Southeast Missouri State Announces On-Campus Indoor Face-Covering Requirement Until Sept. 16th
In the Spring of 2021, Southeast Missouri State University announced their Protect the Nest plan, an initiative to reduce cases of COVID-19 amongst the student body and university population.
The plan consisted of rules and regulations on face masking policies, social distancing protocol, and space capacity limits for students and teachers to best accommodate their classes and life on campus amidst the pandemic.
As of Fall 2021, many schools across the nation have announced alterations to similar initiatives as COVID-19 cases decline and vaccine availability rises.
However, during July and August cases of COVID-19 have grown across Missouri, with over 300 active cases and hospitalizations entering the 2,000’s. Traces of the COVID-19 Delta variant has also spread across Missouri.
With the school year coming closer, schools are having to confront changing certain guidelines, or even adding new ones to their pandemic policies.
With move-in week in place and the Fall 2021 semester beginning August 23rd, students and staff awaited SEMO’s updated proposal.
The University announced on August 16th that face covering will be required in all University buildings regardless of vaccination status temporarily, until September 16th.
However, some exceptions of the mask-mandate exclude Residence Hall rooms and floors, while eating and drinking, or while exercising indoors in a campus recreation facility.
Despite the current mask mandate, additional safety measures implemented in the prior semester such as social distancing and higher numbers of remote learning options will not be required.
Within university buildings, Facilities Management will continue high-touch cleaning and disinfecting practices throughout campus, while also providing hand sanitizer, face coverings, and disinfecting supplies will remain available at various on campus locations.
Southeast Missouri State University President Dr. Carlos Vargas explained the decision to require face masking for the fall, and reassured students that it is temporary.
“We feel this measure is important particularly as we prepare to welcome back thousands of students from across Missouri, other states, and other countries,” said Vargas. “Let me reiterate that the face covering requirement is not permanent and it will be reevaluated in a few weeks.”
The university will also be hosting various on campus vaccine clinics at multiple locations throughout the semester which are open to the students, faculty, staff, and the community.
The next COVID-19 vaccination opportunity will be Tues. Aug. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Southeast River Campus.
Dates for following vaccine clinic opportunities are Fri. Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the University Center Program Lounge; Mon. Aug. 30, from Noon to 4 p.m., at the River Campus; and Fri. Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Towers Complex.