Guidance Document: Decision Triggers for Discussion of Closure, Partial Closure, and/or Reduction of On-Campus Presence of Students and/or Personnel

Missouri Western’s plan for a safe return to campus is the result of hundreds of hours of research, planning and consultation with campus and community experts. As with our other COVID-19 policies and guidelines, the following guidance will be revised as our understanding of COVID-19 continues to develop and as our situational awareness changes with students and personnel back on campus for the academic year. As we continue to adapt our general policies and procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all units and individuals will continue to do their best to implement and operationalize guidance as best they can in the spirit of that guidance, understanding that not all details will be perfectly tailored to fit every situation across campus life. This guidance is intended to decrease the risk of the spread of disease, but it cannot eliminate all risk.

Decision Triggers – Overview:

  • A combination of community and campus criteria may lead to (1) further reduction of personnel or students on campus, (2) partial closure of campus, or (3) full closure of campus.
  • Should any of these decisions be triggered, the campus community will be notified by means of their university email, the university website, and as appropriate by Griffon Alert and social media.
  • Decisions and other responses to these considerations will come as a result of collaborative decisionmaking among leaders from across the campus community.

Decision Triggers – General Considerations:

  • A University campus setting has multiple risk factors for transmission of COVID-19.
  • We are and will continue to work hard on communication to the entire campus community as well as campus visitors regarding necessary public health and hygiene practices.

Community Considerations:

  • Significant official action by state, local, or other public authorities relevant to the situation.
  • Significant escalation of community spread in the St. Joseph or Buchanan County areas.
  • Upward trajectory of documented cases of COVID-19 cases OR percentage of positive tests (with flat or increasing volume of tests) for 14 days.
  • Inability to obtain adequate testing for COVID-19 due to supply chain issues or other concerns.
  • Number of hospital admissions / hospital capacity / hospitals unable to treat all patients without crisis care.
  • Degradation of robust testing capacity in community, including screening and contact tracing for symptomatic individuals.
  • Trends among peer institutions of higher education (particularly public institutions in Missouri).
  • Actions taken by local school districts.

Campus Considerations:

  • Increase in percentage of positive tests / sustained day-over-day increases / overall rate.
  • Employee absenteeism (particularly in custodial and physical plant services due to critical need to maintain clean and safe campus).
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages impacting ability to prevent spread, provide care, follow campus guidelines, etc.
  • Clusters of positive cases overwhelming ability to quarantine/isolate and contact trace.
  • Upward trajectory of documented cases of COVID-19 cases OR percentage of positive tests (with flat or increasing volume of tests) for 14 days.
  • Covid-related death of a member of the campus community.

Possible Responses:

  • Increased physical distancing requirements on campus.
  • Increased sanitation.
  • Short suspension of classes to enable facility closures for cleaning / contact-tracing / consultation with local health officials / enhanced physical distancing / etc.
  • Reduced or phased occupancy.
  • Closure of some or all residence halls.
    • Note: concerns re safe travel depending on health conditions, travel restrictions and final destinations
    • Note: concerns re safe alternatives (whether any occupancy would remain)
  • Transition to remote learning.
  • All-campus closure.