ROLLA, Mo. – Due to concerns related to the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Missouri University of Science and Technology has canceled all university-sponsored events associated with the annual St. Pat’s Celebration and the university’s Teaching and Learning Technology Conference.
In addition, Phelps Health reported today that a patient is being isolated for COVID-19 testing.
The cancellation includes the St. Pat’s Parade and outdoor concert on Saturday, March 14, as well as other events, beginning with today’s court arrival.
“Canceling events associated with one of our university’s most celebrated traditions was a very difficult decision,” says Dr. Mo Dehghani, Missouri S&T chancellor. “But the well-being and safety of our Missouri S&T family and the Rolla community is our highest concern and of utmost importance.
“Although there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus on campus or in the Rolla area, we cannot take the risk of exposing thousands of people at events that attract visitors from all over the state – even from around the nation,” Dehghani says. “Therefore, we are canceling the events.”
Dr. Dennis Goodman, director of student health and Missouri S&T’s chief medical officer, consulted with Phelps-Maries Health Department Director Ashley Wann before recommending the cancellation.
The university is also evaluating moving classes online and restricting travel in light of the rapid changes with COVID-19.
The following St. Pat’s Celebration events are now canceled:
• The St. Pat’s Court arrival downtown, scheduled for approximately 11:45 a.m. today at Pine Street, and Follies, scheduled after the arrival at the Rolla Band Shell.
• “Casino Night,” sponsored by Fraternal Order of Leaders, scheduled for 7 p.m. today in the Havener Center.
• Gonzo Gives Back, the St. Pat’s Day of Service, scheduled from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday at various community locations.
• Gonzo and Games, noon-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Schuman Park.
• Honorary Knights Banquet (6 p.m. Friday at the Havener Center) and Coronation and Knighting Ceremony (9 p.m. Friday at Leach Theatre).
• Pre-parade street painting, 6 a.m. Saturday, March 14, on Pine Street in downtown Rolla.
• The Miner Alumni Association’s pre-parade breakfast, 9-10:30 a.m. at Hasselmann Alumni House, 1100 N. Pine St.
• The St. Pat’s Parade, 11 a.m. Saturday, downtown Rolla.
• The Miner Alumni Association’s post-parade pig roast (invitation-only), noon-2 p.m. Saturday at Hasselmann Alumni House.
• The Grateful Board Festival, St. Pat’s Concert and Award Ceremony, scheduled from 1-6 p.m. Saturday.
The St. Pat’s Celebration at Missouri S&T began in 1908 and has been held continuously except for a few years during World War II. The event honors St. Patrick as the “patron saint of engineers.” As part of the 112-year-old tradition, the university does not hold classes on the Thursday and Friday before the annual parade. The practice of dismissing classes Thursday and Friday will continue.
“Safety first” encouraged
University officials discourage students, faculty and staff from hosting visitors during the remainder of the week and encourage all to protect themselves and others from the potential spread of respiratory diseases – not just coronavirus, but also the cold and flu.
“Safety first,” says Goodman. “As we do every year during cold and flu season, we advise people to follow the best practices to avoid the spread of respiratory disease.”
To protect yourself and others, Goodman recommends you:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
More information about Missouri S&T’s response to the COVID-19 situation is available at coronavirus.mst.edu.