. Doug Koch, Chair||Office of the Provost|
|Angela Meyer||Facilities Management|
|Dr. John Kraemer||Biology/Environmental Analysis|
|Sonia Rucker||Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity|
|Rhonda Weller Stilson||Holland College of Arts and Media|
|Toni Alexander||History and Anthropology|
|Mike Biros||IT User Services|
|Dr. Bruce Skinner, Chair||Student Life|
|Beth Glaus||Public Safety|
|Dr. Kendra Skinner||Residence Life|
|Andy Tinney||Facilities Management|
|Autumn Gentry||Facilities Management|
|Dr. Kevin Timlin||International Education and Services|
|Brady Barke, Chair||Athletics|
|Wil Gorman||Show Me Center|
|Chris Martin||Office of the President|
|Dr. Trudy Lee||University Advancement|
|Katie Krodinger||New Student Programs|
|Mike Buck||Student Recreation Center/Student Aquatic Center|
|Brent Pfeiffer||Facilities Management|
|Dr. Kenn Stilson||Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance|
|Jeremy Gray||Emergency Management|
|Dr. Debbie Below, Co-Chair||Enrollment Management and Student Success|
|Tonya Wells, Co-Chair||University Marketing|
|Chris Martin||Office of the President|
|Michelle Rees||University Communications|
Important adjustments were made to the fall 2020 academic calendar to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 at Southeast by reducing lengthy break periods. These changes to the fall 2020 calendar were made to help keep our community healthy. No changes have been made to the spring academic calendar at this time.
To support the continued welfare, health and safety of our campus community, numerous precautions have been put into place. We will provide each student with a Daily Symptom Check card to check themselves daily for COVID-19 symptoms. If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, contact your health care provider.
All students living on or off campus should be prepared to abide by critical, public health-driven behavior around the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, Daily Syptom Checks, hygiene/cleaning and limitations on social gatherings.
Even with the steps we have taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the exposure risk can never be eliminated completely. The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Due to concerns related to COVID-19, changes are being made to our traditional check-in process to ensure the safety of our students, parents, and campus staff members. A drive-thru check-in process has been developed to take place in the Show Me Center parking lot. Unfortunately, Move-In Crew volunteers will not be available to assist this year. The following schedule has been developed to allow for 6 feet social distancing and to limit the number of students checking into a building at one time.
The University’s Opening Week Committee is meeting weekly to plan an engaging and memorable experience for new students arriving this fall. Events will include opportunities to:
New Student Programs will share the Opening Week schedule with new students in early August.
Textbook Rental has developed the following plan to help you safely secure textbooks:
You can pick up textbooks inside Textbook Rental beginning Aug. 17, and Textbook Rental will be open the weekend before classes begin. Textbook Rental will limit the number of visitors at one time, as needed, to maintain safe social distancing.
Wintersession books (if available) can be picked up prior to Thanksgiving break or shipped to the student’s home. Standard shipping charges apply.
As we return to campus for the fall, we want to create an environment that allows for you to effectively engage with faculty, friends, students, and the Southeast community. Creating an environment where you can be successful in gaining the knowledge and meeting the outcomes of a course, all while minimizing risk, is our top priority.
Due to the unique nature of each class offered, Southeast is implementing a tiered structure for deciding how to best reduce the spread of COVID-19. If the class was scheduled as a face-to-face class, we want to do what we can to provide that face-to-face interaction for the students while following health and safety guidelines.
Some classes may also be offered in a blended or mixed format with both face-to-face and online material, or fully online. Guidelines will be outlined by your instructors for each class and shared in the class syllabus. Any changes in delivery mode or scheduling will be emailed to your Southeast email address prior to the first day of classes.
Southeast is also offering HyFlex courses to provide students additional flexibility without compromising the quality of the course. HyFlex courses allow students to attend class in any of three modes:
Changes you'll see in the classroom:
Additionally, faculty and/or students are asked to:
If you have been sick with COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, or have been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 you should follow CDC guidance to self-isolate or stay home. Students should notify their instructors immediately and:
We are looking forward to meeting our new students and reconnecting with our continuing students. Faculty and academic advisors are excited about the new, flexible, convenient methods we have in place to support you this fall.
Since most faculty and advising offices do not allow for the recommended 6 feet of social distance, faculty and professional advisors will primarily continue to use remote methods to meet with students.
Don’t hesitate to touch base with your advisor if you have questions about your schedule or degree plans. You can locate the name and contact information of your advisor at supportnet.semo.edu.
Faculty and advisors are focused on supporting students, and using the technology is an incredible asset to do so while protecting everyone’s health.
The residence halls at Southeast are an important part of a student’s college experience and a series of steps are being taken to assist our students living on campus. The Resident Handbook will be updated to include COVID-19 and public health-informed guidance. This handbook will be available on Resdience Life's site in early August.
Students who need to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19 exposure will be encouraged to return home. Students unable to return home will be permitted to remain in on-campus housing. Students who are being tested for possible COVID-19 exposure will be permitted to quarantine in their student room or in another residence hall. Students who require isolation because of a confirmed COVID-19 test will be provided on-campus housing in a single room in Dearmont Hall. Students in Dearmont Hall will have their meals delivered to them and will have access to other University services such as mail and Wi-Fi.
Campus Dining will open with enhanced safety measures in place. The number of students allowed in each dining location will be limited based on space. More Grab ‘n Go options will be available to reduce wait time and congestion.
To ensure social distancing:
Additional safety measures include:
Face coverings must be worn while in any public space in Cape Girardeau County under an Emergency Face Covering Order issued by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 13, 2020. The order remains in effect until rescinded or repealed. For details on the county’s Emergency Face Covering Order, visit cgcohealthdept.com and click on “Face Covering Order” and “Face Covering Order FAQ.”
