Springfield colleges and universities handle masking protocols

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Following the CDC’s guidelines on July 27th, we now know how Springfield’s colleges and universities will handle COVID-19 mask protocols shortly.

KOLR10’s Frances Lin explains what Missouri State University, Drury University, and Ozarks Technical Community College are planning.

All three universities are enacting a mask requirement for everyone. Students, staff, faculty, and visitors in certain areas on campus.

“Not outdoors, but indoors. Obvious exceptions for music classes. You can’t play the trumpet wearing a mask,” said Clif Smart, president of Missouri State University.

This is the same requirement being enforced at OTC.

At Drury, masks are required in indoor spaces where people cannot socially distance themselves.

And after the announcement went out today, “no pushback from employees, universally received in a positive way,” Smart said.

Missouri State University students agree.

“I definitely would feel more comfortable if we were to go back to school at least for the first few weeks,” said Abigail Jensen.

“It’s definitely a mild inconvenience. I would much rather have to wear two pieces of the fabric against my face than end up intubated,” said Lauren Jackson, another student at MSU.

Students also said wearing a mask doesn’t impede their learning, “I believe if you’re truly attentive in a classroom, all your focus is not necessarily diverted to natural processes, such as breathing,” Jackson said, “in my opinion, if you’re truly connected to the course content and the professor and the things you’re learning, I could have a motorcycle helmet on my head and still be fine.”

And it really isn’t anything new at this point.

“We did wear them for a year,” said Jensen, “so I’m pretty used to it already.”

“Our students were great last year. We had very few non-compliance incidents, people understood the science and the reason behind this,” said Smart, “all three colleges, universities committed to reviewing it every 30 days.”

And to lift this requirement, Smart said there’s one simple way to do so, “Get vaccinated! Help us get past this, that’s exactly the message I’m giving to our students. The higher the vaccination rate we have, the sooner the mask requirement will go away. Our full-time employees, we have a vaccination rate of 77% which we’re very proud of, so I think we’ll continue to make progress on this over the next five, six weeks, and I think that’ll help us be able to take this requirement off.”

OTC will be offering vaccine clinics on campus, on August 24th and 25th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day.
Anyone can attend this event.

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