Missouri University of Science and Technology will require face coverings in certain indoor areas on campus beginning Monday, Aug. 2.
The new policy, announced today (Thursday, July 29), requires all students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear face coverings in classrooms and laboratories beginning Monday. This policy applies to all, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings also will be required for all in meeting spaces when social distancing is not possible.
The policy also requires unvaccinated individuals to wear face coverings in other indoor areas, such as common areas, and recommends that vaccinated individuals wear face coverings in all indoor public areas on campus. In addition, the university continues to encourage people to wear face coverings outdoors, especially in group settings.
The S&T policy will be in effect through Sept. 15, when it will be re-evaluated.
The policy is consistent with the requirements of the three other University of Missouri System universities in Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis. It also aligns with the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a face covering in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission. Most of Missouri is included in the CDC’s high transmission designation.
The change comes as Phelps County and the state continue to experience a rise in COVID-19 cases while vaccination rates statewide and in Phelps County, where Missouri S&T is located, remain low. According to Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, approximately 41.1% of eligible Missourians are fully vaccinated. In Phelps County, approximately 31.8% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.
Along with Missouri S&T, the other University of Missouri System universities in Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis have established similar requirements for face coverings.
Short term this may be easier than to require everyone to be vaccinated, but masking is not the answer.
This embarrassment to Missouri should be a wake up call to the University to mobilize and get the true message out about the vaccines to the general public, urging people with questions to talk to their physician (or get one first) rather than to demonize those without the shots. The messages received by the government are so mixed and variable that who can really say why the hesitancy. As an Alumni, I would certainly be willing to take a leadership role in truth-telling. Focus on vax and not the masks as masks generally protect others not themselves.
The Delta mutation will be present and may eventually get worse. The data shows a day-to-day rise in infections but does not necessarily show the severity of illness. We need better data on individual immunity status and that requires continuing research.
Bless our S&T students for taking a serious role in this pandemic!
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