Tuesday, March 24, 2020   
Outreach services continue for MSU's T.K. Martin Center, Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic amid coronavirus uncertainty
In the midst of the COVID-19 situation, the dedicated staff members of Mississippi State's T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic (ADDC) are continuing to provide outreach services to individuals with disabilities and their families. "Our commitment to providing resources to families who need the specialized services available at the T.K. Martin Center and the ADDC are strong examples of the university's impact during the COVID-19 crisis," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "It's a testament to the quality of our staff that they continue to find ways to serve these children and families despite the unprecedented challenges of this pandemic." Director Kasee K. Stratton-Gadke, a licensed psychologist and MSU associate professor of school psychology, said beginning Monday [March 23], the ADDC will serve approximately 70 individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families through telehealth services.
Gearing up: OCH prepares for what's ahead as Oktibbeha COVID-19 cases rise to five
Registered Nurse Kathleen Hilbun stretched out an arm with a rubber-gloved hand and directed a small SUV to a stop as it pulled into the clinic parking lot, signaling with her voice and hands for the driver to stay inside the vehicle. "Please, stay in the car," she said in an authoritative voice as the rain drizzled the area Monday morning. Hilbun's tone underscored how serious the situation has become at drive-through testing sites across the country amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), especially after news arrived that Oktibbeha County had confirmed three new cases to begin the week. The county's overall total has now risen to five, but OCH Regional Medical Center Intensive Care Unit Medical Director Dr. Cameron Huxford told the Starkville Daily News Monday morning that the hospital has yet to admit a patient with a confirmed case of the virus. As the situation continues to develop, Huxford said for those at home to continue practicing social distancing and watch for the classic symptoms, namely fever.
Coronavirus Bangs? Yes, It's a Thing
Grab. Twist. Cut. That's all it takes to create the perfect bangs during a coronavirus self-quarantine, according to do-it-yourself hair trimming videos circulating on social networks. Some social media users are passing their time cutting their hair and sharing pics of their new tresses, coining them #pandemicbangs. One Mississippi State University freshman is still living in her dorm, taking online classes and hasn't seen anyone recently because of the virus. "With spare time comes a lot of bad decisions but this one was a good one for me," said 19-year-old Gabriella Ybarra. "So I cut my hair." Ybarra is not in contact with many people on campus but plans on staying until "they kick me out." "I'm very lucky. My university is handling it a lot better than other schools have been. I'm glad they are letting us stay on campus because some of us don't have the ability to leave," the east Houston native said.
Mississippi governor: Closing businesses amid virus could do harm
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday that he is not ordering businesses to close or people to stay at home to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, in contrast to what several other governors are doing. Republican Reeves strongly suggested that Mississippians follow state Health Department recommendations to wash their hands, stay home if possible and keep distance from others in places like grocery stores. He said he is trying to balance concerns about public health and the economy. "We don't want to make any decisions that will ultimately do more harm than good," Reeves said Monday during a Facebook live session in which he spent nearly an hour answering questions from the public. Reeves led a prayer session Sunday on Facebook and suggested that people avoid gathering in large groups. He faced intensifying criticism Monday from some local officials and state lawmakers who said he needs to issue a statewide order for people to stay at home unless they have essential jobs or are getting groceries or prescriptions.
Mississippi coronavirus: Gov. Tate Reeves is not ordering residents to stay in their homes
A statewide lockdown would be unnecessary, unenforceable, relatively ineffective and economically harmful, Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday -- though he might order one anyway, just not now. "Things are ever changing. Things are evolving," Reeves said during a video Q&A on his Facebook page. "I'm not ruling anything out." As states across the nation ramp up restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Reeves told Mississippians he wants them to stay at home if they can, wash their hands and practice social distancing. Reeves did not announce any new executive orders or legal actions, in part because he said Mississippians can be trusted to make responsible decisions. "Mississippians step up and do what's right in challenging times," Reeves said. States that have ordered residents to stay home, such as New York, have much higher infection rates than Mississippi, Reeves pointed out. Mississippi has seen a rapid increase in the number of residents testing positive for coronavirus in recent days. As of Monday morning, the number hit 249. However, New York has more than 20,000.
More coronavirus testing means number of Mississippi cases will rise. Doctor says don't be alarmed.
