Oct. 15, 2021–Due to declining COVID-19 numbers on campus and in the community, face coverings will be encouraged but no longer required in public indoor spaces at Missouri Western State University, effective immediately. Below is an email that Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy, Missouri Western president, sent to campus late this afternoon. Thank you.

Subj: Campus Mask Policy: Encouraged not Required

Effective immediately, face coverings are encouraged but no longer required in all indoor public spaces.

This University masking policy change reflects several indicators reviewed by the COVID-19 Response Team every week and is in line with CDC guidance on masks.

For eight straight weeks, we’ve seen both the positivity rates and the number of positive cases decline for Buchanan county.  Additionally, we’ve seen the same decreasing trend in the local hospitalization rates. We have also seen a decline in cases on campus, and in fact we have had zero active COVID-19 cases for more than a week.

Through the Max the Vax incentive program, 29 percent of students and 85 percent of employees have reported vaccinations. The University continues to encourage COVID-19 vaccination and will host another vaccine clinic with Heart to Heart International on Tuesday, October 26.

We wanted to communicate this decision as quickly as possible, and we appreciate your patience as we are in the process of updating our webpage and signs around campus to reflect this change.

The COVID-19 Response Team will continue to meet weekly to review data and adjust mitigation strategies, including the campus face covering policy, as warranted. The team reviews campus and community vaccination rates, positivity rates, and local hospitalization rates, among other data points, and is continually guided by the best available science-based evidence and expert recommendations in order to make informed decisions about campus activities.

Additional information can be found under our campus COVID-19 guidelines.

Thank you for all you’re doing to help make our campus a safe place to be!