Message to Students and Families

Brenda LohmanDear HDFS Students and Families:

As many have said, these are unprecedented times. The Department of Human Development and Family Science and the College of Human Environmental Sciences are prepared and equipped to support students, families, and our communities.

We are lucky to have a mission to improve well-being for individuals, families, and communities and the faculty and staff who can make this happen.

Here are just a few of the actions the Department of Human Development and Family Science is taking to support student well-being:

  • Faculty and instructors have moved all traditional face-to-face course materials online and are creating new videos and activities so that students can continue learning wherever they are located. The HDFS Department has been teaching courses online for over 20 years and thus we have many experts in online learning that are assisting each other. The team work I have seen is inspiring!
  • As of March 18, 2020, we have removed all HDFS students in volunteer, practicum, and internship placements in the community. Program directors, advisors, and instructors are working with accrediting agencies and community partners to develop action plans for virtual assignments.
  • We have canceled all in-person departmental events. Meetings among faculty, staff, and students are being held over Zoom and we are exploring ways to offer future social and educational events virtually.
  • Our HDFS faculty and partners in MU Extension are working on resources for families.
  • Our Child Development Laboratory School has been closed until April 6 to help protect the well-being of our youngest students. We will reassess it at that time.

Here's what students can do:

  • Keep checking university email and Canvas for updates from professors and other instructors.
  • It is important that students stay in contact and communicate with their advisors and instructors if there are any needs, concerns, or questions. Please make sure to reach out with any question you may have. Do not hesitate.
  • Take advantage of university tools and resources for remote learning. Students needing help ensuring their computers have the appropriate software can visit for live chat tech support or call the Division of IT at 573-882-5000.
  • Make sure to use only reliable sources for information. Misinformation can spread rapidly in times like this. Official university updates can be found at
  • Maintain mental health. Take a walk or a run and make sure to get adequate sleep. Focus on what you can control. Avoid social media if it is causing anxiety. Try Sanvello (it's free with a Mizzou email address). And take time for family and friends by using technology like FaceTime and Hangouts.
  • For general questions regarding undergraduate student issues in HDFS, including questions regarding new and incoming students, please reach out to Nora Hager (
  • For general questions regarding graduate student issues in HDFS, including questions regarding new and incoming students, please reach out to Ashlie Lester (
  • For general questions regarding the Child Development Laboratory School, please reach out to Michelle Mathews, (

Finally, these are stressful times. I know students and their families have many questions right now and while I may not have all the answers, I want you to know that we are listening.

We encourage everyone to follow the advice of the CDC: Practice social distancing, limit your interactions to groups of 10 people or fewer, and engage in healthy habits such as frequently washing your hands. Last night, Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services also issued a community order that prohibits public gatherings of more than 50 people. For the health of our entire community, as well as our neighbors across the state, it is vital that everyone follow this order. We can all do our part by avoiding social gatherings. Even those who are at low risk for severe symptoms associated with the coronavirus can have an inadvertently major impact on those who are at higher risk.

As many have said, “We will never know if we did too much, but we will certainly know if we did too little.” The health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and their families are our primary concern. We are also doing everything we can to continue premier educational experiences for our students during this unpreceded time. I look forward to the time when the campus is bustling with all of our faculty, staff, and students once again. 

Stay well,

Brenda Lohman

Brenda J. Lohman, PhD
University of Missouri
Professor and Department Chair
Human Development & Family Science