COLUMBIA- The University of Missouri will shift to remote learning for the last three weeks of instruction after Thanksgiving week, according to a release from the university.

The statement said the university has successfully managed the pandemic and felt confident about completing the semester in person. Due to a surge in cases in the Columbia/Boone County community, they have made the "difficult but necessary decision to shift."

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the university is trying to alleviate as much stress on local hospitals as cases continue to rise.

"We decided that the overriding factor of benefitting the community as well as supporting our students and making sure we continued to have good medical resources was important for us and we needed to make this decision," Basi said.

As of Thursday, MU's COVID-19 dashboard showed 165 active student cases and 45 active staff and faculty cases.

In-person instruction will continue through Friday, Nov. 20.

Faculty and instructors will communicate with their classes on how instruction will proceed for the rest of the semester.

Any student leaving Columbia for the holidays is encouraged to not return until the start of the spring semester in January. Residence and dining halls will remain open for on-campus students who cannot return home. 

Some students, like freshman Allison Hardin, said they wished this happened earlier in the semester.

"It is kind of a bummer, but I guess I think they're making the right decision," she said. "But I just wish it was sooner."

Campus facilities, including libraries and labs, will remain open in some capacity for those who need the access. 

Both faculty and staff operations will continue on campus. 

Basi said this decision will most likely stay in place. Butch Clemons, an MU senior, said he hopes thats the case.

"I feel like once you put an official announcement you can't really go back on that," he said. "You kind of have to stick with it, so if they go back and forth, then that's an inconvenience for the students, for sure."

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