Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast planning to use pre-pandemic guidelines in fall

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Graphic by Alisha Reisenbichler

After nearly a year of COVID-19 guidelines in place on campus, the university community may finally have a reprieve in the Fall 2021 semester.

In a letter to the student body on Feb. 19, Provost Mike Godard stated fall classes “will be offered using normal, pre-pandemic guidelines and capacities.”

The most visible of the current Protect the Nest guidelines are mandatory mask wearing and classroom social distancing. Under the prospective plan, both could be eliminated, barring restrictions from the city or state health departments.

Godard said a major reason the university is trying to return to normalcy by the fall is to cut down on the amount of mixed-format classes. In other words, only fully online or fully in-person classes will be offered.

Something that has become a staple of the Southeast curriculum under COVID-19 guidelines is Hyflex courses. Currently, the school offers approximately 60 Hyflex courses, and Godard said this number should remain around the 50 to 100 range going forward.

“It was something we planned on doing, anyways. We planned on starting with 10 to 12 Hyflex sections, and instead we had to ramp that up,” Godard said. “We want to make sure Hyflex is still achieving what we want to achieve, and that is student success.”

In the future, Southeast will compare Hyflex sections with 100% online and 100% face-to-face courses to see how students are succeeding in each format.

The decision to go back to pre-pandemic guidelines was made and proposed by the Emergency Response Team (ERT), and the final plan was approved by President Carlos Vargas.

Godard said the ERT looked at the plans of other Missouri universities for a fall benchmark.

“We were in touch with a majority of the four-year public institutions in the state, and I will say that everyone’s a little different in their approach,” Godard said. “There is a decent percentage of other four-year public institutions that plan on trying to do something similar.”

The current Protect the Nest plans will proceed through summer courses, and the final step in implementing pre-pandemic guidelines for the fall hinges on what guidelines the state of Missouri and the City of Cape Girardeau have in place.

The announcement was made in an effort to give more details about the fall as students begin building their next semester’s schedules.

Director of University Communications Kathy Harper said the ERT discussed how the plan may affect all types of students while making it.

“It’s easier to switch from [face-to-face] to online than planning for everything online and switching to in-person,” Harper said.

For a look at current Protect the Nest guidelines, visit semo.edu/sealerts/covid19/protect-the-nest.html.

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