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Missouri Policy Journal

Abstract

Institutions of higher education (IHE) have worked tirelessly to mitigate the effect of SARS-Co-V2 (COVID-19) on their campuses. Shortly after COVID-19 hit Missouri, several state departments united their efforts to understand and problem-solve around the pandemic. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (DHEWD) led one such effort, facilitating weekly meetings with members from Missouri’s IHE. The research team reviewed thirty-one video recordings from November 4, 2020, to June 9, 2021, and interviewed DHEWD staff. Using focused coding, the research team identified the role of DHEWD, leaders that emerged during the process, several challenges IHE faced during the pandemic, and successes and accomplishments. IHE were also challenged by how to mandate or incentivize the vaccine, and new human resources policies that emerged as a result of an increase in remote work schedules. This research highlights the importance of continued collaboration among IHE and various state departments, an intentional relationship between public health and IHE, and an increased investment in mental health services in order to prepare for the next public health emergency.

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