Updated Guidance for Students

August 5, 2021

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester and look forward to the start of a new academic year, we continue to monitor local conditions and consult with the Mississippi State Department of Health for ways to keep campus safe and healthy.

Our COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive Program began this summer and will continue throughout the fall semester to encourage those who are not currently vaccinated to register for the shot. Vaccines are shown to significantly reduce the chance of catching COVID-19 and passing it along to others. Additionally, if you are fully vaccinated and exposed to a positive case, you are not required to quarantine if you remain symptom-free. The university strongly urges everyone to be vaccinated if you have not already done so. To sign up for a vaccine at the Longest Student Health Center, call 662-325-7535. There will be numerous pop-up vaccine clinics hosted around campus in the next few weeks. No appointment is necessary for the pop-up clinics.


Keeping Campus Safe and Healthy

  • Get vaccinated! Call 662-325-7535 to schedule an appointment.
  • Beginning Friday, August 6, masks are required inside all university buildings regardless of vaccination status. This includes all public spaces such as classrooms, hallways, restrooms, residence hall lobbies and common spaces. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth. It is our hope that we may be able to move to a mask-optional policy if our cases on campus & in the community decrease and our vaccination rates improve substantially.
  • Students and employees are required to wear face coverings that provide good protection and cover the nose and mouth. Face shields are not permitted except in a limited number of circumstances; e.g. instructors or presenters who need to be understood clearly or students who must articulate foreign language enunciation. When a face shield is worn, strict physical distancing of at least six feet must be observed at all times.
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well. Contact the Longest Student Health Center at 662-325-2055 if you are a close contact or have COVID-like symptoms.

Vaccine and Testing

  • Mississippi State University strongly urges all who are able to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available by appointment or at one of our upcoming pop-up clinics. To schedule a vaccine, call 662-325-7535.
  • Submit your COVID-19 vaccine record at covidvaccine.msstate.edu to be eligible for weekly incentive drawings.
  • The Longest Student Health Center continues to offer free COVID-19 testing for students. Call 662-325-2055 to schedule a test. Test results are usually returned the following day.
  • Contact tracing is being conducted by the Health Center when a positive case is identified. If you are deemed a close contact during this process, you will be notified by the Health Center. If you are identified as a close contact, being fully vaccinated means you will not need to quarantine or be tested if you remain symptom-free.

Isolation and Quarantine

  • Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or from the date of the test (whichever came first). If you were tested off-campus, you must report your positive test result to the Longest Student Health Center by calling the COVID-19 Hotline. If you live in a residence hall or fraternity/sorority house, you cannot isolate in these facilities. You must vacate your residence hall or fraternity/sorority house and go home or to another off-campus location during the isolation period. MSU has a very limited number of isolation spaces for students living in residence halls with extraordinarily extenuating circumstances. As a result, all students in residence halls or fraternity/sorority housing should come back to campus with a plan for where they will stay if they need to isolate.
  • If you are a close contact and have not been vaccinated, you must contact the COVID-19 Hotline to discuss quarantine and testing. If you’ve been vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine if you remain symptom-free. If you are unvaccinated and identified as a close contact, you are required to quarantine for the time specified by the Longest Student Health Center. If you live in a residence hall or fraternity/sorority house, you cannot quarantine in these facilities. You must vacate your residence hall or fraternity/sorority house and go home or to another off-campus location during the quarantine period. All students in residence halls or fraternity/sorority housing should come back to campus with a plan for where they will stay if they need to quarantine.
  • If you develop COVID symptoms or test positive, you will be expected to quarantine or isolate, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, is in isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, or is in quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure must not participate in campus activities, including attending class and extracurricular activities.

Class Attendance

  • You are responsible for notifying your faculty member of the reason for your absences in a timely manner.
  • Students who miss class for any medical reason (COVID-related or otherwise) must obtain official documentation to have the absence counted as an excused absence. If you must quarantine because of exposure to COVID, faculty may ask you to provide medical documentation as they would for any other excused absence. See policy OP 12.09 (https://www.policies.msstate.edu/policy/1209) for established guidelines regarding class absences.
  • Faculty may request that you verify your absences through the Dean of Students (DOS). To do so, students should complete the online form found here: https://www.students.msstate.edu/excused-absences/. Make sure that you first talk with your faculty member before submitting any documentation to the DOS office.
  • Your faculty member will work with you to address homework or class activities that may be missed. Please be certain to form a study group early in the semester so you can reach out to your classmates to get course notes.
  • You are expected to attend in-person classes unless you are ill or in quarantine. Faculty are not required to offer remote access to your courses when the course is intended for face-to-face instruction.

Additional Resources