Changes in COVID-19 policies begin Aug. 2

Posted in: COVID-19

Dear campus community,

As we prepare for fall with full, in-person classes and university activities, COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to keep our campus community safe and return to the traditions we all enjoy. (On a related note, vaccinated individuals can avoid quarantine after COVID-19 exposure, which allows them to continue participating in in-person activities at the university.)

Missouri is working to combat a rise in cases primarily caused by the Delta variant, with most of the cases occurring in unvaccinated individuals. While faculty, staff and student cases remain very low at Mizzou, we will take additional precautions.

The next steps include:

Temporarily reinstating some indoor masking requirements beginning Aug. 2.
Requesting that staff, faculty and students voluntarily upload vaccination documents through secure systems, with chances to win exciting incentives.
Hosting a variety of special vaccination events at Mizzou and in Columbia beginning in August for staff, faculty and students who have not yet been vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated before you return to campus. Use Vaccines.gov to find a location near you.

We take these measures as we continue to monitor the local public health situation in concert with our own local experts, local public health officials and CDC guidance.

Temporary indoor masking policy

As of Aug. 2, all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks in classrooms, as well as meeting spaces where social distancing is not possible. This temporary requirement will be reviewed by Sept. 15.

For the remaining indoor spaces on campus, if you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to wear a mask. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the university recommends wearing a mask in these other indoor spaces, which is aligned with latest CDC recommendations.

Exceptions to these requirements and recommendations include:

When you are alone in a workspace.
When your workspace has at least a 6-foot distance between all employees or has physical barriers between employees – such as a plexiglass shield or cubicle wall.
When you are eating or drinking and 6 feet away from others or divided by a physical barrier, such as a plexiglass shield or cubicle wall.
When you are with small numbers of people you consistently live or work with daily (known as a stable group) including roommates, officemates or lab coworkers.

Some units across campus, such as MU Health Care, School of Medicine and facilities in the College of Veterinary Medicine, may have different requirements that are specific to their units.

Get vaccinated and log your status:

Students, faculty and staff are strongly urged to get vaccinated and upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination records or cards. Students can easily upload their document to our Secure Document Upload in myZou. Faculty and staff are asked to provide information through our COVID Vaccine Uploader in myHR.

Providing your vaccine information will help us have a measure of vaccination rates within our campus community and guide how we might adjust our policies to promote a safe working and learning environment. For example, if you are exposed to someone infected by COVID-19, and you are fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms, you may not have to quarantine or be tested. Having your confidential vaccine information on hand will assist our case investigators and contact tracers in this effort. Your vaccine information will be kept confidential. If you live, work, attend or visit the university, you will not be asked about your vaccination status. If you have questions about this process or how to find your vaccine information, visit the FAQ on our Show Me Renewal website.

We are excited to announce that students, faculty and staff who upload information will be entered in drawings to win exciting prizes. Drawings will begin in mid-August for prizes such as tuition discounts for students, dinner with head coaches or free parking for a year.

We cannot stress enough the importance of being fully vaccinated, which is defined as two weeks after receiving two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Even if you have had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated, as the vaccine strengthens immunity after natural infection.

If you have not already completed your vaccination, begin your vaccination wherever you are. If you get vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer shots elsewhere, you can receive your second vaccination dose in Columbia.

We will also have several special walk-in vaccination events on campus starting Aug. 5. Please see options and schedules. For students vaccinated outside of the United States, refer to these CDC recommendations about vaccines. Vaccinations will also be available to students at the Student Health Center during the fall semester.

Though we have come a long way through this pandemic, it is not over. If we all take the precautionary measures above, as well as those listed below, we will limit the spread of the virus.

Stay home when you are sick. Get tested if you have symptoms, even if you think you only have a cold or new/different allergy symptoms.
Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.
While in large groups or at events, don’t assume everyone around you is vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you are required to wear a mask during indoor events. It is also recommended for those who are vaccinated.
Students and supervisors for staff and faculty are still required to report positive cases. Find the forms to do so on the Show Me Renewal site.

We thank everyone for their careful attention to these practices. While the variant poses a challenge, we head into this fall with the benefit of a vaccine and better knowledge of COVID-19. With your help, the campus will continue to be vigilant as we manage through this stage of the pandemic.

Stay safe and M-I-Z.

Mark Diedrich
Incident Commander
MU Incident Command Team

John Middleton
Operations Section Chief
MU Incident Command Team