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Student Guide – Spring 20212021-04-12T12:28:14-05:00

All students are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in this document and the Guidelines for 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. 


Spring 2021 Courses – Flexibility of Delivery Mode

  • In-person (face-to-face), online, and hybrid courses will be offered.
  • Face to face classes will resume in Spring 2021, but not all classes may be offered in a face to face setting. Considerations will include faculty and student preferences, physical facilities (e.g., physical arrangement of the rooms, size of the rooms, mode of instruction, egress to the spaces, etc.), course type, priorities, and demand in determining the courses to be offered in various formats. For example, the university may choose to prioritize first-year courses (a focus on student success), courses for which remote learning is more challenging (e.g., some labs, performance courses), or other criteria central to the institution’s mission (e.g., capstone courses, applied learning courses, etc.).
  • Regardless of class delivery mode, all courses will have aspects available on the Canvas LMS in case there is a need to pivot to online course delivery during the semester, and in order to ensure uniform delivery of course content to students across courses and departments.
  • Faculty will be asked to record and/or stream face-to-face course content to enable students to attend from remote locations in case of illness, quarantine or other needs to physically distance.
  • Students who are sick should stay at home. If showing symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay at home, even if they are feeling well enough to come to class. To discourage sick students from attending classes and potentially spreading the virus, faculty are encouraged to relax or eliminate physical attendance policies so students do not feel pressure to attend class when they are ill. Use of online content and other strategies may be offered to students unable to physically attend class, on an as needed basis. (In line with this, students displaying symptoms may be asked to leave class and may be accommodated remotely in such cases.)
  • Students in face-to-face classes will be asked to physical distance themselves within classrooms and/or (depending on the class) may attend remotely on some or all class days to assist with physical distancing. More specific information will be available from your professor.
  • In-person classes should utilize seating charts (with students regularly sitting in the same places in the classroom on the days they attend), so that in case of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 in the class, prolonged direct exposure will be as limited as possible and faculty will be able to assist those working on contact tracing information.
  • Face coverings are required in any setting where physical distancing is difficult.
  • Students are encouraged to leave the building between classes when possible to avoid congregating in hallways and lobbies. 
  • Teaching spaces will be disinfected daily to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spread.  Additionally, the University will provide easily accessible disinfectant wipes for faculty and students to clean their own spaces before and after use, as they desire.

Particular departments, programs, and courses may develop more specific protocols according to their particular needs. Laboratory research, clinical skills, and performance based courses, for example, may require individualized protocols for students and faculty to follow in order to teach classes safely.  Any special protocols for a class you are taking will be found in the syllabus for your class / on your Canvas page, and must be followed.  Any questions may be addressed to your professor and/or relevant academic dean.

Students participating in work for credit at external sites should work with supervising faculty on campus to determine how to proceed safely.  If it is necessary to make an alternative arrangement, decisions regarding substitute work or postponement of credit will be made on a case by case basis in consultation with the appropriate academic dean.

  • Face coverings are required in these spaces as well as in adjacent hallways.
  • Whether used for classes or for individual work or study, computers should be used in a physically distanced manner.  
  • Machines in drop-in labs are being reduced to assist with physical distancing.
  • Monitors and peripherals will be cleaned regularly, but students and faculty should also take opportunities to use disinfecting supplies provided for self-serve cleaning before using computer equipment.  Please follow instructions provided by IT staff.
  • Students can remote into campus lab computers and software from their home Windows, Mac and Chromebook devices by going to griff.vn/remotelab.  Machines that are available for remoting in will show up on the list to select. Instructions for this can be found at griff.vn/remoteguide or they can go to the knowledge base in Mojo and find it there at griff.vn/mojo.


  • MWSU will determine appropriate safety precautions for the residence halls using evidence-based public health protocols for the control of infectious disease, informed by the local, regional, and national public health authorities, and considering issues such as the density of the student population, available restroom/shower facilities, cleaning protocols, HVAC, etc.
  • Also under consideration are student mental health and the health and economic ramifications of limiting residence hall density, as students not accommodated by Residence Life will instead need to find appropriate off-campus housing options that may observe different safety protocols.
  • Requirements to live on-campus will continue to be under review until Spring 2021 move-in and adjustments may be made as the University determines according to the best interest of the student. Decisions will be communicated to students as soon as possible.
  • Please see the Residential Life website for more specific information about move-in.
  • Single occupancy will not be mandated for Spring 2021.
  • For students who have higher risk health conditions or simply feel more comfortable in a single-occupancy arrangement due to COVID-19, single-occupancy of double rooms may be available for a reduced upcharge. Please inquire with Residential Life staff for more information.
  • Common or shared spaces in the residence halls, such as lobbies, shared kitchens, laundry facilities, and restroom facilities will have reduced or designated furnishings to encourage appropriate physical distancing, and will be disinfected regularly (at least once daily, but as feasible multiple times daily).  Additionally, disinfectant wipes will be available for residents to engage in self-service cleaning as desired. Adjusted occupancies will be posted for each of these spaces.
  • At the discretion of Residential Life staff in consultation with University administration, some of these shared spaces may be closed, if either they are deemed not to be feasible for appropriate adjustments for physical distancing, or if rules are not being followed adequately during the semester.
  • Students living in the residence halls will be prohibited from having day or overnight visitors from outside the campus community in their rooms. 
  • Students living in residence halls may have guests in their rooms who are members of the campus community.  Residents must limit guests in their rooms to a number that can remain physically distanced within the room at all times.
  • Students living in the residence halls will also be discouraged from leaving the local area for the duration of the semester in order to limit exposure to those they visit elsewhere and limit exposure they may bring back to the residence hall.  
  • If a student does leave the area and suspects they may have been exposed to COVID-19, the student must report this to the appropriate Resident Assistant via electronic means, ideally before returning to campus, so that appropriate arrangements may be made. (e.g. prefer staying off campus if possible until the situation is resolved; may be moved to an available quarantine room/floor for an appropriate period of time as available and as needed per current CDC guidance, etc.).



