COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The University of Missouri is moving most classes online after the Thanksgiving break as COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country.
MU leaders made the announcement Thursday in a message to the campus. Classes will continue online for the three weeks after the holiday break.
Any student leaving campus for the holidays will be encouraged not to return to campus until spring but residence and dining halls open. There will be some exceptions to remote learning, according to the announcement.
Faculty and staff will continue to work on campus, officials said.
MU students powered an early September surge in coronavirus cases in Boone County. Since then, the active number of cases on campus have dropped dramatically and stood at 165 at the end of the day Wednesday -- a daily increase of 38. Active student cases have been slowly rising this month but are nowhere near their peak of nearly 700 on Sept. 5.
In the message sent Thursday, MU leaders said cases have dropped 80% since Labor Day weekend and contact tracers are responding within 24 hours.
However, infection rates and hospitalizations continue at a record pace in Boone County and statewide. Boone County reported 1,122 active cases Wednesday and 149 hospital patients with COVID-19. New cases have been in the double digits for seven of the past eight days, pushing the five-day average of new cases in Boone County to new heights.
The high case rate drove the Columbia Board of Education to vote to close classrooms starting Monday through the start of the next semester in January.
The University of Missouri also sent students home in the spring at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MU students help drive the economy and Columbia and Boone County, which is already challenged by the pandemic. It isn’t clear how much effect keeping students home after the break will have on local businesses.