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COVID-19 Campus Announcements

Welcome back to campus

Welcome back to campus students, faculty and staff!

As enter the fall semester, our overarching goals remain the same – to prioritize the health and well-being of our Lion family while providing an engaging, high-quality educational experience for our students.

We strongly encourage members of our campus community to be vaccinated — to keep you and our campus safe and so we can return to the activities we all enjoy. We look forward to your participation in the vaccination incentive program.

Below, you will see the details of Missouri Southern’s interim plan for the beginning of the 2021 fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to diligently monitor COVID-19 developments on campus and in the community throughout the fall semester and will keep campus advised of any necessary changes as we move forward.

CLASS DELIVERY AND SANITIZATION

Class delivery will be in-person for fall 2021.

Every effort will be made to ensure our classrooms are cleaned and prepared for when students enter. Classes will have the proper tools – such as sanitizing spray, gloves or paper towels – to make learning areas as germ-free as possible. Our custodial team is continuing to clean and disinfect areas as much as possible. Please be diligent in disinfecting your personal space or shared areas after meetings, etc.

SICK? STAY HOME

You should stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (extreme or mild).

SYMPTOM SCREENING VIA CAMPUS CLEAR

Document your symptoms every day in the Campus Clear app.

  • Faculty and staff should begin each class session or meeting with a Campus Clear check-in of those present.
  • Individuals not cleared for campus access through the Campus Clear app should contact the Willcoxon Student Health Center to further discuss and assess symptoms. 

TEMPORARY INDOOR MASKING/FACE COVERING GUIDANCE

In response to current regional health data, the university is issuing the following guidance that will be reviewed by September 15.

  • Effective immediately, all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask/face covering indoors in meeting spaces where you cannot maintain six feet of social distancing.
  • Except in rare cases, all persons should wear a mask in classroom settings.
  • For the remaining indoor spaces on campus (such as hallways), if you are not fully vaccinated, you are expected to wear a mask. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the university strongly encourages wearing a mask in these other indoor spaces.
  • Always carry a mask with you when on-campus.
  • Masking/face covering guidelines should be followed when participating in university-sponsored activities off-campus.

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 a physical barrier between employees such as a plexiglass shield or cubical wall.

Some areas across campus may have different requirements that are specific to their units.

UNIVERSITY TRAVEL

The following options are available to students, faculty and staff participating in sponsored academic or co-curricular travel*, both domestic and international.

  • Show proof of vaccination
  • Show proof of a negative test within the last 72 hours

*Athletic teams will practice, compete and travel in accordance with MIAA and NCAA protocols.

VISITORS

External guests are allowed on campus and must comply with the current guidelines.

MASS GATHERINGS AND CAMPUS EVENTS (50 or more individuals)

  • For outdoor mass gatherings, social distancing should be observed when possible. If you are not fully vaccinated, you are expected to wear a mask/face covering. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the university strongly encourages wearing a mask/face covering.
  • For indoor mass gatherings, participants should wear a mask/face covering regardless of vaccination status.

GET VACCINATED AND LOG YOUR STATUS

Vaccinations are available in the Willcoxon Health Center. To make an appointment, please call 417-625-9323.  There are many ways to get vaccinated, and when you are ready we are here to help in this process. Visit our MSSU COVID-19 website and click on  COVID-19 Vaccine Information for additional vaccination locations, FAQs and more.

Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination records, or accommodation, at Med+Proctor. 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. Your vaccine information will be kept confidential.

We are excited that students, faculty, and staff who upload information will be entered in drawings to win fantastic prizes through our vaccination incentive program. Drawings will begin on Aug. 9. Missourians –  double your chances and enter into the state of Missouri’s vaccine incentive program.

The importance of being fully vaccinated cannot be stressed enough, 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.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging and fluid situation, which continues to evolve. 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. Depending on how local and university COVID-19 numbers fluctuate, these measures may be adjusted. For additional information on the university’s response to COVID-19, please visit mssu.edu/covid-19.

