Missouri State University’s 2020 semester begins despite COVID-19 pandemic

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putting the ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — At Missouri State University on August 17, students are adjusting to a new semester with new rules.

During the 2020 semester at the university, everybody, including students, teachers, and faculty all have to wear masks.

“That includes all classrooms, certainly, and other buildings like the library here,” explained Dr. Cameron Wickham, faculty senate chair at Missouri State University.

“The only places you do not have to wear a mask is in your private residence hall rooms or while you’re eating in the dining centers,” said Dr. Ryan Reed, director of access programs at Missouri State University.

“Super excited. Very happy to be back on campus, excited to see students,” said Dr. Reed.

Camille Price, a senior at Missouri State University, said, “I feel super excited, obviously a little bit of nerves coming back to school and not knowing quite what to expect, but it’s just so good to be back on campus.”

“I feel pretty good,” said Samuel Senn, a Missouri State University student in accelerated master’s program. “It’s kind of strange being back because I haven’t really been on campus since March, with everything happening, I’m just excited to get back, excited to see some familiar faces.”

“It is a little weird to be sitting in classes where everybody’s spread apart and wearing masks,” said Michael Claunch, another senior at Missouri State University.

Students say classes are different than usual, “everybody is spread out, differently throughout the classroom, nobody’s sitting right next to each other,” Claunch said.

“I work in the office of student affairs,” said Price, “we are wearing masks, doing our social distancing, other than that, it’s pretty normal.”

Dr. Reed and Dr. Wickham explained the new safety procedures on campus, “we have a masking policy. Got my mask here,” said Dr. Reed.

“We have been asked to have seating charts, fixed for all classes, not just for the course but to help with any contact tracing if that becomes necessary,” said Dr. Wickham. “They try to get many classes scheduled into larger rooms, so, for example, that colleague I spoke to this morning, he has 35 students and a room that holds 100.”

According to the students that spoke to Ozarks First, masks don’t bother them.

“I’m all for keeping everyone else safe, I don’t mind wearing it if it’s going to do something good for someone else,” Price said.

“It can never hurt to take extra precautions,” said Claunch.

“That was a large concern in faculty, that they would have to be enforcing masks in the classroom, which unfortunately became such a political issue, unnecessarily, but from what I have seen so far, I’m hopeful,” said Dr. Wickham.

“Hopefully, every week will get a little better, and things will go well this semester,” said Dr. Reed.

For more information about Missouri State University’s COVID-19 safety precautions, visit https://www.missouristate.edu/Coronavirus/masking-policy.htm.

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