Return to Campus

Rowdy with mask

Students returned to campus in fall 2020 under the Protect the Nest campus return plan. The plan outlined health and safety practices, classroom principles, coursework changes, and the continuous monitoring of COVID-19 in the SEMO community. Campus life was certainly affected by the pandemic and the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors became our focus. Through Protect the Nest, face coverings were required, plexiglass was installed in some public areas, hand sanitizer stations were created, classrooms and lounges were adapted to encourage social distancing, HEPA air filters were installed in classrooms, and a number of events and courses were moved to a virtual format. It has not been an easy feat, but together, the entire SEMO community adopted these safety practices resulting in a successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ability to have in-person classes in the fall.

Safety Precautions

  • Installed health safety informational signage across the institution
  • Limited face-to-face meetings and events
  • Approved classroom guidelines to mitigate risks
  • Required face coverings
  • Spaced furniture in common areas to promote social distancing
  • Implemented high-touch cleaning and sanitation
  • Made cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and face coverings available to departments
  • Installed hand sanitizer stations
  • Retrofitted many high-traffic areas with plexiglass for safe personal interactions.

“The challenges brought on by the pandemic are like none before faced. Opening Week will look different, but the spirit that buoys these events will emerge as always as we enthusiastically welcome the class of 2024! Thanks to our faculty and staff whose dedication to our students is unrelenting, we will continue to soar. At Southeast, we are rising to the occasion, and together, with everyone’s efforts, we are safely and purposefully navigating this pandemic.”
– Dr. Carlos Vargas University President


  • 1/21 CDC Confirms First Case in U.S.
  • 1/29 Campus Advisory Issued
  • 2/3 U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency
  • 3/2 Emergency Response Team Forms
  • 3/4 Second Campus Advisory Issued – travel restrictions to CDC level 3 countries
  • 3/11 WHO Declared Global Pandemic
  • 3/13 President Trump Declares a National Emergency
  • 3/13 Campus Announces Remainder of Semester to Move to Remote Learning
  • 3/14 New Student Orientations and On-campus Visits Go Virtual
  • 3/24 Employees Transition to Telework
  • 3/27 Student Emergency Relief Fund Created
  • 3/27 CARES Act Signed Into Law
  • 3/30 Classes Moved Virtual, Campus Buildings Close
  • 4/1 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Signed Into Law
  • 5/18 Employees Started Return to Work
  • 6/10 U.S. Confirmed Cases Reach 2 Million
  • 6/29 Buildings Re-opened on Campus
  • 7/20 Protect the Nest Campus Return Plan Developed
  • 8/14 OVC Postponed Fall Sports
  • 8/15 Modified Student Move-in
  • 9/26 Family Weekend Goes Virtual
  • 10/29 Homecoming Goes Virtual
  • 11/14 Commencement held for 2020 spring grads
  • 11/21 Commencement held for 2020 winter grads
  • 11/24 In-person fall concludes! Students transition to remote learning.

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