Back to School – Fall 2021

Missouri Southern State University is ready to ROAR this fall by welcoming students, faculty, staff and friends back to campus for an exciting semester.

As we plan for the fall semester, our overarching goals remain the same – to prioritize the health and well-being of our Lion family while providing an engaging, high-quality educational experience for our students.

We strongly encourage members of our campus community to be vaccinated — to keep you and our campus safe and so we can return to the activities we all enjoy. We look forward to your participation in the vaccination incentive program.

Below, you will see the details of Missouri Southern’s interim plan for the beginning of the 2021 fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to diligently monitor COVID-19 developments on campus and in the community throughout the fall semester and will keep campus advised of any necessary changes as we move forward.

CLASS DELIVERY AND SANITIZATION

Class delivery will be in-person for fall 2021.

Every effort will be made to ensure our classrooms are cleaned and prepared for when students enter. Classes will have the proper tools – such as sanitizing spray, gloves or paper towels – to make learning areas as germ-free as possible. Our custodial team is continuing to clean and disinfect areas as much as possible. Please be diligent in disinfecting your personal space or shared areas after meetings, etc.

SICK? STAY HOME

You should stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (extreme or mild).

SYMPTOM SCREENING VIA CAMPUS CLEAR

Document your symptoms every day in the Campus Clear app.

  • Faculty and staff should begin each class session or meeting with a Campus Clear check-in of those present.
  • Individuals not cleared for campus access through the Campus Clear app should contact the Willcoxon Student Health Center to further discuss and assess symptoms.

TEMPORARY INDOOR MASKING/FACE COVERING GUIDANCE

In response to current regional health data, the university is issuing the following guidance that will be reviewed by September 15.

  • Effective immediately, all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask/face covering indoors in classrooms and meeting spaces where you cannot maintain six feet of social distancing.
  • For the remaining indoor spaces on campus, if you are not fully vaccinated, you are expected to wear a mask. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the university strongly encourages wearing a mask in these other indoor spaces.
  • Except in rare cases, all persons should wear a mask in classroom settings.
  • Always carry a mask with you when on-campus.
  • Masking/face covering guidelines should be followed when participating in university-sponsored activities off-campus.

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 a physical barrier between employees such as a plexiglass shield or cubical wall.

Some areas across campus may have different requirements that are specific to their units.

RESIDENCE LIFE

Incoming residence life students will have four options during initial check-in:

  • Show proof of vaccination
  • Show proof of a negative test within the last 72 hours
  • Have fully recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days
  • Get tested at the time of check-in and quarantine

For additional information or questions, contact residence life at 417-659-4261 or residencelife@mssu.edu.

UNIVERSITY TRAVEL

The following options are available to students, faculty and staff participating in sponsored academic or co-curricular travel*, both domestic and international.

  • Show proof of vaccination
  • Show proof of a negative test within the last 72 hours

*Athletic teams will practice, compete and travel in accordance with MIAA and NCAA protocols.

VISITORS

External guests are allowed on campus and must comply with the current guidelines. 

MASS GATHERINGS AND CAMPUS EVENTS (50 or more individuals)

  • For outdoor mass gatherings, social distancing should be observed when possible. If you are not fully vaccinated, you are expected to wear a mask/face covering. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the university strongly encourages wearing a mask/face covering.
  • For indoor mass gatherings, participants should wear a mask/face covering regardless of vaccination status. 

GET VACCINATED AND LOG YOUR STATUS

Vaccinations are available in the Willcoxon Health Center. To make an appointment, please call 417-625-9323.  There are many ways to get vaccinated, and when you are ready we are here to help in this process. Visit our MSSU COVID-19 website and click on  COVID-19 Vaccine Information for additional vaccination locations, FAQs and more.

Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination records, or accommodation, at Med+Proctor. 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. Your vaccine information will be kept confidential.

