COVID-19 Information

See the latest updates and information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of University contact information at



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Southeast Missouri State University is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our campus community. We’re working to monitor the coronavirus pandemic as we move forward in providing a quality academic experience and personal support for our students on campus.

Brief Update

Confirmed Cases:

Daily data on confirmed reported cases of students and employees.

COVID-19 Testing:

Information regarding testing, contact tracing, and what to do if you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has.

Fall Classes:

Southeast is holding in-person classes this fall and has made updates to the fall academic calendar. Additional online and flexible course offerings are also available.

Latest News

As of October 2, 2020

Letter to Faculty, Staff, and Students from President Vargas

In a letter dated September 26, I offered to communicate to you by today a final decision on plans for the spring 2021 semester. As you may recall, my previous correspondence addressed a report shared with the Board of Regents outlining potential changes to the spring calendar, which included:

  • Start January 25, 2021 (one week later than originally scheduled)
  • Eliminate Spring Break
  • End May 14, 2021 (as originally scheduled)

At the time the report was made, conversations had taken place with several groups on campus, such as, but not limited to, Student Government Executives, Faculty Senate, Deans, Chairs, the Emergency Response Team (ERT), and others. However, based on comments and questions presented during and following the Board of Regents meeting, I stated that we would continue to work with campus constituencies this week to determine what, if any, adjustments could be made to the calendar within the confines of what had been shared with the Board of Regents.

First, I want you to know that the guiding principle in all of the discussions I have had over the past few days centered on how we can best provide a healthy and safe on campus learning environment for the entire campus community. While online learning is always accessible, the resounding sentiment was the preference for an on campus experience as much as possible. With this guiding principle in mind, I gathered feedback from many groups, and consulted with Executive Staff and the ERT, to develop the following spring calendar:

  • Start January 25, 2021 (one week later than originally scheduled)
  • No Class February 23, 2021 (added Reading Day)
  • Eliminate Spring Break
  • No Class March 17, 2021 (added Reading Day)
  • No Classes April 2, 2021 (Designated Holiday as originally scheduled)
  • End May 14, 2021 (as originally scheduled)

In creating this calendar, we took into consideration the input of Student Government, Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Council, CTS Staff Council, individual members of the university community, and others. Additionally, Executive Staff met three times this week to discuss this topic and the ERT was convened in a special session too. The plan was also communicated to the Cape Girardeau Public Health Center, which supports the change as an effort to help preserve the health and safety of our University and greater Cape Girardeau community.

In the feedback that was shared with me, students and faculty noted the importance of spring break and the time it gives them to visit family, catch up on work, and reflect/reassess how the semester is going. A majority of individuals also conveyed an understanding of why a change may be necessary. I acknowledge the concerns of having a spring semester that does not include spring break; however, one of the things we heard from the feedback was a willingness to work through the semester if the University could add days to the calendar to allow for some time off during the semester. The final plan outlined above is in direct response to this suggestion.

Throughout this week, opinions persist that a decision on the spring semester now is premature. As stated in my previous letter, we are monitoring what other schools in Missouri, the Ohio Valley Conference, and across the nation are doing; and Southeast is not alone in its decision. There were also comments about a pending vaccine and whether that may alter the University’s plans. While much work has been done in this area and the scientific community continues its research and development, a vaccine is not guaranteed. It is also not clear what may be expected of colleges and universities by state and federal authorities with regard to distributing or requiring vaccines. Lastly, some have asked if a decision on spring can be postponed to a later date. With the onset of advising and other planning for the spring that is scheduled to begin October 5, there is potential for disruption and inconvenience the longer we wait to announce our plans. Additionally, we wanted to provide as much time as possible for faculty to plan their courses and finalize their syllabi. There are also requirements from the Higher Learning Commission, the U.S. Department of Education, and other governing bodies that we have to be mindful of in our decision making. With all of this in mind, I felt a decision now was appropriate and is one that allows all of us – students, faculty and staff – to fully prepare for the spring.