The Mississippi State Health Department is working to open some drive-thru testing facilities across the state in areas with enhanced risk. Those are not yet up and running, but others managed by different medical groups and hospitals are. More testing sites means you'll likely see the statewide COVID-19 case count rise. University of Mississippi Medical Center Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Jonathan Wilson says not to be alarmed by that. "The same number of people have COVID-19 as they did before we started testing," said Wilson. "It's just now we have visibility on what those numbers actually are. We can manage those numbers to know what's working well, where do we need to focus our efforts." MEA Medical Clinic's Dr. Bill Grantham makes a similar note. "The numbers we are seeing today represent what the infection rate was several days ago," added Grantham. "It is still taking a number of days to even get the results back. That's just the way the testing works." The UMMC mobile testing site includes a telehealth screening process before patients are directed to the site for testing.
MSDH reports 320 cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi
Mississippi State Department of Health reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in Mississippi Tuesday morning, bringing the state's total to 320. None of the new cases were in Lowndes, Oktibbeha or Clay counties, though Noxubee County reported its first case of the virus. Currently, Lowndes County has six confirmed cases, Oktibbeha County has five and Clay County has one. Hinds (31), De Soto (29) and Harrison (24) counties have reported the most cases in the state. A Hancock County man died in a Louisiana hospital last week, marking Mississippi's first death from the disease to date.
Mississippi coronavirus total now stands at 320 with 71 new cases reported
The Mississippi State Health Department on Tuesday reported an additional 71 presumptive cases of COVID-19 identified through testing, bringing the state total to 320. In Northeast Mississippi, Lee County's known cases have risen to 12. Elsewhere in the region, Chickasaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Oktibbeha and Pontotoc have cases, including some new ones reported Tuesday. North Mississippi Health Services that as of Tuesday, 13 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized within the system and 14 are considered outpatients. The system has tested 402 individuals and 197 tests remain pending. According to additional data now provided by the health department, 27 percent of known COVID-19 patients in Mississippi are hospitalized. Testing currently prioritizes hospitalized patients. Of the known patients, 60 percent are female and 40 percent are male.
Coronavirus in Mississippi: Cases rise to 320
As the coronavirus outbreak continues in Mississippi, the number of cases rose by 71 to 320 in 58 of the state's 82 counties. Choctaw, Newton and Noxubee counties reported their first cases of coronavirus. The Mississippi Department of Health reported no new deaths. The state still has one death reported, in Hancock County. Two-thirds of the state's cases are female. About one-third have been hospitalized. The Health Department updates the number of cases once a day. Results are from testing done by the department and private laboratories.
Liquor stores see spike in sales during coronavirus outbreak
After the Mississippi Department of Revenue made temporary changes to its alcohol laws, liquor store owners say they're seeing a spike in sales as more people buy alcohol in bulk. Liquor stores are now allowed to sell alcohol online or by phone. They can also provide curbside service. Some store owners are worried that the spike will be short-lived and that bulk-buying means fewer customers in the long-run. Others like Shawn Guider with Shawn's Petit Bois Wine & Liquor say every day has felt like a Saturday night, with sales tripling over the last week. "We've had to put some limits on our big selling items, just like the milk and toilet paper and things like that, they want to get it all. But I need to save it, maybe two per customer, something like that," Guider said. The state Alcoholic Beverage Control has asked liquor stores limit orders to 100 cases per day, Shawn noted.
Hard-to-count areas, coronavirus raise stakes on Mississippi's investment to avoid undercount in Census
Over the last decade, states lost billions of federal dollars due to inaccurate population counts. Since last fall, many of those states have poured in massive amounts of cash to push outreach, hoping to get more participation in the 2020 Census. At the top of the year, Mississippi lawmakers followed suit, spending just under a half a million dollars on census efforts. With billions of dollars on the line, some worry the state's investment may not be enough to counter citizens' fears or to reach hard-to-count communities to ensure an accurate count, and now as the state ramps up efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, census workers must delay field work. On March 18, the Census Bureau director announced the census field operations will be suspended until April 1, the national Census Day. "The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions," the release stated. However, the Census Bureau must deliver the counts on schedule and officials encourage residents to respond to the form on their own -- online, by phone, or by mail. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, some state lawmakers were worried about barriers to getting a complete count.
