University of Missouri to require masks in classes this fall
Marisa Rios is heading into her senior year at Mizzou.
She's ready for everything a senior year brings, but she knows there's a lot of uncertainty.
"I'm excited for what I thought would be the last of everything, but I feel like I won't get that full experience kind of like the last class had," Rios said.
That's because the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't gone away.
In fact, on Sunday, Boone County saw it's highest five-day average in cases since the pandemic started. There have been 352 total cases there.
To help slow the spread, The University of Missouri is requiring all students and staff to wear face masks in the classroom.
Masks are highly recommended in common areas, but not required if there's enough space between people.
"I think it is the right thing to do to have us wear masks, especially since that really is the only way to help stop the spread of the virus right now," Rios said.
Mizzou isn't alone. Columbia Public Schools announced it will require students and staff to wear masks in their buildings this fall.
Drury University in Springfield is also requiring masks in the classroom.
"Interior, anywhere where we're within six feet of each other, we have to wear a mask," said David Hinson, Chief of Staff at Drury University. "That's just in part what we need to do to work with disease present in the environment."
Rios says the biggest concern right now is a lot of students her age might not take the pandemic seriously.
She's worried about parties and students going to bars on weekends when everyone is back on campus.
"People our age, they don't care," Rios said. "They don't. It gets old. We want to have a last good senior year, and I don't know that we'll get that if people don't take this seriously."
The City of Columbia is considering a city-wide mask order, but hasn't made a decision.
Camdenton School District Superintendent Tim Hadfield said masks are not being required as of now, but that could change.
Missouri State University said it will make an announcement Monday.
University of Missouri students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks in classrooms when on-campus classes resume this fall.
The university is planning for the return of students after classes were moved online in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. University of Missouri System President Mun Choi said in a statement Monday the plans for fall classes will continue to evolve in the weeks before classes begin in August. That includes preparing for a return to online classes if that becomes necessary.
Students will be required to take online training about the coronavirus requirements before they can return to campus.