Under the new spring calendar, University offices will be open the week of March 15-19, 2021, 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. Because of the impact this will have on staff, eligible employees will accrue and retain the PTO hours that would have normally been automatically assessed to cover the 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. hour the University is typically closed during spring break. This will allow eligible employees to use five hours of PTO at a different time during the year consistent with existing University Business Policy and Procedure.

In closing, I want to thank all of the groups and individuals that provided feedback and made suggestions on this topic. I very much appreciate the thoughtful discussion that transpired. This process has reaffirmed to me that we all share the same goal of a healthy and safe on campus learning experience for everyone, even if we differ on how to accomplish that. Thank you for your commitment to that goal. These are challenging times, and I appreciate your help and input as we navigate these changes together.

Carlos Vargas
University President

Staying Healthy

Use healthy practices

Wash your hands for 40-60 seconds with soap and water. Avoid touching your face. Maintain a six-foot distance from others and wear a face covering if you can’t. Cover your cough or sneeze.

Monitor your health

If you feel sick, stay home. Know the symptoms of COVID-19 provided by the CDC.

Stay informed

Southeast has a team working to create plans and guidelines to protect the health and well-being of our community. For more information, contact the task force team or email


Southeast’s Family Weekend, Homecoming Festivities Canceled; Alternatives Being Explored

Family Weekend and Homecoming Festivities – two of Southeast Missouri State University’s signature fall traditions – are being canceled this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows the announcement last week that football games scheduled for both weekends were canceled as a result of the Ohio Valley Conference’s decision to postpone fall competition and [...]

OVC Postpones Fall Sport Competitions and Championships

The Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Board of Presidents announced that fall competition and championships in the sports of football, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will be postponed due to the concerns and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision also includes the fall competitive schedules for men’s and women’s golf and [...]

DeArmans Perform National Anthems to Support International Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives in unexpected ways, but staying physically apart has brought about new, creative ways to virtually take care of one another. As Southeast Missouri State University transitioned its classes completely online during the spring semester, Dr. Brooke DeArman, Assistant Director of International Education and Services, International Student Services, felt it [...]


Campus Advisories and Announcements

10-2-20 Letter to Campus Community from President Vargas
9-26-20 Letter to Campus Community from President Vargas
8-21-20 Letter to Students from the Dean of Students
8-20-20 Letter to Faculty, Staff from President Vargas

8-18-20 Letter to Students from President Vargas

8-14-20 OVC Postpones Fall Sport Competitions and Championships

7-20-20 Protect the Nest Guide

7-10-20 Face Coverings Required at Southeast Beginning July 13
6-23-20 Update to Students, Families from President Vargas
6-22-20 Update to Campus Community from President Vargas
5-27-20 Update from President Vargas
5-8-20 Student CARES Act Funding
5-8-20 Update from President Vargas
5-6-20 Spring 2020 Textbook Return Options, Information on Summer Texbooks, Course Materials
4-15-20 Provost's Letter to Students Regarding Grade Options
4-9-20 President Vargas Provides COVID-19 Updates
4-2-20 Letter to Greek Chapter Presidents
4-2-20 President Vargas Delivers Message Regarding Spring 2020 Commencement
3-30-20 Letter to Students from President Vargas
3-30-20 Opportunity to Request a Staff Mentor
3-26-20 Parking, Room and Board Fees Through Remainder of Spring Semester
3-22-20 Campus Update to Alumni from President Vargas
3 20-20  Letter to Illinois Residence Life Students
3-20-20 Transitioning to Telework and Limited On-Site Campus Presence
3-18-20 Greek Life Information
3-18-20 Housing Move-Out Information
3-18-20 Instruction, Campus Services Update
3-16-20 Letter from President Vargas
3-16-20 Employment Leave Guidelines
3-13-20 COVID-19 Campus Update
3-13-20 Letter to Deans, Department Chairs from Provost
3-13-20 Letter to Faculty from Provost
3-12-20 Southeast to Suspend In-Person Classes March 23-27
3-10-20 Preparedness Update
3-4-20: Travel Restrictions
1-29-20: General Coronavirus awareness information


Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 7275
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701