return to campus plan 2020

MSU President Clif Smart speaks at a press conference about MSU's plan for the fall semester regarding COVD-19.

 On Monday, July 6, Missouri State University President Clif Smart held a joint meeting with Ozarks Technical Community College Chancellor, Hal Higdon, announcing MSU’s Fall 2020 Guide to Returning to Campus. In March of 2020, the university was forced to transition to online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Smart, MSU’s fall 2020 semester will not be online, however, changes are being made. 

“The guide addresses our overarching principles, mitigation strategies, self-monitoring requirements, cleaning procedures, circumstances when employees and students should not come to campus, how we are going to do advising in the fall and what resident life will look like among other things,” Smart said in a press conference Monday evening.

According to the guide, there will be changes; students will be required to wear masks, the Bear Line shuttle will sanitize more frequently and class sizes will be adjusted. There are additional changes listed in the guide. 

“We still have some areas to finalize including our masking policy and testing policy,” Smart said. 

Smart announced that MSU is currently deciding between two different policies regarding masks. The first is to require students to wear masks inside all classrooms and some other areas where students gather. The second would require masks in all academic buildings and buildings that have classes but are not academic in nature, such as Carrington Hall which has classes but is not an academic building, as well as other areas students frequent. Regardless, there will be masks on campus, Smart said.  

“Ultimately, faculty will require students to wear a mask in class,” Smart said. “If they do not, they will be dropped from the class.”

In addition to the enforcement of wearing masks, Smart said the university will be providing students with more options for sanitation. 

“Classrooms will be disinfected up to three times in each 24-hour period, Monday-Friday, dependent on the schedule of each classroom,” the guide states.

Additional sanitation procedures are in place for all other areas of the university including workout rooms, lounges and auditoriums. 

The new levels of sanitation have come at a price to the university. 

“There are certainly costs associated with doing this,” Smart said “The mask I wore today, we bought for all of our new students. They were about $4 a piece. I think I signed off on $130,000 worth of cleaning supplies a couple of days ago.”

OTC’s Chancellor Higdon said OTC will have similar policies to MSU. Students will be required to wear masks across the entire college. Additionally, students will have more options for online classes. OTC will be offering three free online credits to students taking 12 credits online in the fall of 2020.

More information will be finalized by President Smart before August 9. To read more about the return to campus plan, click here.