Mississippi among nation's leaders in Census participation
Mississippi is among the nation's leaders in terms of participation in the 2020 Census. With a participation rate of 22%, Mississippi is several percentage points ahead of the national average of 19.2% (as of Monday afternoon). "We are so encouraged," said former state Senator Giles Ward, chairman of the Mississippi Complete Count Committee. "This is an opportunity for Mississippi to show the nation how it's done. We are a shining example right now, and we can make it even better if we all work together. Many of us are working from home, and it's a good time to take care of this while we can." The Census is used to determine the flow of federal funding, representation in Congress and much more. According to John Green, Ph.D., director of the Mississippi Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi and one of the executive members of the Mississippi Complete Count Committee, every person not counted in the census represents approximately $50,000 in federal funding over 10 years. Mississippi was in the bottom 10 in terms of participation in 2010. "Mississippi undercounted by about 265,000 people in 2010, representing $13.2 billion dollars left on the table," Green said.
U. of Mississippi approves change in grading scale for spring semester
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a change to everyone's daily routines, so to help with the ever-changing landscape of the education sector during the crisis, the University of Mississippi approved a change to alleviate some pressure for students. The Council of Academic Administrators and Chancellor Glenn Boyce approved changes to the University's grading policy for the spring 2020 semester. The change was approved on Saturday during a special meeting called by the CAA to give students some accommodations in light of the suspension of in-person instruction for the remainder of the semester. The changes will allow undergraduate students to choose to change to a grade of C or better to a Z grade. Grades between a C-minus and D can be changed to P, or passing, grade. The proposal included an amendment to allow the School of Pharmacy to opt-out of these changes. The University's Associated Student Body issued a statement in support of the change to the grading policy.
Glenn Boyce: U. of Mississippi has limited its operations to 'mission-critical'
Oxford's Board of Aldermen approved the "Stay at Home" resolution during a special meeting on Sunday, and on Monday, the University of Mississippi's chancellor issued a response. Glenn Boyce voiced his support of the resolution in a statement sent through the UM Today portal to the Ole Miss community. "Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the Board of Aldermen approved a 'stay-at-home' resolution Sunday night for residents of Oxford, effective immediately until April 6. The university strongly supports this resolution, which is mandatory for all city residents, as part of our collective efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We have already limited our operations to 'mission-critical' functions, and I've asked our vice chancellors to examine ways in which we can restrict the definition of 'mission-critical' even further in light of this resolution. Any university employee who can work remotely is expected to do so. Please do not come to campus to work simply because you want to get out of the house. All of us need to do our part by staying home and practicing good hygiene and social distancing."
MPB, PBS Support Learning Amid Coronavirus Disruptions
With schools in the state having closed their doors to help contain the spread of COVID-19, both MPB and PBS have expanded educational efforts to ensure educators, parents and students are equipped with resources to keep the learning going outside of the classroom. "MPB is doing what it does best, providing educational content and services to educators, children, families and community partners across the state," said MPB Education Services Director Tara Wren. "During this most uncertain time, the MPB Education Services department is working harder than ever to lend its experience and expertise in a more robust manner to Mississippians." Mississippi Public Broadcasting is changing its daytime television programming to offer educational content for PreK-12 students. Beginning Monday, March 23 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., MPB's primary television channel will broadcast educational content to provide continuous learning at home. The line-up will feature both animated and live-action educational content covering subjects such as science, math and history. Early morning programming will focus on early learners, while the content schedule for midday will be for older learners. Early afternoon and evening content will be locally produced Mississippi programming.
Northeast Mississippi Community College to move to online instruction for remainder of spring semester
In order to do its part to stem the spread of coronavirus, Northeast Mississippi Community College administrators decided Monday to restrict instruction to online delivery exclusively for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester. Additionally, commencement ceremonies scheduled for May are postponed until a later date to be determined. According to Northeast President Dr. Ricky Ford, the health and welfare of the entire campus community are his administration's top priority during these difficult and uncertain times. "We have to be certain we're doing everything we need to do as an institution to keep our students and employees healthy and safe during this time," Ford said. "We simply don't know when this will end, so we cannot be too cautious. We're determined to make this transition as smooth as possible for our students." Currently, a process is being discussed by which students who were living on campus may access their dorm rooms to collect their belongings. Also, prorated refunds for housing and meal tickets are being scheduled. College officials plan to release more specific information in April.
