With fewer than 400 students remaining in 23 University of Missouri residence halls spread across campus, plans are in the works to consolidate the students in fewer buildings.


“The arrangement will comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing,” said MU spokeswoman Liz McCune, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


There also are two family and graduate housing apartment buildings and three leased apartment complexes for student housing.


It’s one of several measures the university is taking in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The university has been conducting classes online, resulting in many students moving out of residence halls.


The university will move the students out of residence halls with shared community areas and shared restrooms and into suite-style and apartment-style residence halls, McCune said.


Spring break ended Monday and MU is working to get a clear picture of how many students remain on campus with no other housing options, McCune said. The best count she had is that between 350 and 400 students remain on campus, and probably fewer than 350 will stay past Friday, a date set by the university for all students to move who can.


On Jan. 21, there were 6,315 students in traditional undergraduate housing.


No time frame has been established for making the change, McCune said. The number of residence halls that will remain open also isn’t finalized.


“We’ll be communicating with students as soon as we know how many will be remaining,” McCune said.


The number of employees needed to keep each residence hall running varies, McCune said.


“Although we are consolidating, we will have numerous halls with students and still managing the vacant halls,” she said.


The university has also taken other steps over the past few days to rearrange its business in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


On Friday, University of Missouri System president and interim MU Chancellor Mun Choi announced the university would halt hiring and could not give merit increases and pay changes.


“We understand and appreciate that many employees are going above and beyond their job duties and you want to reward them,” reads the statement from Choi and the chancellors of the other campuses. “We are all grateful for their efforts. However, to focus on the public health and economic challenges ahead of us, no pay changes or job reclassifications will be processed at this time.”


Large purchases also are being restricted, Choi wrote.


MU spokesman Christian Basi wrote that the mandate doesn’t represent a full hiring freeze, as some positions will be filled with approval from administrators.


Grading options and adjusted withdrawal dates were in information released Monday by MU Provost Latha Ramchand.


Under the provisions, all students enrolled in courses this semester will be able to choose a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” for courses that have an A-F grade option. Students can select the option between May 18 and June 5.


It’s a student-centered response to the challenges facing students, Ramchand wrote.


“We believe that now, more than ever, we need to support our learners with flexible options that uphold our high academic standards but also acknowledge the significant disruption to their lives as students at this time,” Ramchand wrote.


Students who withdraw from a course by April 10 will receive a 25 percent refund on tuition and fees. The previous deadline for the 25 percent refund was March 16. The final withdrawal date of May 4 hasn’t changed.


rmckinney@columbiatribune.com


573-815-1719


All of the Tribune’s coronavirus coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Tribune at columbiatribune.com/subscribenow and help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.