Dear faculty, staff and students,
We have come a long way since the beginning of a very challenging pandemic, and we want to thank you for your vigilant efforts that have helped keep our campus community safe. New COVID-19 cases have been trending downward, the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived, and we are pleased to see our health care workers and at-risk populations getting vaccinated. As more vaccine supply is arriving for MU Health Care’s vaccination site and other Mid-Missouri clinics, progress is being made.
VIGILANCE STILL NEEDED
Despite this encouraging progress, most people on MU’s campus have not yet been vaccinated and are still waiting for the opportunity to receive a vaccine as supplies become available and they become eligible based on Missouri’s vaccination priority tiers. Therefore, we must continue to protect ourselves and others by following our practices of social distancing, wearing face coverings and other safety measures. These practices include the requirements for everyone to wear face coverings in all buildings and outdoors when you are not alone.
As the weather begins to warm, we are all anxious to enjoy the spring, but please remember your personal vigilance is still needed on and off campus, and as you consider your plans during spring break.
SAFETY SUPPLIES PROVIDED
To support our continued efforts to keep the campus community healthy and safe, the university will soon be distributing COVID-19 safety kits — which include three disposable masks, one bottle of hand sanitizer and one package of disinfectant wipes — to all MU students, faculty and staff. Materials for these kits will soon be provided to schools and units for assembly and distribution to faculty and staff. Students may pick up the free kits at the bookstore, starting March 15.
EVENT POLICY ADJUSTMENTS
Our adherence to our safety practices and our success at keeping cases low has allowed us the privilege of planning in-person commencements for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 in April and May.
With lower numbers of cases in Boone County, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services recently adjusted local restrictions. Event limits now allow groups of up to 50 people to attend socially distanced events, replacing the previous limit of 20.
The university will now also adjust event limits to align with the new public health order and allow events of up to 50 people without requiring special approval. Any university-sponsored or university-affiliated student event with more than 50 people will need to be approved as an exception by a vice chancellor, dean or unit administrator, as well as MU’s Incident Command team. All events, regardless of size, must continue to limit capacity to allow for social distancing and have safety precautions in place, including the wearing of face coverings. More information and checklists for those interested in planning events on campus can be found on the Show Me Renewal website’s events page.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
We are excited as we look to the fall, with in-person classes at full capacity and the return of more activities that our community enjoys. If the public health situation dictates, we will make adjustments as necessary, but we are very optimistic that we will be able to experience a more normal fall semester beginning in August.
Thank you to our students, faculty, staff and friends for your continued resilience and vigilance as we press through this phase of the pandemic. We look forward with gratitude and hope for the future as our progress continues.
Tigers Support Tigers!
Incident Commander, MU COVID Incident Command Team
Director of Emergency Management, UM System
Operations Section Chief, MU COVID Incident Command Team
Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine