COLUMBIA, MO. — It’s move-in day for students at the University of Missouri, and it’s the second year in a row mask requirements are back on some parts of the campus.
In the past year, there have been roughly 3,500 cases at Mizzou. Currently, there are 19 active cases, and the university says they are preparing for that number to go up.
One thing students must bring with them to school is a mask. It’s a change the university said it had to make to keep people safe.
“Unfortunately, with the surge, we’ve had to make some changes,” a spokeswoman for the university,” Stephanie Fleming said. “We will be requiring masks indoors for anyone who’s not vaccinated, and we are strongly recommending masks even for those vaccinated.”
The sound of large carts could be heard around the campus Wednesday as hundreds of Freshmen moved into the dorms. Fleming said overall enrollment is expected to be up at Mizzou this year. No matter what your vaccination status is, masks are required in classrooms.
“We have plans for a lot more face-to-face instruction in which again was a factor in our decision to introduce the masks requirement to our classrooms,” Fleming said.
Fleming said there are no masks policies inside residence halls or student centers.
“Part of our decision to institute a mask mandate also relates to the surge we saw last fall when all the students came back to campus,” Fleming said. “This fall we have a big weapon against COVID-19, and that’s the vaccine.”
The university is offering an incentive program for anyone who gets the vaccine. While it’s not required, faculty, staff, and students can voluntarily upload a picture of their vaccination card at a chance to win more than 260 prizes.
“Some of the prizes that we have are dinners with some of our coaches, like the football coach Eli Drinkwitz and Coach Martin, the basketball coach,” Fleming said. “Some are specifically for students obviously the scholarship opportunities, but some of the higher ticket items like those dinners with Mizzou celebrities are open to students, faculty, and staff.”
Drawing will be every two weeks beginning Aug. 9. There will be five drawings total on Aug. 9 and 23 and then Sept. 7 and 21, with the grand prize drawing on Oct. 4.
“We’re asking our students, faculty, and staff to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status. We’re not requiring it, but uploading your vaccine card is what enters you into that incentive program,” Fleming said.
Fleming said thousands of people have already entered into the program.
Tyler Hartman and Skylar Sutton, both from Hermann, are freshman roommates who moved on Wednesday.
“I’m excited about all the new opportunities, meeting new people,” Sutton said. “I was worried about having to get a roommate, but luckily we both know each other, grew up with each other.”
Both said they did not expect to wear masks into their freshman classrooms, after having to wear them their senior year of high school.
“For a while, we didn’t think we would have to because COVID kind of cleared up,” Hartman said. “They were saying, oh, it’s going to be all back to normal, and then two weeks ago, we’re going to start requiring them. Definitely not what I would have hoped for, but I’ll do it obviously.”
Hartman and Sutton said they are still excited about the college experience.
We’re looking forward to it,” Hartman said. “We’ll try to stay out of trouble.”
Similar to last year, Mizzou will also have its “Report an Incident” form available for both employees and students. This allows students, faculty, and staff to report people who are not following COVID-19 requirements on campus and the surrounding community. Fleming said disciplinary actions would be a verbal warning for first-time issues. She said if a student isn’t wearing a mask in a classroom, professors have the right to ask that student to put on one and then ask them to leave if they refuse.
Classes at Mizzou start Monday.