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Mississippi College Stresses Health Protocols as Fall Classes Begin

COVID-19 campus coordinator Beth Stapleton
COVID-19 campus coordinator Beth Stapleton

Mississippi College students participated in COVID-19 testing, wore masks and followed other health protocols as the university opened its 195th academic year.

As fall classes began August 17, thousands of students returned to the Clinton campus for the first time since the pandemic hit in March.

Over the last two weeks, 1662 MC students were tested for the coronavirus and there were seven positives. Four students returned home to isolate. Three other students remained in isolation on campus, new reports show.

Anyone testing positive is required to isolate for 14 days before returning. In addition, each person must be symptom free for 48 hours.

“We tested more than 1600 students over the last two weeks and only had seven positives. I am thrilled by those results,” said COVID-19 campus coordinator Beth Stapleton.

Mississippi College, she said, is “in a really good place right now regarding the COVID-19 battle.”

Practicing social distancing in the A.E. Wood Coliseum, students lined up for quick read Antigen tests before checking into residence halls. “Our School of Nursing carried the weight for administering the tests,” Stapleton said. “We can’t thank them enough for their hard work.”

Physician assistant students and professors provided assistance along with a nursing team from TrustCare in Clinton.

Faculty and staff spent months crafting fall reopening plans. “Now that classes have started, the hard work is paying off,” Stapleton says. “Classes went well in general, with few interruptions. Students are learning the entry and exit patterns for buildings, wearing masks and responding to our #CampusClear App.”

There is much work ahead with the semester wrapping up before the Thanksgiving holidays.

A Spanish professor and director of the McMillan Center for Education Abroad, Dr. Stapleton is encouraged. “I think within a few weeks, the protocols will feel second nature for everyone.”

Inspired by the Book of Joshua, President Blake Thompson announced “Strong and Courageous” is the focus for the new academic year. He’s excited to welcome students.

“After a spring and summer of missing you all, it’s a joy to have you back here at MC again for the fall semester,” Dr. Thompson said in an email Monday to the university family.

Mississippi College junior Macia Outlaw of Brandon was happy to return. MC’s nearly 5,000 students pivoted to online classes for more than two Spring months due to the health emergency.

“The move back to campus was a smooth transition,” says Outlaw, a future physician. “It has been a long time coming to be sitting in class and doing what I do best: learn!”