Dear University community,
The events of the past month have left an indelible mark on the memory of each person who has watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold. Despite the challenges, our humanity gives us the ability to reach beyond feelings of uncertainty and fear, so that we can come together to find a shared purpose. At this key moment, we are maintaining solidarity and rejecting any hostility that would fracture our community.
I am so grateful to be surrounded by individuals who possess the incredible strength and determination to tirelessly protect the health and well-being of our entire community. MU Health Care has expanded COVID-19 testing capacity by thousands across the state. Their partnership with GeneTrait Laboratories has opened drive-through testing in Columbia, in addition to free assessments offered online. We’re also connecting multidisciplinary health care experts across the state with Missouri Telehealth Network’s launch of COVID-19 ECHO, a weekly videoconference that will connect community health workers.
"MU Health Care has worked closely with Governor Parson’s office to expand COVID-19 testing capacity by thousands across the state."
In-person classes have been suspended at all four of our universities for the remainder of the spring semester, but the work of educating our students continues. Missouri S&T Professor Michael Bruening became an internet sensation with his rendition of “I Will Survive,” an ode to quickly adapting to online learning platforms. Across the system, our universities and Extension programs are readily revising their strategies so they can continue to deliver important information and services where they are most needed.
During this time of sudden change, it’s important to practice self-care and pay attention to mental health. I want to remind everyone about Sanvello, the free app subscription available for any student, faculty or staff member with a University email address. The app has tools to assess symptoms of anxiety and depression, create a management roadmap and track the progress of a user’s mental health journey. As an institution of higher education, we are committed to advancing the well-being of our own community as well as those we serve. That includes committing to strong mental health by making a number of resources available.
"The Missouri S&T community is working together on 3D-printing essential protective masks for health care workers."
We also support our communities in other ways.
- MU experts are making themselves available to provide information related to infectious disease outbreaks.
- UMKC students developed an app to redistribute surplus food from restaurants to food banks, an important resource as the economic impact of COVID-19 grows.
- The Missouri S&T community is working together on 3D-printing essential protective masks for health care workers.
- UMSL’s Child Advocacy Services held a webinar for 250 registered participants on how to support children during uncertain times.
- Missouri Small Business Development Center is providing resources for businesses across the state dealing with workforce health, supply chain issues and other challenges.
- MU Extension is keeping a growing library of COVID-19 resources for the public as well as resources specific to faculty and staff.
We also experiencing changes that go beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the University of Missouri Board of Curators voted to appoint me as interim chancellor of Mizzou. In this new dual role, I am committed to ensuring continuity of leadership at Mizzou, but my commitment to the entire UM System also remains. Partnership and collaboration among all four of our universities is more essential than ever
"Throughout our history, the University's basic mission has continued despite fire, war and even pandemic."
Our work as a University has not stopped. This is not the first time we’ve been faced with a challenge while working to carry on with our mission. On the Mizzou campus, a monument sits at the southwest corner of Francis Quadrangle by Jesse Hall that bears an inscription of a quote from President Richard Henry Jesse in 1892, after the fire that destroyed Academic Hall. Throughout our history, the University’s basic mission has continued despite fire, war and even pandemic. We are forging a new normal for the months ahead, and much of that innovative work is being documented by MU Extension’s #ShowMeResilience campaign.
Everyone, please keep sharing and communicating the amazing developments across the system. We need each other’s support and encouragement to carry on our important work. If you have a story about how you or our University community is working toward our mission or finding ways to support our community through our collective challenges, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.