Coronavirus wiped out report cards, grading at Auburn
Auburn University students will have the option to choose pass or fail grading system for the spring 2020 semester. The change comes hours after the university announced it would move to online instruction for the rest of the semester in response to the spread of COVID-19. In a letter from Bill Hardgrave, Auburn's provost, students were informed that they would have the option to work with their academic advisors to convert passing course grades to an S for "Satisfactory" or not passing grades to U for "Unsatisfactory." Essentially, the satisfactory and unsatisfactory system eliminates the issue of these classes bringing down student's grade point averages during the state's fight against the virus. In contrast to when this policy is usually implemented, students do not need a 2.5 GPA to take advantage of this option, said Preston Sparks, a university spokesperson. "Also, students can apply this to courses required in their curriculum, but they still must meet requirements for academic progression," he said. The details will be available to students, according to the statement, by the end of the semester.
Auburn's veterinary teaching hospitals stay open during semester closure
The College of Veterinary Medicine and its student workers are still working, despite the University closing. The college's teaching hospitals, located in Auburn and Gulf Shores, Alabama, have made adjustments to transition to "a period of restricted operations," according to their website. One of these adjustments prohibits clients and visitors from entering the hospital facilities. Instead, customary in-person interactions will be conducted through telephone conversations. Routine visits will be postponed until the hospitals return to normal operations, but they will remain open for emergency services. Adam Tapley, senior in organismal biology, said things are still relatively normal at the cat colony in the vet school, where he works every other weekend. Although other University facilities have gone remote, the employees of the vet school don't have that option. The animals that live at the vet school are completely dependent on the staff for food, water and essential medicine, but waking up before 6 a.m. every other weekend is not an issue for Tapley, he said.
LSU law student tests positive for coronavirus; student is recovering, 'asymptomatic'
A second LSU student, who has not been on campus since March 13 and is recovering well, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the LSU Emergency Operations Center reports. The student, who is enrolled in the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, does not live on campus and currently is in self-isolation. The test results were confirmed by the LSU Health Center. "This individual reports that they are recovering well and are now asymptomatic, which we are elated to hear," the emergency operations center said in a statement. Those who are known to have been in close contact with this law student are being notified, as well as the larger Law Center community, the center said, adding that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not define being in the same classroom or office space with someone who tests positive as "close contact." LSU has been escalating its cleaning procedures across campus, including the Law Center, the statement says.
COVID-19 affects U. of Florida's study abroad, international students in dorms
When the University of Florida canceled a Spring study abroad program in Italy due to COVID-19 concerns, the students overseas unsuccessfully petitioned to stay. Now, at least two of these students admit that the university did what was best. The Vincenza Institute of Architecture program participants wrote the petition because they not only wanted the "free will to decide" whether to stay in Italy, but they were also concerned about potentially exposing others to the virus upon their return to the United States. However, the COVID-19 outbreak worsened in both countries since then. Italy surpassed China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths, and the confirmed cases in the United States jumped from 34 on Feb. 21 to more than 31,000 as of Sunday afternoon. "Hindsight is definitely 20/20," Alison Hochman, a 21-year-old UF architecture senior, said. "I'm very grateful to be back in the United States and to not be in Italy at this point." But Kerol Kaskaviqi, another one of the students in the program, said her experience transitioning back to normal wasn't as easy. As an international student from Albania, she first had to travel from Italy back to her home country to receive necessary travel documents. Although she said the program termination was "perfectly understandable," the 23-year-old architecture senior said she disagreed with how quickly UF changed the messages in their statements.
Higher Ed Group Cheers SCOTUS Ruling in Copyright Case
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 9 to 0 that Congress does not have the authority to repeal states' sovereign immunity from copyright infringement suits in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990. States' immunity extends to "instruments of the state," including public colleges, which are often reservoirs of information and spearheading digital preservation efforts. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities issued a statement in support of the ruling. "We applaud the Supreme Court's unanimous decision today to preserve states' sovereign immunity from copyright litigation, protections that extend to public universities," the statement read. "APLU was proud to lead a friend-of-the-court brief with the Association of American Universities highlighting the vital importance of state sovereign immunity in ensuring public universities can advance education and innovation."
