BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - All eight Mississippi public universities will resume classes on campus in the fall but students can expect some changes.
For most college students, Thursday’s announcement is welcome news.
Rose Le is a biochemistry major who will be a senior next year at the University of Mississippi. The Biloxi native said she is looking forward to returning to campus with her fellow students.
"I'm really excited,” she told WLOX. “I'm excited to take on my senior year and I just hope it goes well. I hope it's not too different and we can still do things in the normal way that we have done."
Classes have been closed at Mississippi colleges since March.
"It was kind of disappointing not to be able to go back to enjoy all of the organizations I wanted to be involved in,” said Le about the initial closure.
Gov. Reeves said this week that more safety and social distancing guidelines will be in place for college campuses.
“I don’t believe the campuses are going to look exactly in September of 2020 like they looked in the December of 2019 time frame,” said the governor. “Because of that, every university has to make the necessary adjustments to make that happen.”
While Le says she does have some concerns, she has faith in the university's plan for reopening.
"There's no 100 percent guarantee that we are protected from the virus but I feel confident in the university for working with the Mississippi Health Department and local officials, following the protocols to the best of their abilities,” said Le. “They wouldn't let us on campus if our well-being was not secured."
The IHL resolution directs universities to offer as many in-person classes as possible while taking into consideration federal and state health guidelines.
A task force formed last month is in the process of figuring out exactly what those changes will look like.
“The Safe Start Task Force is working diligently to develop guidelines to help the campuses resume traditional operations in a safe manner. While this is a fluid situation and there are many unknowns at this point, our goal is to provide the best academic experience in the safest manner possible,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr.
The resolution also recognizes that plans being made my need to be modified as new health recommendations and guidelines are released.
The Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.