  • Any student 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. 

Close Contact with a Positive Case

  • The City of St. Joseph Health Department can assist in efforts with contact tracing if a positive case of COVID-19 occurs in the campus community.
  • Those determined to be close contacts (per CDC guidance) of a confirmed COVID-19 case should be tested to the extent feasible in the local context. (See other info above regarding testing and contact tracing, which will be updated as more information becomes available.) If testing is not feasible for all close contacts, the CDC recommends 14-days of quarantine, mask-wearing, and self-monitoring.
  • In the event that it is not possible for a member of the campus community with prolonged direct exposure to be tested, or to self-quarantine, public health officials indicate that the individual must wear a mask at all times and in all places for the full period of 14 days from the date of exposure.

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


  • Our dining partner Aramark has established requirements to allow at least 6 feet of distance between each diner, including both lines and seating arrangements. 
  • No buffet service will be available.  All food will be served by dining staff with the exception of fountain drinks.
  • No reusable cups are allowed. A clean cup must be used for every visit to the fountain machine. 
  • There will be more to-go options as well. To limit physical interactions while purchasing food, there will be an expanded Quick Eats Grab & Go program with a full offering of hot and cold items for all meals as well as snacks.
  • Team Member training has been enhanced and health is a priority. 
  • Traffic lanes, signage, and graphics facilitate safe movement and spacing. When you enter many dining locations, you will see yellow circle stickers on the ground showing where to stand. 
  • Shared items – utensils, dispensers, etc. – have largely been removed. 
  • Sanitizing stations have been increased. 
  • In order to preserve physical distancing, somewhat more limited dine-in seating will be available. In good weather, you may also eat at the outdoor tables.  Please remember to maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others. Individuals should not sit facing one another directly while eating.
  • Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. 
  • If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Put on masks when leaving tables to move around the dining location.

Student Services

In addition to our vast online resources, live reference help continues to be available to all students, staff, and faculty. 

The library building will re-open during the academic year with limited hours which will be posted online. For health and safety, certain spaces and services will be restricted as follows, subject to further notice which will be posted on the library website and in the library building:

  • The library stacks will be closed. If you require a book, please request it at the circulation desk and a member of the staff will retrieve it for you.
  • Study rooms will be limited as to access / numbers of persons allowed at a time. As cleaning between patrons during the day will be limited, those using study rooms should use self-serve cleaning supplies available to disinfect as needed.
  • Computer labs will be limited as to access / numbers of persons allowed at a time in order to achieve physical distance. The same guidelines apply to these computer labs as to others across campus.

Campus Cupboard

  • Open 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Access at other times by appointment: email – studentaffairs@missouriwestern.edu or call (816) 271-4432

Extracurricular Activities

  • All campus departments and groups wanting to hold an event must use the Event Approval Form
  • All events, whether indoors or outdoors, must be scheduled in a reservable space.
  • Indoor events: we will continue to enforce COVID capacities in indoor spaces. The only food allowed at indoor events will be prepackaged, grab-and-go snacks.
  • Outdoor events: Food (snacks and meals) are permitted. 
  • All events with food will need to be approved by the cabinet.
  • Campus groups can bring in visitors, and external groups can reserve Missouri Western spaces, as long as COVID protocols are followed.
  • Virtual or outdoor extracurricular activities and events are encouraged over face-to-face events.  
  • Face-to-face extracurricular events must be accomplished with adequate physical distancing of 6 feet between people. 
  • Attendee numbers will be limited to the COVID capacity for each room. 
  • Any person or group seeking to host an event larger than these protocols would suggest, in a face to face format, must seek permission from an appropriate member of the President’s cabinet. 
  • All event hosts will need to detail their plans to maintain distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing, COVID-19 policy monitors, and cleanliness.  Events that do not specify these plans will not be permitted to take place.
  • What you can do this year: Video gaming online, virtual karaoke/open mic, disc golf, music played through speakers, walking trails, racquetball, workout at Baker Family Fitness Center, swim in Thomas Eagleton Indoor Pool, mask decorating, art projects, hang out with friends (6 feet apart), hammocking, geocaching, gardening, book clubs, fishing, write a novel, cooking, reading, etc.
    • Update: Cheering, chanting, and singing will be permitted outdoors with at least 6 feet distance between individuals participating.  Events must follow event approval and monitoring expectations.
  • What cannot happen this year: Contact sport intramurals, foam or pool parties, dunk tanks, required physical attendance at RSO meetings or events, etc.
  • What events RSOs could plan this year: Rec Services supervised events like horse-basketball tournament and 1:1 sand-volleyball tournament, virtual trivia night, outdoor movie nights, pre-packaged ice cream socials, scavenger hunts, speakers to campus, canoeing (with lifeguards), competitions, etc.  (These must follow COVID policies.)
  • As the semester progresses, these expectations and guidelines are subject to change.

