Delta State University's response to Coronavirus

Coronavirus Update – March 12, 2020:

TO: Delta State University
FROM: DSU President William N. LaForge
Campus Update from President LaForge – March 12, 2020

Delta State University officials continue to monitor state and national news and guidelines related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, Delta State does not have any known cases of this illness, but university officials are working closely with Bolivar Medical Center, the Mississippi Department of Health, and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning to take precautions to protect students, faculty, and staff.

In an effort to be proactive regarding the need to safeguard our university community, and to maximize social distancing, thus slowing down person-to-person transmission, Delta State has made a number of important and timely decisions, and taken several action-oriented steps to immediately modify its campus operations and services.

During this stressful time, I underscore the need for you to be vigilant, and to take all necessary precautions to avoid the virus and protect yourself and your family. This is the time for smart decisions, good care, and more than an ounce of prevention.  If you or your loved ones exhibit any of the symptoms associated with the coronavirus, please seek medical assistance immediately and self-quarantine.

While the health and best interests of our students, faculty, and staff are our priorities in dealing with the current challenges, we will continue to operate the university to the best of our ability in order to serve our students and their progress toward degree completion.

Please read the information below.  If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please contact your supervisor or advisor.

Current Students

  • Delta State (along with all state public universities) will extend spring break an additional week (through March 22) for students. Delta State will resume classes on Monday, March 23, and all classes will be taught in an online format until further notice. Students should not return to campus at this time. Those who have no other living options available should contact the Housing Office at 662-846-4151.
  • Students who do not have access to a computer or to Internet service (either at home or at a local library or business) should contact their instructor. Students who need technical assistance with accessing campus resources should contact the Office of Information Technology at 662-846-4444.
  • Residence halls are closed until further notice. Special housing and meal arrangements will be made for international students who are currently in country, in-season student-athletes who reside on campus, and those students who do not have other housing options. Those students who have questions regarding their housing needs should contact the Housing Office at 662-846-4151 to make arrangements. Students who need to retrieve essential items from their residence halls also should contact the Housing Office. The Statesman’s Shelf Food Pantry, located in the Nowell Student Union, will be open for students who do not have a meal plan and need assistance with meals.
  • Students who work on-campus should contact their supervisors for direction regarding their employment.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty are required to return to work on Monday, March 16. Staff employees will continue with the current, regular work schedule.

Faculty and staff who have traveled recently must notify their supervisor of their travel before returning to campus. Also, anyone experiencing a fever or flu-like symptoms should not come to campus until the symptoms are resolved and approval has been granted to return to work.

Faculty and staff who need technical assistance with accessing campus resources should contact the Office of Information Technology at 662-846-4444.

The Facilities Management Department is increasing its efforts to sanitize campus facilities for employees and others who must remain on campus.

The University has suspended all domestic and international travel until June 1. Any exceptions must be approved at the vice presidential level.

Campus Service

The Roberts-LaForge Library will be closed to the public; however, library services will be provided electronically to students. Students who need assistance accessing library services may contact library personnel at 662-846-4440.

The following areas will be closed to the general public until further notice:  Young-Mauldin Cafeteria, Food Court (located in the Nowell Union), fitness center, bookstore, gym, and pool. Employees with a previously purchased meal plan may continue to use Young-Mauldin Cafeteria.

The following areas will remain open until further notice: all campus offices, the Hamilton-White Child Development Center, U.S. Post Office (located in the Nowell Student Union), and the Counseling Center (located in the O.W. Reily Health Center).

In line with recently issued NCAA guidelines, athletic competitions will continue as of now; however, attendance will be limited to players, the family of players, and essential personnel. Athletic Department staff will contact season ticketholders regarding appropriate credits.

Plans about events at the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) will be announced next week.

All campus events are cancelled until further notice. Event planners will notify their respective audiences regarding their events.

Questions/Updates

Plans will continue to change, and additional decisions will be made as new information and recommendations are received at the state and national level.  Faculty, staff, students, and families should monitor on a regular basis the university’s website (www.deltastate.edu), official social media accounts, and their email for updates.

We strongly encourage all faculty, staff, and students to take preventative measures to keep themselves and others healthy.  In addition to national and state restrictions, Delta State strongly encourages all faculty, staff, and students to limit all non-essential, personal travel.

For campus-related additional questions, contact the campus Police Department at 662-846-4155.

Beware of Scammers

With events such as the spread of the COVID-19 virus, perpetrators will exploit this opportunity to spread computer viruses and gain personal/private information through phishing attempts. Please be extremely cautious with websites and emails. Never provide user names or passwords through e-mail links.

Coronavirus Hotline

The Mississippi State Department of Health is now operating a hotline for convenient answers to questions about COVID-19. The Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday: 877-978-6453.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me by phone (662-846-4000) or email (president@deltastate.edu).