SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two higher education facilities hosted a joint press conference on June 6 to discuss their reopening plans for the upcoming semester.
The plan for Missouri State University is to reopen for in-person classes for the fall semester on August 17. Ozarks Technical Community College plans to reopen for classes on August 24.
Both MSU and OTC have mandatory mask requirements.
“Masking required in classrooms, labs, shuttles, testing centers,” said MSU President Clif Smart.
“If you’re in a commons area, if you’re in a classroom, anywhere inside the building,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of OTC. “There will be no exception to the masking rule.”
OTC says they will ask students to leave if they refuse to wear a mask, MSU has a harsher punishment.
“If they do not, they will be dropped from the class,” said Smart. “If they do that within the first week, they get their money back.”
Dr. Higdon explained the reason behind the masking requirement.
“Someone says, ‘why would you require a mask?'” said Higdon. “I say, why would you not have a speed limit on National? It’s not a good idea to go 95 mph down National. It’s not a good idea not to wear a mask. It’s just common sense.”
Some students from MSU approve of the mask policy.
“There’s science behind a mask,” said Lauren Stockam, MSU grad student. “And it’s kind of the only thing that we have right now because there’s no vaccine, there’s no treatment.”
“Requiring it in classrooms is going to be the most efficient way for all of us to be able to continue being on campus while minimizing the spread,” said Christina Nguyen, MSU sophomore.
Smart says the policy is not finished yet. Those final masking plans will be decided and presented on August 6.
For more information on the MSU policy, click here.
For more information on the OTC policy, click here.