With a record number of underrepresented minorities and Hispanic students, Missouri University of Science and Technology started classes Monday, August 24 for the 2020-21 school with a blend of online, in-person and hybrid classes to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the Rolla area.
A record 11.6 percent of Missouri S&T students enrolled in the fall semester are underrepresented minorities. Overall, 874 underrepresented minorities are part the student population this year. This includes a record 348 Hispanic-American students.
“A Missouri S&T education prepares our students to seek out and develop solutions to the great challenges facing our society, and the more that we are able to bring together individuals of diverse backgrounds, the better able we are to prepare them for a diverse global work force,” says Shobi Sivadasan, vice provost of enrollment management.
Despite a nationwide Zoom outage Monday morning, online classes are underway and the in-person classroom looks different from previous semesters. To prepare for the fall semester, S&T officials reviewed the capacity of each classroom and blocked off seats and rows to ensure students are social distancing. Faculty, staff and students are required to wear face coverings and to maintain a distance of six feet when possible.
“We’re following the recommended precautions for keeping our campus safe including requiring face coverings, social distancing and limiting gatherings,” says Dr. Stephen Roberts, interim provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs. “But what I am most proud of is the faculty’s commitment to providing a high-quality and engaging Missouri S&T educational experience in whatever instructional format they have chosen – whether it’s a hands-on laboratory or interactive digital learning environment.”
Precautions Missouri S&T is taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus include:
• Providing students with antigen testing with the ability to return COVID-19 testing results in a single day
• Requiring students to take their temperature daily and self-monitor for symptoms with the Campus Screen app
• Limiting the number of helpers for students as they moved in to their residence halls or other university-approved housing
• Requiring face coverings in classrooms, labs, offices and common areas (indoors or outdoors) where social distancing cannot be consistently maintained
• Maintaining social distancing in our classrooms, in our residence halls and in buildings across campus
• Deep-cleaning our residence halls, classrooms and labs, dining areas, and common areas across campus
• Providing instruction through a variety of delivery methods, including in-person, online and hybrid instruction
• Encouraging every student, faculty member and staff member to take the Miner Pledge, to affirm that they will protect themselves, the campus and the Rolla community.
Enrollment on the first day of classes at Missouri S&T is 7,533, which is down from the previous year’s first-day total of 7,978. Missouri S&T has 1,118 new first-time freshman and 264 transfer students representing 48 states.
The university will continue to register students through the first weeks of the fall semester. Official enrollment figures for the fall 2020 semester will be available after the fourth week of classes.