An open letter to Mizzou

Damon Kiesow
1 min readAug 24, 2020

In-person classes resume this morning at the University of Missouri-Columbia after more than five months of remote learning. And we should be concerned to do so without any guidance from Mizzou regarding the number or distribution of COVID-19 cases on and off campus.

Students have been moving into our residence halls for almost two weeks, and yet there has been no press release concerning cases or clusters, no dashboard documenting tests, no indication how many students (or faculty and staff) are already in isolation.

Columbia has doubled its rate of daily positive tests in the past week and half of these cases are among the college-age population. Faculty members have received notification of positive tests and student media has reported on alleged cases in our fraternity and sorority system.

Yet, we are gathering in person this morning entirely in the dark as to the actual risk faculty, staff and students are being exposed to. That is not shared governance or informed consent.

Every college and university in the country is struggling with this virus. But why does UNC have a dashboard, Georgia Tech has daily health alerts and the University of Kentucky has press releases about its testing plan, while we have rumors shared on social media.

I am looking forward to heading to campus in an hour and teaching classes today. But the lack of transparency and official information about the health of our campus is disappointing.

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Damon Kiesow

Knight Chair in Digital Editing and Producing @mujschool. Formerly Director of Product @McClatchy Also: @BostonGlobe, @Poynter, @AOL, M.S. HFID @bentleyu