June 25, 2020–Missouri Western State University will start its fall 2020 semester two weeks early and end it by Thanksgiving in response to ongoing concerns about COVID-19

“Unfortunately, we realize that the continued spread of COVID-19 will remain unpredictable for many months and that we need to remain flexible for the foreseeable future,” President Matt Wilson said in a message to campus. “After considerable discussion with faculty, staff and student leaders, we are joining with other universities that have announced early starts to their fall semesters in an effort to hopefully avoid the unpredictable and best serve our students.”

Wilson said this week’s notification from the Kansas City Chiefs that they would conduct their annual training camp at their own facilities rather than at Missouri Western gave the University the flexibility to change the schedule. The shift will allow Missouri Western to take advantage of a period of expected lower COVID-19 case rates before winter hits and minimize the risk of having students return to campus after traveling and interacting with others during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Missouri Western’s fall semester will start on Monday, Aug. 17, two weeks earlier than the originally scheduled date of Aug. 31. Students living on campus will move into the residence halls by appointment, new students on Aug. 11 and 12 and returning students Aug. 13-16. Griffon Edge for all new students will be held Aug. 13-15. On-campus instruction will end on Thursday, Nov. 19. Final exams will be held between Friday, Nov. 20 and Wednesday, Nov. 25. Fall commencement will be held on a date to be determined.

Missouri Western will also encourage the campus community to monitor their health, practice good hygiene, take steps to maximize physical distancing and follow the guidance of health officials on wearing face coverings. Faculty members will explore a variety of formats for course offerings, including in-person with physical distancing practices, blended courses with a combination of in-person and online instruction and fully remote classes. Courses will be streamed online as much as possible, so that students are able to remain at home for personal or health reasons.

Most students have not been on campus since before spring break started March 6. Instruction pivoted to alternative delivery methods for the remainder of the spring semester, and all summer classes have been offered online only.

Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.