Coronavirus update: MSU increases travel restrictions, evaluates move to online courses

March 11, 2020 - 4:30 pm

Mississippi State University is tightening international travel restrictions, including study abroad programs, and is strongly encouraging faculty members to prepare for online course instruction should circumstances dictate that in coming days or weeks.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to follow rapidly changing events at or on MSU social media platforms. Additional announcements from MSU regarding operations will be made Thursday and Friday and new resources will be made available online.

Mississippi State is working with Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., and the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Education to structure a coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis that safeguards the students, faculty and staff on the MSU campus and the state’s other universities and colleges.

MSU has launched an email account where general questions about the coronavirus and the university policies regarding the outbreak can be directed:

On a global stage, the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve as MSU monitors the situation and provides our students, faculty, and staff the most comprehensive information. This message represents our third direct email advisory since federal and state officials began their monitoring of the virus in earnest last month.

MSU offers these resources to those seeking information on the coronavirus (COVID-19):

To date, there has been one presumptive case of COVID-19 in Forrest County. There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported at MSU.  However, health officials worldwide recognize that this is a rapidly evolving situation and that recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) are subject to frequent change. 


In an abundance of caution, the university is canceling all international travel, including summer study abroad programs to decrease risk. New requests for international travel will be approved only in exceptional circumstances, and those who do request travel abroad should contact the Provost’s Office for approval.

Employees and students should avoid all non-essential out-of-state travel, considering cancellation or simply not scheduling new travel. Settings such as large meetings or conferences and any place that has declared a state of emergency due to the virus should be avoided. When possible live stream or teleconference small meetings or events.

We encourage all students and parents to monitor the CDC website as it provides the most current reference:  Novel 2019-2020 Coronavirus Infections - Click here for more information from the CDC


To support university faculty during a time of possible COVID-19-related illness, quarantine or campus closure, MSU is evaluating—on an on-going basis—a move to online course instruction. Faculty should begin preparations for this move should it be warranted in the coming days/weeks. Classroom experiences such as laboratories and performance classes are being considered in this evaluation.

Additional guidance and resources are forthcoming, and now is the time for faculty to plan how part or all of courses could be moved online. Faculty should consider how to maintain the high quality and rigor they currently provide in their classrooms.

MSU continues to regularly monitor, adjust, and plan precautions as outlined by the CDC and MSU website. More information is forthcoming regarding Human Resources concerns generated by these circumstances. Please monitor the MSU website and university emails for additional information in the coming days.


  • MSU has not been notified of any member of the campus community with the virus.
  • The risk for Mississippians currently remains relatively low and MSU — along with the CDC and the MSDH — is closely monitoring the situation. Coronavirus can cause mild illness that can be overcome, but more severe cases can be life-threatening.


  • Take general precautions like frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of any virus, including seasonal flu, which is still active across Mississippi, the Southeast, and the U.S.
  • If you have not received a flu shot, it is not too late. For additional advice on flu facts and prevention, visit
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, it is likely the common cold or a common strain of the flu. Symptoms of coronavirus include, but are not limited to, fever, runny nose, headache, cough, and the general feeling of being unwell; these also are symptoms of the common flu virus.
  • If you have concerning symptoms, call the MSU Longest Student Health Center prior to visiting at (662) 325-2431 or after hours at (1-800-882-6274).

Students and employees who have traveled from impacted areas in the past 14 days and who have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should contact the Health Center or seek appropriate care immediately.

All incoming patients arriving at the MSU Longest Student Health Center with cough, sneezing, sore throat, fever, and respiratory issues will be masked to protect other patients as we evaluate the cause of their illness.

All incoming patients will be asked to provide a travel history to determine if they are at risk for the newly identified coronavirus. MSU community members who have recently traveled in impacted areas and returned in recent weeks have been asked to self-isolate in keeping with CDC and MSHD protocols. All have complied.

Prevention is a key strategy with any virus, such as influenza or coronavirus, so it is important to both protect yourself and take measures against spread to others. 

The MSU Office of Public Affairs will circulate timely notices regarding any changes in MSU’s proactive strategies to responsibly monitor these public health concerns. Media inquiries should be directed to MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter at or 662-325-3442.

Updates are available at…. Questions can be addressed to