As stimulus remains in flux, Democrats push for more student debt cancelation
As negotiations over a mammoth economic stimulus package continued in the Senate Monday night, House Democrats unveiled their own $2.5 trillion proposal, which largely mirrors, and in some ways goes beyond, the plan pushed by Senate Democrats to cancel large amounts of the nation's student debt. The House plan also proposes giving more aid to colleges and universities than the Senate Republican plan would, but the American Council on Education worried the money will be distributed too slowly to save institutions in immediate need of help from layoffs or even closure. The proposal largely mirrored the approach of Senate Democrats in using federal dollars to make the monthly federal student loan payments of Federal Family Education Loan, Perkins and direct loan borrowers for as long as a national emergency declaration over the coronavirus epidemic continues. After the declaration is lifted, borrowers would get a 90-day transition period in which they'd receive at least three notices indicating when they'd have to resume making payments. Missed payments would not result in fees or penalties during that time. That approach was less than what the House financial committee wanted. It had recommended the payments be made for the duration of the emergency plus an additional six months.
Colleges Seek More Than $50 Billion to Weather Virus Disruptions
Colleges are facing huge costs from the fallout of the new coronavirus on campuses, but emergency aid figures proposed in Congress so far are wholly inadequate to address the scale of the challenge, higher education lobby groups say. Postsecondary groups are calling on lawmakers to provide between $50 billion and $60 billion in assistance to keep colleges solvent in the short-term. The latest version of a Senate Republican coronavirus-relief package released Sunday (H.R. 748) included about $6 billion for higher education, including $3 billion in assistance to colleges and $3 billion in aid to students. The bill was rejected Sunday on a procedural vote and bipartisan negotiations continued overnight. "It's a drop in the bucket," said Jon Fansmith, director of government relations at the American Council on Education. "It's nowhere near what's needed just to replace part of the losses colleges have experienced."
Study abroad students caught by international border closures
Students studying abroad have difficulty getting home after countries close borders and restrict travel due to the coronavirus crisis. Some have gotten home, while others remain stuck in host countries.When Will Rayner, a University of South Alabama student, traveled to Peru as part of a spring break study abroad program earlier this month, he never imagined he'd get stuck there or become one of thousands of Americans stranded overseas and having a terrible time trying to return to the United States. But that's exactly what happened after the Peruvian government, like governments of other countries responding to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, declared a state of emergency and suspended all international travel by land, air and sea. Rayner found himself separated from his group and unable to leave -- and having to increase his credit card limits to book a stay in a Lima hotel -- before he finally got home this past Saturday. His classmates remain stuck in Peru. (A South Alabama spokesman said the university is coordinating with other universities with students in the program, as well as government agencies, to arrange accommodations and flights back.) As countries around the world have moved swiftly to close borders in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, students studying abroad have suffered the unintended consequences.
Scientists using supercomputer to test virus drugs superfast
A Huntsville scientist is part of an elite team using the world's most powerful supercomputer to search -- super fast -- for medicines to fight the coronavirus. "It is a nonstop effort, pretty much 24/7," Dr. Jerome Baudry said. Baudry's laboratory at the University of Alabama in Huntsville is on a team using the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's supercomputer in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to screen compounds that might work against the virus. "We have several daily teleconferences with all of us involved, and that's about 30 people so far, " Baudry said in a UAH report on the research. "We are at this point focusing on repurposing existing drugs," he said. "That is, to take existing drugs from the shelf and find which ones are active against either the virus itself or can help in treating or mitigating the effects of infection in the severe cases." Supercomputers let scientists process a given compound in a couple of minutes. "That's about the time it takes to look at a possible drug and calculate, computationally, if this possible drug can stick to one of the proteins of the virus," Baudry said. "If our calculations suggest that it could, we identify it as one of the compounds that we pass on to the groups that will be doing the experimental testing. And we repeat that for many of the virus proteins, and many different shapes of these proteins."
'Exhausting.' 'Very Strange.' What It's Like to Be an Epidemiologist Right Now.
Eleanor Murray feels both burned out and determined to help. Two weeks ago, Murray, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University, had never given an interview; now she's given a bunch. Her cartoon infographic emphasizing the importance of social distancing has been translated into multiple languages and dialects, including Arabic, Vietnamese, and Cameroonian Pidgin. "It's really nice to feel like I can do something," she says. "But there's also this feeling of 'Am I doing enough?'" On Twitter she's been fielding questions and dispensing bits of wisdom, like "Simulation models aren't crystal balls" and "For the sake of all that is good, wash your hands." As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim victims and upend daily life, lots of epidemiologists, particularly those with expertise in infectious diseases, have found themselves suddenly in demand. They're on TV urging governments to take further action, or on social media explaining how to interpret data about the disease. And we're turning to them for answers about a new, daunting reality.