We are excited that students, faculty, and staff who upload information will be entered in drawings to win fantastic prizes through our vaccination incentive program. Drawings will begin on Aug. 9. Missourians –  double your chances and enter into the state of Missouri’s vaccine incentive program.

The importance of being fully vaccinated cannot be stressed enough, 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.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging and fluid situation, which continues to evolve. 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. Depending on how local and university COVID-19 numbers fluctuate, these measures may be adjusted. For additional information on the university’s response to COVID-19, please visit mssu.edu/covid-19.

COVID vaccine available during Third Thursday

For those who still wish to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, the Joplin Health Department will be offering them during Third Thursday, set for June 17 in downtown Joplin.

Vaccinations will be offered from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall, 602 S. Main St. First and second doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available.

The vaccine is free of charge. Bring a photo ID and – if it is your second dose – your vaccination card.

Walk-ins are welcome. You can also schedule an appointment on Vaccine Navigator or by calling the Health Department at 417-623-6122.

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine available Monday, June 7

The Willcoxon Health Center will begin offering Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to students, faculty and staff starting on Monday, June 7.  This vaccine is available to individuals 18 and up. 

If interested, please email COVID19HC@mssu.edu with name, date of birth, current address and phone number.  There is no cost for administration of vaccine.

MSSU will be roaring back in person and on campus this fall

Effective May 24, Missouri Southern State University will remove the on-campus face covering requirement for fully vaccinated individuals. The decision is based upon updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and is a huge step forward in our return toward normal operations. Individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine are still strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in accordance with the CDC guidance.

Being fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks past the final dose of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

All are welcome to continue to wear face coverings on campus and are encouraged to do so where recommended by the CDC. Each of us will work through this transition at our own pace, and with varying levels of comfort. Please be respectful and supportive of our Lion community during this time. More information is available on the face covering page.

Vaccination appointments are widely available, and the university strongly encourages all members of our Lion family to get a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly those residing in congregate housing. It is one of the best methods by which we can all enjoy the activities and personal connections we have so greatly missed.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been informed by guidance from the CDC,” said Missouri Southern President Dean Van Galen. “As we look toward the fall semester we are excited to provide our students with an immersive academic and co-curricular experience that feels more normal.”

For the Fall 2021 semester, MSSU will continue its commitment to offering in-person instruction in addition to reviving in-person, on-campus activities. With that in mind, MSSU will be moving to a Modified Phase One of the Contingency Plan effective May 24. This will move us safely toward our goal of no modifications this fall.

Under Modified Phase One:

  • Classes will continue face-to-face
  • Masks/face coverings are not required for fully vaccinated individuals, but strongly encouraged for those who have not received the vaccine
  • For individuals who are unable to be vaccinated, reasonable accommodations will be provided
    • Students may seek accommodations through the Student Success Center – Disability Services Office
    • Employees may seek accommodations through the Human Resources Office
  • Mass Gatherings (50 or more individuals)
    • For outdoor mass gatherings, social distancing is encouraged
    • For indoor mass gatherings, masks are required
    • Mass gatherings for non-classroom activities require 6 feet of social distancing between participants
  • External guests are allowed on-campus and must comply with the established guidelines for this phase
  • Residence Life has available quarantine and isolation space
  • The Beimdiek Recreation Center will operate at 75-percent capacity, offering normal programming
  • Athletic activities will take place according to NCAA and MIAA guidelines

Missouri Southern will continue to closely monitor the status of the pandemic, as well as vaccination rates, throughout this spring and summer. Contingency plans are in place for how we will deliver courses in any Phase including if the state or the institution moves back to a heightened risk level.

In order to provide everyone a more traditional college experience in Fall 2021, it is important we continue to:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Maintain physical distance
  • Wear face coverings (if not vaccinated)
  • Keep classroom and office spaces clean
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Self-assess symptoms, and stay home when sick

“The collaboration and flexibility of our faculty, staff and students over the last 14 months has been inspiring,” said Van Galen. “Through our shared commitment, we kept our campus safe and continued our mission to educate and graduate knowledgeable, responsible, successful global citizens.”