Face coverings also are required at Southeast as a significant measure to help mitigate transmission of COVID-19. Southeast’s face coverings guidelines, which are subject to change, are available at semo.edu/covid.
Face coverings are required at Southeast, particularly due to widespread sustained community COVID-19 spread in Cape Girardeau County, especially among the 20-29-year-old age group. Face coverings are expected to help slow the spread of this virus both in the county and across southeast Missouri and to protect the safety of Southeast students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors and community members.
More specifically at Southeast:
Exceptions to this guidance, other than those listed above, must be requested by a division executive.
Availability of Face Coverings:
Slowing the spread of COVID-19 requires personal action on everyone’s part. Self-screen daily for symptoms (not related to allergies) to help keep our community healthy. Symptoms include:
If you have symptoms:
Students should notify their instructors and:
Employees should notify their supervisor and:
Both students and employees should follow the community health protocols recommended by the University, Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center and the CDC for guidance on self-isolation and quarantine.
Social distancing, also called physical distancing, means keeping physical space between you and other people outside of your home. Those in your “family unit” are your roommates, suitemates or members of the same household.
Southeast’s Facilities Management team will support enhanced cleaning of University facilities to maintain the highest level of health and safety; however, we also need your help. We are depending on each individual employee to use disinfectant wipes and other sanitation products provided by the University to clean common surfaces (keyboards, phones, mice, desktops, reception counters, door handles, etc.). In areas like classrooms, labs and other shared device areas, we ask students, faculty, and staff to wipe down work surfaces and equipment after individual use to prepare it for the next person.
For copiers, monitors, and keyboards, please use Sani Spritz spray (available from the University) by applying it to a lint-free cloth and gently wiping the equipment. Do not use paper towels as they will scratch. Do not spray directly on equipment as it will cause damage.
For more information on testing and testing sites (each may have criteria for testing):
When a positive case is identified, contact tracings are performed by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center.
If you test positive or are a close contact of a positive case, follow the community health protocols recommended by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center and the University on self-isolation and quarantine.
Public Health will monitor you, provide you a letter with isolation dates.
Students should notify their instructors and:
Faculty and staff should notify their supervisor and:
Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been asked to quarantine:
At this time, the Student Recreation Center and Student Aquatic Center are open to students, University employees and members. New memberships and daily guest passes are allowed.
Intramural Sporting events that put our participants in close proximity to one another are not being planned for the beginning of the fall semester. We continue to evaluate our Intramural programs based on the campus and community guidance related to COVID-19 mitigation.
All patrons are required to wear a face covering in the Student Recreation Center when entering or leaving the facility, or when walking to locker rooms or between exercise equipment. Additionally, in any cases where at least six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained between two or more patrons face coverings are required, even if exercising.
Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure social distancing. Please do not congregate in bathrooms.
Wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom. When soap and water are not available, the use of hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol is an alternative.
When taking an elevator:
Use stairs if, and when, possible.
Water fountains are closed, but hydration stations to refill water bottles and cups are available.
Greek Life at Southeast is developing guidelines for fall recruitment in accordance with the University’s guidance for meetings and gatherings. Students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority will participate in a mix of virtual and face-to-face events as part of the recruitment process. The University is providing all chapters conducting events, whether those events are on campus or off campus, a series of guidelines to follow. In addition, the national organization for each chapter is providing their local chapters information on how to conduct their processes in a responsible way and the University will continue to share information from the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center to our students.
Among the directions being provided to chapters:
Students interested in learning more about joining a fraternity or sorority should register Greek Life's recruitment page.
Contact Greek Life at email@example.com or (573) 986-7301 for more information.
To help protect the University community and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our campus and the surrounding community, the following guidance should be followed when hosting meetings and events in the 2020-2021 academic year.
These guidelines apply to meetings, events and activities coordinated by a member of the University community (students, faculty and staff) or an outside organization hosting an event on campus. The guidelines apply to University sponsored meetings and events, both on- and off-campus. (*This guidance does not pertain to mass gatherings.)
Departments and organizations hosting meetings and events should designate a coordinator who is responsible for adherence to this guidance. The coordinator can be a University student or employee, or a community member hosting a meeting or event on campus. The name of the coordinator will be recorded with the meeting or event reservation.
Groups are encouraged to host meetings and events remotely. Additionally, when in-person meetings and events are held, offer participants the option to participate remotely, when possible. Technology has been upgraded in several meeting rooms to accommodate remote access. Campus Life and Events Services can provide a list of spaces equipped to host remote attendance.
*Students, employees and guests are encouraged to provide their own face coverings. Event organizers are also encouraged to prepare in advance and have a supply of face coverings available at registration. A limited supply of face coverings will be available at locations for individuals who do not have one. Those locations will be announced in the near future.
Student, faculty and staff groups that wish to hold meetings virtually can take advantage of several technology platforms.
Pre-COVID-19 travel procedures (as outlined in the University travel policy) will resume for University travel within the state of Missouri.
Division Executives must establish an approval process for their areas for University travel outside the state of Missouri. The Provost will establish the approval process to be followed by all academic departments. Such processes will provide an opportunity for areas to review the expense and health and safety risks associated with a particular trip or out-of-state event. Employees are expected to adhere to the University’s face coverings guidance while traveling in addition to abiding by face coverings and other safety guidance in place for particular cities, counties and jurisdictions.
Two weeks before student-athletes arrive on campus, they will be asked to do the following:
As student-athletes arrive to campus, they will be asked to do the following:
After the 5-day quarantine, they will be asked to do the following:
Employee Safety Guidance has been developed based on COVID-19 information and in collaboration with the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the health and safety of Southeast, all University students, faculty, staff, guests and visitors are expected to adhere to these business operations guidelines.