As Coronavirus Spreads, Colleges Make Limited Allowances for Support Staff
Even as classes have moved online and students and professors have been told to stay off their campuses, many staff members have been expected to report to work as usual. Custodians and cafeteria workers, security guards and residence-life staff members, librarians and IT specialists -- they do jobs deemed essential to helping colleges navigate the abrupt transition to online teaching and to supporting those students who remain on campus. If they didn't clock in, could colleges continue to run? Yet some campus workers who shared their stories with The Chronicle said they, too, could do their jobs remotely and wondered why colleges had been quicker to put in place safeguards for students and faculty members than for those on the stThe coronavirus outbreak underscores what many see as a pre-existing labor divide on campuses, where the rules that apply to those who teach in the classroom don't always extend to those who mop the floors or serve the meals.
Working from home during COVID-19 proves challenging for faculty members
When institutions started sending students and professors home due to COVID-19, more than a few academics opined on social media that this would be a boon for research productivity: the idea, presumably, was that isolation breeds creativity. A significant share of these posts mentioned Isaac Newton, who discovered calculus while "social distancing" during the Great Plague of London, starting in 1665. Newton -- then still a student at the University of Cambridge and not yet a sir -- also watched apples fall from "that tree" on the grounds of his family estate during the plague, as a recent Washington Post essay explains. The period has since been called Newton's annus mirabilis, or "year of wonders," even if nearby London itself was draped in death. The retorts came almost as quickly as these views were voiced. No, this spring will not be a time for groundbreaking insights and increased productivity, and institutions should not expect either, academics argued. Many also pointed out that Newton was not a professor during his isolation, let alone one thrusting all his courses online for the first time. Nor was he a parent, simultaneously acting as daycare provider or teacher to children displaced by widespread pre- and K-12 school closures. The good news for faculty members is that colleges and universities appear to be listening to these reality checks about working from home.
A Medical Class 'Minted by the Pandemic'
Preparations for the Cadaver Ball, at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, begin in the fall. Radial Grooves, an a cappella group, selects two songs to perform; the campus hip-hop and bhangra groups choreograph routines. This year's theme was the "Roaring 2020s," which was a relief to the class president, Varun Menon, because it meant that the only costume he needed was a tuxedo. (Last year's class president had the unfortunate task of tracking down a full P.T. Barnum get-up, when the theme was "The Greatest Show.") But plans for the event, which celebrates the "matching" of fourth-year medical students to their residencies, were cut short this year. On March 10, students were notified by email that their match day ceremony would be virtual. The Cadaver Ball was canceled. Instead of spending the weekend eagerly comparing residency assignments with fellow students, Mr. Menon found himself in an unusual position: cheering match results outside the window of a friend, who was self-isolating after he being exposed to the coronavirus. Last Friday, more than 40,000 medical students across the country found out where they will be doing their three-year residencies, the first step in their medical careers. But at most universities, match day ceremonies were either canceled or held virtually on Zoom. And for students, the experience was shaped by thoughts of the role they will play on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Global panic attack
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes in The Northside Sun: Now that Americans are sufficiently scared by COVID-19 to start washing their hands, it's time to start thinking about the economic damage caused by social distancing. The Law of Unintended Consequences reigns supreme among human attempts to control our fate. We need to pay attention to how many deaths will be caused by economic collapse. It will make COVID-19 look like a cake walk. Don't get me wrong. I am washing my hands. I am paying attention to public door knobs. I am being careful. This is easy for me, I am cautious by nature. But we cannot shut down a third of the economy for more than a month without suffering consequences far more dire than the latest viral scare.

Why Mississippi State pitcher is prepared for coronavirus crisis
Christian MacLeod knows what this is like. He sits in a chair with a video game controller in his hand instead of standing on the mound gripping a baseball. He presses a button to select a pitch type instead of taking cues from a catcher and shuffling his fingers behind his back. He chooses where the ball will end up by toying with a thumb stick on the controller instead of physically letting his thumb do the work. And when that work is done and all the opposing players have been punched out, he walks down the stairs to catch up with his family in the living room instead of trotting into the dugout to converse with coaches and teammates. He grabs a Gatorade from the refrigerator in the kitchen instead of filling up a cup from the cooler in the dugout. He's playing MLB The Show on his PlayStation. He's not playing Mississippi State baseball. These mid-March circumstances are peculiar for college players.
