State of Missouri allows COVID-19 policies to expire as pandemic dictates

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As the semester draws to a close in Missouri State, the university plans to end all of its COVID-19 policies.

This is the surest sign that the upcoming school year will look like campus life before March 2020.

“If fall is like now, they’re going to see normal college – no adjustments, no elimination of events, no caps on the number of people at events, no terms or class structures. events,” MSU President Clif Smart said. “We should resume our activities as normal.”

In an update Tuesday, Smart noted that the university’s tracked COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate but remain well below early peaks.

The COVID-19 dashboard showed 20 confirmed cases in the past seven days and only 39 tests administered.

Smart said the virus was close to being considered endemic. The COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available. Rates of serious illness and hospitalizations from the virus are much lower.

“It becomes like having a cold, having a regular virus, having the flu – we can cope,” he said. “It shouldn’t be driving how we (operate) the university or how we operate a business.”

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At the end of this week, MSU will remove its COVID-19 dashboard.

Temporary policies related to mask-wearing, testing, travel, and student-athletes will end at the end of the semester.

The COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave Policy will expire, as scheduled, on June 30.

Asymptomatic testing, vaccinations and treatment of people with symptoms of COVID-19 will continue at Magers Health and Wellness Center.

Clif Smart, President, Missouri State University

Smart said the university would plan for travel, campus events and university operations to be normal this summer and into the 2022-23 academic year.

But, he added, if the COVID-19 situation changes, the district will respond with the appropriate mitigation policies or initiatives.

Smart said the return to normal does not mean a universal return to the way the campus used to work.

“We learned things during the pandemic,” he said. “We learned that if you’re a coder, you can work from home. We learned that many people can work a day or two (a week) from home. We learned that with blended courses, students s are doing well and they love them.”

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He said hybrid courses will remain an option and the university will still use Zoom meetings to quickly connect people across campus.

“I hope we keep the things that make us more efficient and help us serve our students and fulfill our mission more effectively,” he said. “But COVID will no longer be the driving force. It will be about what is the best way to deliver the lessons, what is the best way to structure the work, what are the most fun or rewarding types of events. ”

Claudette Riley is the News-Leader’s educational reporter. Email news tips to [email protected]

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