In lieu of our traditional all-faculty luncheon, Dr. Frank Einhellig, Dr. Cameron Wickham and I will host an all-faculty Welcome Back Webinar at 11 a.m. this Thursday (Aug. 13).
Wes Pratt, Dr. Lyle Foster and Dr. Judith Martinez will discuss the challenges facing our university, our community and our country regarding racial equity, police brutality and social justice. Dr. Einhellig and I will also provide important updates and information about university policies and best practices as we start the academic year in a complicated environment.
Board approves masking policy
The Board of Governors met last week. It discussed masking on campus and adopted a masking policy for the fall semester. Under this policy:
- Masking will be required in all buildings on campus except while eating in a dining hall, while inside residential rooms or apartments, and while exercising at indoor exercise facilities.
- Employees are not required to wear masks in their own private offices.
- Exceptions may be granted by the provost for classes where masking is infeasible.
This decision was supported by faculty, staff and students at last week’s town hall meetings. When polled, faculty and staff chose this option with 85% of the vote and students chose this option with 72% of the vote.
Expansive COVID-19 online resources available now
I also provided the board with an overview of our isolation, quarantine and contact tracing plans for the fall semester and our new COVID-19 Information Center website.
We have established a COVID-19 Response Team and staffed it with healthcare and public health professionals. When a student, faculty or staff member tests positive or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the team will advise them on how to isolate or quarantine, trace their contacts and inform others who may have been in close contact that they must also quarantine.
The COVID-19 Response Team will also answer questions members of the university community have about whether they should quarantine, whether they should be tested for COVID-19 and similar topics.
We have also redesigned our COVID-19 website into a functional information center and added substantially more information to it. It focuses on providing information members of the campus community need as they encounter pandemic-related situations throughout the semester.
Our new Return to Campus Guide is also part of the new website. The guide has been updated to include significantly more detail than the version published earlier this summer. It includes information like:
- What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- What to do if you test positive for COVID-19.
- What to do if you have been told to quarantine or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- When can you return to campus if you tested positive or were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
The website also includes Frequently Asked Questions that flesh out the information in the Return to Campus Guide. It includes answers to questions about situations we expect to play out multiple times throughout the semester.
I encourage you to take some time to review the COVID-19 Information Center, the Return to Campus Guide and the Frequently Asked Questions. Feel free to refer students and others to these resources as the fall semester starts and we return to campus.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!