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Mississippi College Welcomes New and Returning Students for Fall Semester

Mississippi College Welcomes New and Returning Students for Fall Semester

Many safety procedures are in place as Mississippi College students began arriving on the Clinton campus.

From seven move-in days for freshmen, starting August 5, to COVID-19 testing for students in the A.E. Wood Coliseum, MC’s reopening plans are now reality.

Faculty and staff are serving as volunteers to make procedures go smoothly in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. Physician assistant students and faculty will join nursing majors assisting with coronavirus testing in the university’s basketball arena. Classes begin August 17.

MC’s COVID-19 coordinator, Beth Stapleton is pleased as the Christian university’s plans go into motion. Opening its 195th academic year, Mississippi College made “Strong & Courageous” the institution’s theme for 2020-21 inspired by biblical passages from the Book of Joshua.

Faculty, staff and students began working on the reopening plan months ago, and regularly made improvements.

“Everyone has gone above and beyond the call of duty so the campus is safe and healthy for everyone,” Stapleton said. She thanked MC stakeholders for their hard work to make it happen.

They “kept our university going strong through the (Spring) shutdown and the numerous hours spent doing task force work to ensure we are prepared for this Fall semester.”

A longtime Spanish professor and director of the McMillan Center for Education Abroad, Dr. Stapleton pivoted to a new role at MC during the health emergency.

“We are now ready and eager to have the students back on campus and for classes to begin,” adds the MC graduate. “We haven’t seen most of the students since March so the “homecoming” will be a sweet one, wearing masks and all!”

Normally, hundreds of freshmen experience one big move-in day on a Saturday with student volunteers toting their suitcases, lamps, computers and other belongings into residence halls. Freshmen and parents would simply park vehicles nearby their new homes on the Clinton campus, while volunteers did the heavy lifting.

This year, only freshmen and parents will be handling those chores due to safety protocols. Faculty, students and staff will help direct traffic, among other things.

The first move-in day Wednesday began at 8 a.m. and wrapped up at noon. Move-in days resume at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Move-in days continued from August 10-14 with MC limiting crowd numbers.

Duties for volunteers include residence hall check-in, as well as doing ID checks, and handing out COVID-19 testing forms to students visiting coliseum test stations. Safety measures will be in place every step of the way.

At the moment, there are 4.85 million COVID-19 cases in the USA and 62,199 coronavirus cases in Mississippi as of August 5. Gov. Tate Reeves on August 4 signed a statewide mask wearing mandate spanning two weeks.

Dr. Steve Martin, the director of MC’s physician assistant program, will join faculty and PA students taking part as testing volunteers.

“Professor Rachelle Dye is doing an amazing job of coordinating our student volunteers,” he said.

Dr. Martin and Dr. Kimberly Sharp, the MC School of Nursing dean, are co-chairs of the university’s Medical Crisis Response Task Force.

Sharp says senior nursing students completed COVID-19 antigen test training before assisting freshmen. A rolling program of immunizations will occur across campus this fall.

From wearing protective facial masks to hand sanitizer stations, and social distancing, people at MC’s Clinton campus and MC Law School in Jackson are focused on safety.

In a recent Zoom meeting with faculty and staff, President Blake Thompson says, “We will be strong and courageous in the weeks ahead of us.”

With comprehensive plans in place, Mississippi College people are doing everything they can to minimize risks, Dr. Thompson said. “Students are excited about coming back.”

People with questions about returning to campus should call 601-925-7600 or email Information is available on the university’s Strong & Courageous website at