We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Missouri Western is committed to the safety and well-being of our campus community and fulfilling our mission of education and service. For updates, alerts and more information, visit the COVID-19 website.

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Guidelines for All Students, Faculty & Staff

Guidelines for All Students, Faculty & Staff2020-07-13T14:47:44-05:00

These general guidelines apply equally to all students, faculty, and staff. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we take steps to protect the health and wellbeing of our entire campus community.

Physical Distancing2021-04-15T13:05:15-05:00

At Missouri Western, keeping a minimum physical space of six feet (two meters or about 2 arms’ length) between you and others is required whenever possible. This is one of the best tools we have to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important that our students, employees and visitors keep this physical distance from others, even if they have no symptoms. 

More information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is available here.

Face Coverings2021-04-15T13:07:59-05:00

Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces, and in outdoor spaces when physical distancing is not being maintained. The CDC currently recommends that vaccinated individuals continue to wear face coverings when in public settings. 

Face coverings are not required when:

  • you are in your private work space, or when you are in your own residence hall room without guests.
  • you are eating (though physical distance should still be maintained as much as possible in these situations).
  • you are actively engaged in a physical workout, per the protocols provided by Athletics or Recreational Services.
  • you have an accommodation provided for ADA reasons by the Accessibility Resource Center or Human Resources Office.
  • you are outdoors and able to maintain at least six feet of physical space between yourself and others.

The CDC has posted guidance on how to properly wear face coverings to protect yourself and others.

  • Acceptable face coverings include disposable masks and reusable cloth masks and gaiters.  They should cover the nose and mouth and fit closely to the face. Multiple layers are more effective. Face shields have not been shown to be effective and are not an acceptable face covering.
  • Disposable masks should be discarded after daily use. 
  • It is recommended that cloth face coverings should be laundered on a daily basis. 
  • Wearers should wash their hands before putting on and taking off their masks and should avoid touching their face while wearing a face covering for maximum benefit. 
  • Lip Reading Needs: any member of the campus community needing a lip-reading accommodation for classes or job functions should contact the Accessibility Resource Center directly as soon as possible so appropriate arrangements can be made.
  • Medical Exceptions: If a student has a medical condition requiring an exception to this policy, this should be arranged through the Accessibility Resource Center prior to returning to campus for the fall semester. If an employee has a medical condition requiring an exception to this policy, this should be arranged through Human Resources. (Alternatively, arrangements should be made to remain off campus for the fall semester.)
  • Compliance:
    • Students without appropriate face coverings will be sent to a central location within each classroom building to obtain a mask.
    • Students who are non-compliant will be engaged in conversation with the faculty member to address the situation.
    • If the student does not comply, UPD will be called to remove the student.
    • Non-compliant students will face disciplinary action for violations.
    • Employees not in compliance with this policy will be subject to discipline.

Reusable cloth masks have been distributed to all students and employees. Disposable masks are available in each building; check signs at the building entrance to see where. 

Maintaining Good Hygiene2020-07-14T16:56:19-05:00

Handwashing – critical: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene Etiquette – critical: If you are in a private setting and not wearing a cloth face covering, please remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Alternatively, you can cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Throw any used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.

Gloves: According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks. 

Cleaning/Disinfection – Team Effort: Physical Plant / Custodial staff will do their best to keep campus common areas, public spaces, and office areas clean based on CDC guidelines and protocols for disinfection. However, we all need to be vigilant to help keep our surroundings clean. Cleaning and disinfection requires the cooperation of everyone.   Of note, 

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be provided in high traffic areas and near building entrances.
  • Cleaning supplies will be available for students and faculty to wipe down classroom areas (e.g. desk and chair surfaces) on a self-serve basis between sessions once classes begin. 
  • Departments may request additional cleaning supplies if they wish to do additional self-serve cleaning during the work day, for example to wipe down commonly used surfaces.  You can request supplies here.
  • It may be noted that the latest CDC guidance indicates that the virus is not easily transmitted via surfaces.
Self Monitoring for Symptoms2020-08-17T11:29:09-05:00

Keeping your distance:

If you feel sick, you must stay home and away from others on campus.

Taking your temperature, monitoring symptoms:

Employees and students who will be on campus must conduct symptom self-monitoring every day before reporting to work, class or any other campus activity. Employees must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 or have had evaluation and clearance by a health professional in order to be on campus.

These are all matters of personal responsibility; we are not requesting or requiring any reporting or documentation of these actions.

COVID-19 symptoms:

At this time, symptoms include one or more of the following:Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever above 100.4, chills, repeated shaking with chills, runny nose or new sinus congestion, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, fatigue, new gastrointestinal symptoms, new loss of taste or smell.

CDC Symptom Checker

What if I test positive for COVID-19?2021-04-15T16:43:11-05:00

Positive cases – communication

Positive cases – isolation

  • Any member of the campus community testing positive for COVID-19 who is not in need of hospitalization should be isolated at their permanent address if at all possible.  
  • If that is not possible, several rooms will be set aside on campus for isolation.  Priority will be for residential students who do not have other housing options. Depending on the circumstances, the University may make rooms available to other members of the campus community.

Close Contact with a Positive Case

  • Those determined to be close contacts (per CDC guidance) of a confirmed COVID-19 case should quarantine for the designated time period specified by the local public health department and communicated by the contact tracer. The length of quarantine is recommended to be 14 days, but testing results may allow a reduction in the length of time. If an individual is vaccinated, they will not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms.

Compliance – Failure to comply with these protocols may result in removal from campus and potential discipline.

COVID-19 Testing/Vaccines2021-01-14T11:19:54-06:00


  • Those experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should consult with a healthcare provider about whether testing is needed and if so, direction for where to obtain a test.
  • Those determined to be close contacts (per CDC guidance) of a confirmed COVID-19 case should also be tested to the extent feasible in the local context. (See below regarding contact tracing.) If testing is not feasible for all close contacts, the CDC recommends 14-days of quarantine, mask-wearing, and self-monitoring.
  • At the current time, and in line with CDC advice to institutions of higher education, the University does not plan to mandate COVID-19 testing or antibody testing for all employees or students in order to return to campus.
  • The state of Missouri continues to increase free community testing opportunities. Those who wish to be tested should communicate with Mosaic Medical Center, the Student Health Center, or the City of St. Joseph Health Department for assistance in determining where testing may be available at the time when it is sought.

Contact Tracing

It is critically important that we identify potential COVID-19 cases on campus. Any student or employee who has been on campus and tests positive for COVID-19 must report their cases to the appropriate campus contact immediately:

Please note that employees and students should not report positive cases on behalf of others.


  • Missouri Western is working with the State of Missouri on plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. For information about Missouri’s vaccination plan, visit covidvaccine.mo.gov/. 
  • A current flu vaccine is recommended for all those living and working on campus who are able to receive it.  Flu shot clinics are provided on campus each fall.