An MSU student worker wears a mask at the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center.
Photo provided by Missouri State University
An MSU student worker wears a mask at the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center.

MSU, OTC to require masks for fall reopening

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Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College are requiring masking as students return to classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint news conference yesterday, officials with both universities announced increased safety measures for their semesters that start in August. Among them are occupancy limitations and increased sanitation and cleaning efforts.

At OTC, mask or face coverings will be required for all employees, students and visitors in commons areas such as classrooms, libraries and public gathering spaces, according to a news release.

“The college has spent a great deal of time examining all possibilities for the fall semester, and we’ve determined that mask wearing is the best way to offer in-person classes while minimizing risk of coronavirus spread,” said Tracy McGrady, OTC provost, in the release.

MSU will have masking in place, too, but the specifics are being worked out. In a blog post today, President Clif Smart said two options – a requirement for masking during academic classes and another for their use in all academic buildings and classrooms in administrative buildings – would be considered during a Thursday morning virtual town hall event.

At MSU, safety measures are costing the school hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Matt Morris, vice president for administrative services. For instance, the university has set aside $200,000 for cleaning products and electrostatic sprayers, which essentially are fog disinfectant machines. He could not be reached for follow-up by deadline on additional costs.

MSU is scheduled to return Aug. 9, with OTC coming back Aug. 24.