COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri will require students, faculty and staff to wear masks in classrooms when on-campus classes resume in the fall, though those plans could change depending on the state’s coronavirus situation.
The university, which moved all classes online in March because of the pandemic, announced plans for returning to campus on Monday but said preparations were also being made to return to remote instruction if public health conditions require it.
Face coverings will be recommended in buildings where social distancing is not possible, and students, faculty and staff will be expected to provide their own masks, although some will be available for students who forget to bring them to class.
Students also will be required to take online training on the practices and expectations for the fall semester before arriving on campus. Some housing has been set aside to isolate people who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantine people who were in contact with them.
“We will continue to evaluate procedures that emphasize safety on our campus,” Missouri System President Mun Choi said in a statement. “New campus policies will impact nearly every aspect of campus life, including how we live, study and work. Our success will depend on everyone in our community sharing responsibility in our collective health and well-being.”
Columbia Public Schools announced Monday that the district will join the university in requiring faces masks when classes resume, with some exceptions. And the Columbia City Council is considering an ordinance requiring that most residents use masks outdoors, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
The decision comes as some Missouri cities consider requiring masks. Kansas City began requiring people to wear masks on Monday and Jackson County will enact the mandate Wednesday. The Joplin City Council last week narrowly rejected an ordinance to require mask wearing in public.
The discussions come amid a continuing rise in coronavirus cases in Missouri, which recorded 21,043 confirmed cases on Monday, a 9.7% increase in the last seven days.