The task force will continue to monitor campus data and inform students, faculty and staff of any further changes. If you have any questions about the university’s COVID-19 contingency plan or phased operations, click here or email covidtaskforce@mssu.edu.

Task force announces move to Phase Two of campus operations

Having carefully monitored campus and community numbers, the President’s Cabinet, after consultation with the MSSU COVID Task Force, has recommended moving to Phase Two of operations.

Under Phase Two:

  • Classes will continue primarily face to face, with accommodations in place for social distancing – no change to existing structure
  • Masks/face coverings will still be required
  • No more than 100 individuals can be gathered for an event, with social distancing and masks required
  • The 100 mass gathering limit may be comprised of both campus community members and external guests
  • Spiva Library will be fully open
  • The Beimdiek Recreation Center will operate at 50-percent capacity, with certain group activities/fitness areas closed
  • Athletic activities will take place according to NCAA and MIAA guidelines
  • External rentals will be allowed following all above guidelines and protocols

Phase Two will go into effect on Thursday, April 1.

The task force will continue to monitor campus data and inform students and employees of any further changes. If you have any questions about the university’s COVID-19 contingency plan or phased operations, click here or email covidtaskforce@mssu.edu.

Mask policy remains in place on MSSU campus

While the city of Joplin’s mask mandate has expired, masks/face coverings will still be required by all students, faculty, staff, vendors and guests on the Missouri Southern State University campus at least through the end of the spring semester or until further notice. The mask/face covering policy will be re-evaluated at that time.

Even though local and campus case numbers are on the decline, new COVID strains have been identified. We continue to adhere to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as federal and state governmental guidelines in order to protect the health and well-being of the Missouri Southern community.

The university’s COVID Task Force will continue to monitor the situation and alert campus to any changes to this policy.

FEMA shelter to be used for city vaccination clinic

The Joplin Health Department will be offering a COVID vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in the FEMA Shelter.

The clinic is for individuals in the Priority Phases 1A and 1B, and all appointments are full due to limited supply and high demand.

The city has established an online registration process to schedule appointments for future vaccination clinics. Health officials are encouraging everyone to review the state’s vaccination plan and categories at MoStopsCovid.com.

Rapid testing

The Willcoxon Health Center, located in Billingsly Student Center, continues to offer rapid testing free of charge to the campus community.

For more information, contact the health center at 417-625-9323 or COVID19HC@mssu.edu.

Post-Thanksgiving Update

Dear Lion Family:

Thank you for your continuing cooperation and understanding as we have strived to navigate this challenging period in Missouri Southern’s history.

Each decision that has been made in relation to the Fall 2020 semester – including classes and campus operations – has been made with the utmost consideration of the overall safety of the Lion community and for as little disruption to the academic and student experience as possible. Because of your support, our efforts have been successful, with the blend of hyflex courses allowing us to stay face-to-face for as long as possible.

We appreciate your patience as we waited to make a final decision on our post-Thanksgiving plans to ensure that we had a clear understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community, as well as the most current recommendations from our state and local public health officials.

Out of an abundance of caution and due to the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Southwest Missouri, following the Thanksgiving break, in-person and hybrid courses – with limited exceptions outlined below – will move to online delivery for the last two weeks of the fall semester, including the final exam period.

This decision will result in reduced activity on campus, particularly as residential students will be given the option to stay home after the break, thereby helping to prevent future spread of the virus. This action is supported by both the Student Senate and Faculty Senate.

All previously stated health and safety protocols will remain in effect during this period, including the mandatory use of face coverings and the required practice of social distancing. Following consultation with local public health officials and our key constituencies, we are confident that the decision to move academic programming primarily online for the final two weeks of the semester, while continuing to offer on-campus residential and student services, will be the best move forward for Missouri Southern as we conclude the fall semester.

