COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri is reporting promising news when it comes to COVID-19 cases on campus.
Positive cases are down nearly 75% since the start of September 2020. Since the beginning of the school year, more than 14,100 students have tested positive for the virus. For the first time in weeks, the university reports the lowest number of active cases on campus, but the school wants to remind students not to take off their masks yet.
Communications Director for Mizzou Christian Basi said those numbers are down because of how the university is responding to the virus.
“We don’t want people to relax and think, ‘oh the worst is over,'” Basi said. “If you encourage good behavior and you assume everyone on campus has it, that behavior will help us stop the spread.”
Mizzou reported their highest number of cases on Sept. 5 with 683 cases. Friday, nearly two weeks later, the university only is reporting 184 active cases.
Earlier this week, the University of Missouri expelled two students, suspended three more and is in the process of investigating 13 student organizations for not following COVID policies.
“We also felt it was important to let the community know that we were not afraid to take these kinds of actions when it comes to the safety of the campus,” Basi said.
The news was shocking to some students.
“I think I was surprised that they actually did act that decisively and it’s definitely made me think more actively about my own actions,” Freshman Ryan Cohen said. “It doesn’t feel like the type of thing that someone should warrant like losing out on an opportunity to go to college for, but at the same time, people’s lives are genuinely on the line.”
Last week, Mizzou announced masks are required everywhere on campus, even outside, unless you’re by yourself.
One student said he feels guilty for coming to school.
“I’m not from here and all these people at this school, a lot of them aren’t from Columbia and we’re just packing into this town and making it a COVID hotspot because we are just bringing the disease in,” Freshman Emmet Jamison said. “Although I do think in-person instruction is better because it helps us learn, it brings the community money, it does a lot of good things. I just think if we were being more proactive in testing, we could be doing a lot better.”
Jamison wishes the university would allow everyone to get a COVID test, instead of only allowing a person to receive one with a doctor’s referral or showing symptoms.
More than 470 students have been referred to the office of student accountability since the start of the school year for not following COVID policies. 12 of the 13 student organizations under investigation are Greek life organizations, the other is a club sport.
See the full list below:
- Phi Gamma Delta
- Beta Theta Pi
- Delta Sigma Phi
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Phi Kappa Psi
- Delta Kappa Epsilon
- Alpha Tau Omega
- Gamma Phi Beta
- Delta Gamma
- Delta Delta Delta
- Running Club–club sport
- Alpha Sigma Phi
- Kappa Alpha Psi