End of Fall Semester Update

November 17, 2020: Testing and Thanksgiving Reminders

MSU Students,

We will be hosting two COVID testing events again this week in the MSU Dome (3rd Floor) on Tuesday and Friday. Like last week, the first hour (from 8-9 a.m.) will be reserved on both days for MSU students, faculty, and staff. Please plan to show up early (8 am or as soon as you are able) to ensure you get tested.

Regarding the upcoming Thanksgiving Break: we announced an option last week for students to remain home and complete the final weeks of the fall semester from home. As you know, this is an option; for those of you not selecting this option, there are a few things to consider prior to Thanksgiving.

  1. There is serious concern that Thanksgiving gatherings will create a prime opportunity for the virus to spread. Of course, the last thing any of us want is for an MSU student to be an asymptomatic carrier of the COVID virus and bring it home to a family member who might have greater health risks should they contract COVID. We also want to avoid bringing additional viral infections back to the MSU campus that might have been contracted during Thanksgiving travels.
     
  2. Hence, there is a growing nationwide urging that college students reassess Thanksgiving travel plans and consider staying put rather than traveling to see family. You and your families each need to make this decision. However, if you do leave Minot next week for Thanksgiving and then return back to MSU, you are strongly advised to get tested before you travel and then get tested right away the following week upon returning to campus.
     
  3. Additional guidelines regarding Thanksgiving gatherings were released last week by the ND Department of Health.
     
  4. If you do decide to travel for Thanksgiving, many schools are encouraging a “lay low before you go” strategy. I endorse such a model as it encourages students who are traveling for Thanksgiving to just tend to basic needs such as attending classes, while avoiding any larger crowds and other unnecessary public spaces in the 10 days prior to their holiday travel (that 10-day window begins today – so please make good choices starting today in the days leading up to Thanksgiving).

Our absolute best prevention strategies remain wearing masks, avoiding crowds, staying home if you are not feeling well, exercising social distancing, and washing hands frequently. If you have not yet done so, it is also important to get your flu shot. The CARE 19 Alert app is still available as an important contact tracing tool.

Testing Schedule this week:
Tuesday, November 17: 9-11 a.m. (8-9 a.m. reserved for MSU)
Friday, November 20: 9-11 a.m. (8-9 a.m. reserved for MSU)

Future Testing dates before and after Thanksgiving:
Monday, November 23: 9-11 a.m. (8-9 a.m. reserved for MSU)
Monday, November 30: 9-11 a.m. (8-9 a.m. reserved for MSU)

Pre-register for testing here if you have not yet done so in the past: https://testreg.nd.gov

Thanks,
Steve
Steven W. Shirley, PhD
President
Minot State University
701-858-3300
www.minotstateu.edu
Go Beavers!


 
November 11, 2020: Post-Thanksgiving Option

MSU Students,

While our COVID numbers on the MSU campus have been on an uptick the past couple weeks, we have certainly weathered the fall semester about as well as could be expected. Unfortunately, the same is not true in North Dakota or Ward County as COVID cases have spiked dramatically in the past month. With Thanksgiving approaching and it being a traditional time of family gatherings, another surge in cases on the MSU campus is a very real possibility when students return from Thanksgiving. To that end, we have made the decision to allow you the option to depart campus at Thanksgiving break and complete the remaining two weeks and Finals Week from a distance.

The MSU campus WILL remain open after Thanksgiving and classes currently being offered face-to-face will continue that way for those who choose to attend in-person. You should weigh several important factors in your decision to remain on campus or go home:

  1. Classes currently offered in-person and remotely/HyFlex/online synchronous will continue on the day/time they are scheduled. If you choose to go home, it in no way excuses you from missing your classes. You must communicate with your professor if you plan to utilize the distance option. In some cases, you may need to take an incomplete and finish the course at a later date; you must discuss this with your instructor in advance and complete a Course Completion Agreement (under Registration and Forms).
     
  2. You must have the appropriate technology to complete your semester at a distance during the remaining three post-Thanksgiving weeks of the semester. Check with your instructor to determine the technology required. MSU’s Information Technology may be able to assist you with those needs.
     
  3. For those selecting the remote option, it does not begin until Wednesday, November 25; it is absolutely critical that you continue attending your classes/labs during the next two weeks in the manner you currently are.
     
  4. Housing and Dining Services will continue until the end of the semester. There will not be any refunds or prorating for those services if you opt to leave campus prior to the end of the semester.
     
  5. You should also consider any potential quarantine regulations your home state or country might have upon returning home from North Dakota.
     
  6. This option is for students on the MSU campus; MSU students taking classes at other campus locations (BSC, NDSU) need to adhere to the protocol on that campus and/or their individual professors.
      
  7. Students will have the option to select S/U grading for one or more of their courses no later than December 30. Please look for additional communication about this grading option in the next week.

Please also know the Spring Semester will begin as scheduled on the MSU campus Monday, January 11, 2021. If you have not yet registered for Spring classes, please do so as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Steve
Steven W. Shirley, PhD
President
Minot State University
701-858-3300
www.minotstateu.edu
Go Beavers!