In the meantime, know that we will consistently monitor the situation in the Joplin area, and will be in contact detailing plans for the spring semester. At this time, we want to assure you that if the conditions allow, it is our intent to return to the face-to-face/hyflex courses for the Spring Term. You may continue to access the most current and comprehensive campus information, including dashboard data, by visiting our COVID-19 website. If you have any questions on plans for the remainder of the fall semester, please direct them to covidtaskforce@mssu.edustudentaffairs@mssu.edu or call the student affairs office at 417.625.9392.

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate these challenging times together.

Lions Together,
Dean

Dean Van Galen, Ph.D.
President
Missouri Southern State University
417.625.9501

************************************************************************************

The decision to shift to online delivery for most courses after Thanksgiving will have the following impact on academic and student services:

Academic Course Delivery:

  • Courses currently offered online will continue to be offered remotely.
  • The majority of courses that are currently offered in a face-to-face or hyflex format, will be offered remotely.
  • Exceptions are in-person or hybrid courses that are not amenable to remote delivery, including in-person clinical and field-based experiences.
  • Students who are impacted directly by these exceptions will soon receive further instruction from their faculty/instructor.

Residential Life:

  • All residence halls will remain open to students who wish to return to campus after Thanksgiving.
  • Residence hall students will not be required to move out, but are strongly encouraged to do so if their classes allow them to finish at home.
  • If on-campus residential students choose to stay home after Thanksgiving, they will need to check out with the Residence Hall staff prior to departing for the Thanksgiving break.
  • The Residence Life office will follow-up soon by email with detailed instructions for this process.
  • If you choose to leave university housing, you will receive a prorated refund or credits for the period beginning Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 through the end of the semester fall semester.

Social Interactions, Extra-curricular and Co-curricular Activities: 

  • Social interactions will continue to be limited to small groups.
  • If these interactions take place indoors, masks must be worn and six feet or more of social distance must be maintained.
  • Residence hall visitation restrictions will remain in effect.
  • Student Activities will assess any planned activities and events for the possibility of those events being held virtually and/or via live stream.

Willcoxon Health Center:

  • The Willcoxon Health Center will continue normal hours during this time.
  • If you are not feeling well or have any Covid-19 symptoms, please contact the Willcoxon Health Center at 417-625-9323 or email at covid19hc@mssu.edu. We will help you determine if your symptoms are consistent with Covid-19 and if testing is recommended.

Library:

  • The George A. Spiva Library will be open with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.
  • Computer use and study space will be available for students following health and safety guidelines.
  • Contactless book request and pickup service will continue.

Rec Center:

  • The Beimdiek Recreation Center will continue to operate, observing the current Covid protocols.

Dining:

  • The Mayes Dining Hall will continue to offer its normal hours of operation.  The Lion’s Den Food Court will be in normal operation with meals packaged to go.  Please check for the possibility of changes to the operating hours for all facilities.

Computer Labs and Wifi Access:

  • Computer labs will remain open with possible modified hours.
  • Users must maintain six feet or more of social distance and observe other health and safety protocols.

Athletics:

  • University athletic team activities will continue – including limited winter sports competition, practices, and individual and small group training – provided all activities are supervised by athletics staff and observe health and safety protocols.

Commencement:

  • Winter Commencement will proceed as scheduled in a walk-through format that maintains proper health and safety measures.

Virtual university town hall session planned for Nov. 19

A virtual town hall is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov 19.

Topics will include university updates, legislative priorities, budget, commencement, COVID-related issues, a few special presentations and more. Don’t miss the live drawing for 10 students and 10 employees to each win $100 for participating in this semester’s priROARity enrollment challenge.

To join via Zoom:
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://zoom.us/j/93360523423?pwd=NmR3V1JaWjc0QkxKRVdZS3piNlRaQT09
Passcode: 187208

Questions for the town hall presenters can be submitted to UniversityAnnouncements@mssu.edu by 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

Visit the town hall page for up-to-date information and a link to re-watch the session.