Inside the 'heartbreaking' end to the Mississippi State softball team's promising season
The news broke before Samantha Ricketts could break it. As the Mississippi State softball coach took a phone call from her car, she watched the Bulldogs' players spill onto the field at Nusz Park in Starkville for the meeting Ricketts had called to order. It was around noon on March 12, and Ricketts had just been told that the Southeastern Conference had suspended play until March 30 due to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Ricketts was ready to give her team the bad news, but it came out on social media first. The coach watched through her car window as outfielder Candace Denis stared at her phone, realizing her senior season had been put on hold. As Ricketts sat there, Denis lowered her head onto a teammate's shoulder and started to cry. In her first year as head coach, Mississippi State had rocketed to a 25-3 start, but by the end of the Bulldogs' practice that day, their chance at the postseason was gone as the NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring championships, including the Women's College World Series. Five days later, the SEC made one final announcement: The 2019-20 season was over.
Mississippi State softball's Fa Leilua, Mia Davidson make Softball America top 100
Mississippi State softball players Fa Leilua and Mia Davidson made Softball America's Shortened Season College Top 100, released Monday. Leilua, a senior first baseman, ranked No. 38 on the list, while Davidson, a junior catcher, came in at No. 76. Leilua led all starters on her team with a .384 batting average, hitting eight doubles and nine home runs while starting all 28 games. She finished the season with an on-base percentage of .465 and a slugging percentage of .791. Davidson hit .330 while starting all 28 games, slugging four doubles, two triples and seven home runs. Against Southern Miss in what turned out to be Mississippi State's final game, she went 4 for 4 with a pair of home runs. Davidson got on base at a .422 clip and slugged .659.
Mississippi State's Reggie Perry secures NABC All-District accolades
Mississippi State's Reggie Perry captured National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 20 first-team honors, the association announced Monday. It marks back-to-back seasons where the Bulldogs have had an NABC All-District first-team pick, as Quinndary Weatherspoon was a first-team selection last season. Ole Miss also had a player selected, as senior Breein Tyree made the All-District first-team along with Kentucky's Nick Richards, Arkansas' Mason Jones and LSU's Skyler Mays. Perry, a Karl Malone Award top 5 finalist given to the nation's top power forward by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, has already been named consensus All-SEC First Team in addition to United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District accolades. He claimed SEC Co-Player of the Year by the Associated Press and was the Bailey Howell Trophy recipient awarded to the state of Mississippi's top collegiate player. Mississippi State won 11 of its last 15 SEC games to earn a top 4 finish in the conference standings, the program's highest overall finish since 2010-11. The Bulldogs have tucked away three consecutive 20-plus win seasons under Ben Howland for the fifth time in program history.
Construction on UGA football facility project remains ongoing
Nearly all activities around the Butts-Mehre building, which houses Georgia athletics and the Bulldogs football program, are ground to a halt by restrictions put in place in response to the novel cornonavirus crisis. Construction on a new football operations center as part of the Butts-Mehre expansion and renovation is ongoing. DPR Construction, the company that employs the workers, said activity at the site continued on Monday. The $80 million project will add an expanded weight room, coaches' offices, a locker room, meeting rooms and a sports medicine facility. "DPR Construction values the health, safety and well-being of our employees, families, customers, partners and communities," Chris Bontrager, DPR's business unit leader in Atlanta, said via email. "Based on the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control, we have taken extra measures to support prevention and to help keep our workers and trade partners safe..." Those include following advanced environment, health and safety protocols for sites that include enhanced site cleaning and distancing practices and requiring workers who have symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or fever to stay home until they are symptom free.
Coronavirus Forces 2020 Tokyo Olympics To Be Delayed Until 2021
The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not begin in late July and instead will be held "by the summer of 2021," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday. The delay comes after a growing number of athletes and sporting federations called for the games to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first time an Olympics have ever been postponed, though the games previously have been canceled three times because of World Wars. Abe revealed the decision to journalists moments after speaking by phone with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. The prime minister's office said via Twitter that "the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021." The IOC and Tokyo organizers released a joint statement saying the games won't be held in 2020 in an attempt "to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community." While Japan has benefited from strenuous efforts to contain the coronavirus, the virus is spreading quickly in other areas. And health experts warn that it will likely be months before people can return to the normal routines of everyday life.

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