All home Griffon Football, Men’s & Women’s Basketball games will be at limited capacity for the 2020-21 seasons. Detailed protocols for both Looney Complex and Spratt Stadium for this season can be viewed at gogriffons.com. These protocols are always under review and subject to change.

In addition to current facility policies and procedures, the following policies will be implemented in order to cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Baker Family Fitness Center (BFFC)

  • Operating Hours:
    • Monday through Friday, 5:30AM – 10:00PM
    • Saturday & Sunday, 10:00AM – 5:00PM
  • Check-In’s: Patrons will show the photo on their ID to the student employee to confirm card ownership. Once confirmed and the student employees have the system ready, patrons will then swipe their ID’s to enter the facility. Should equipment be needed in the facility, cards may either be swiped again or the patron may verbally give their G# to the student employee checking out the piece of equipment.
    • Guests not permitted.
    • Student employees will no longer handle ID cards.
    • Patrons no longer have to swipe to exit the facility.
  • Masks: The CDC recommends wearing “cloth face coverings” (masks) in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Proper mask wearing will be required for all patrons not actively engaged in exercise. Leniency will be granted for patrons while they are “in between sets”. However, if socialization is noticed without masks patrons will be asked to put them on. If non-compliant, patrons will be asked to leave.
    • Proper mask wearing means that the mask is covering both the mouth and nose.
    • Full-time staff will wear masks while moving around the facility.
    • Full-time staff may remove masks while working in their office.
    • Student employees will wear masks while on duty. Will be allowed to remove masks when eating/drinking.
  • Locker Rooms: Locker rooms in the facility will be closed until further notice. Patrons are encouraged to arrive in workout attire, if possible. Should patrons need to store items, cubbies will be made available. The front restroom will remain open to patrons and staff.
  • Cleaning Materials: Additional cleaning supplies will be placed throughout the facility.
    • Additional hand sanitizer dispensers will be provided throughout the facility.
    • Additional cleaning rags will be provided to aid in cleaning efficiency. Rags are to then be placed in laundry collection bins, so they can be laundered.
  • Cleaning Regulations: Patrons are expected to clean each piece of equipment after they have completed their use of it. If non-compliant, patrons will be asked to leave.
    • Student employees will increase their cleaning regimen during each hour of operations.
  • Water Fountains: Water fountains will be closed for direct drinking usage. However, the water bottle dispensers will be available to patrons.
    • Patrons are expected to bring their own water bottles.
    • Patrons needing a bottle may purchase a bottle of water from the vending machine at the front of the building.
    • Student employees will add water fountain cleaning to their cleaning regimens.
  • Equipment: Some of the equipment will be roped off/closed to patrons in order to enforce social distancing. Patrons who ignore signs on machines and use them for their workouts will be asked to leave.

COVID-19 Positive Exposure Procedure

If a positive case is confirmed in a Recreation Services facility, the department will follow the campus protocols outlined on the MWSU COVID-19 website. Patrons can plan on the need for the facility to be cleaned by campus staff, and will be informed of the time that that may take.

Student Health Services

Spring 2021:

  • Open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm. Nurses on campus Monday through Thursday.
  • It is highly encouraged that students call ahead to make their appointments, so a COVID-19 screening can be completed over the phone. Once a student has passed the screening they will be scheduled for an appointment at the health center.
    • If a student does not pass the screening, a virtual appointment will be scheduled and the provider will make referrals for the student to get testing done, if the provider feels testing is needed.
    • Students are encouraged to show up on time to appointments, to help with social distancing and disinfecting of lobby, and exam rooms with COVID approved disinfectants.

Student Travel

Student groups are now allowed to travel to off-campus meetings or events as long as COVID protocols are followed. If a student travels for either University-related events or personal events, and suspects they have been exposed to COVID-19, the student will be required to report this exposure to an appropriate university advisor and may be required to place themselves in self-quarantine for a period of time in accordance with current CDC guidance. 

International travel and study abroad. Due to the large number of foreign and U.S. restrictions on inbound/outbound international travel and associated uncertainties associated with global travel, the University is taking a wait-and-see approach with university-sponsored study away programs.