August 17, 2020
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu
The University of Missouri today unveiled new policies related to in-person events and self-reporting of positive COVID-19 tests. Additionally, officials announced that a new digital COVID-19 symptom-tracking app would be added as a tool to the Show Me Renewal Plan. The policies are effective immediately. The symptom-tracking app will be available to the campus community soon.
“For the safety of our students and community, we must take further steps, including limiting opportunities for gathered groups,” said Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri. “In addition, we continue to look for strategies and tools to assist our community members in doing everything that can be done individually to manage the spread of the virus.”
Under the new policies, university faculty, staff and students may not hold events with more than 20 people; requests for exceptions will be considered in rare cases. This policy sets a lower maximum than Boone County’s limits on events, which currently allows 100 attendees.
Events held by external groups on campus will be extremely limited, with exceptions made only in rare circumstances. For example, MU will continue to serve as a polling location for the Nov. 3 election. Event organizers are encouraged to hold virtual events whenever possible.
An event is defined as any communal gathering on or off campus, outside of a classroom setting, lasting longer than 15 minutes.
Event organizers for campus groups can seek approval for events with more than 20 attendees that support the university’s academic mission by completing the COVID-19 Event Request Form. Rare exceptions will be granted only with an approved plan that requires participants to follow social distancing and face covering protocols, as well as specific protocols for serving food and beverages.
University policy requires face coverings indoors with few exceptions. Medical experts advise maintaining a 6-foot distance between individuals and wearing a face covering indoors unless consuming food or beverages. All allowed events will need to be set up with appropriate social distancing between attendees, including arrangements with chairs in rows or around tables.
MANDATORY COVID NOTIFICATION:
The university is requiring all students, faculty and staff to notify the university if they receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This also applies to all UM System staff. This information is provided to assist the university in responding to the needs of those testing positive. Boone County public health officials remain the only official source of positive case information and will manage case investigations and contact tracing operations. Public health officials and case investigators are responsible for working with positive individuals to identify and provide guidance to their close contacts.
Within four hours of receiving their positive test results, students will notify the MU Student Health Center by submitting a secure online form and contact instructors to make arrangements to continue their studies remotely if they are able.
The online form will ask about the student’s whereabouts on campus two days before being tested and whether the student lives on or off campus. The form will be used to alert students about resources until they receive guidance from a case investigator.
Faculty, staff and student employees who test positive will notify their supervisor, department chair, dean or division director.
“When the university receives a notification, we’re able to mobilize our operations quicker to deploy resources and sanitize any affected areas,” Choi said. “This self-reporting requirement is another vital way the university aims to mitigate the spread of the virus on our campus.”
Information submitted in the secure online form and provided to supervisors and instructors is strictly confidential under federal privacy laws regarding education and the university’s human resources policies.
MU will soon roll out a symptom-tracking app, #CampusClear. The university already requires students, faculty and staff to complete a daily symptom and temperature checklist, but this app will act as a regular reminder to check symptoms and temperature. The app will make the process easier by prompting users to self-screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms and by providing resources and guidance about whether they should stay home and contact a health provider.
“This tool will make it simpler and faster for our students, faculty and staff to complete daily symptom monitoring for COVID-19,” said Latha Ramchand, MU provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This simple daily task is one of the tools we have to prevent the virus from spreading. Carefully considering our health and any changes on a daily basis can protect our university community.”
The app also will be used as a pass to access some locations on campus. Specific locations are still being determined. Individuals who cannot run the app are still required to monitor their temperature and symptoms daily. Individuals who do not have the app will have their temperatures taken and could be asked to verbally verify that they have checked their symptoms that day.
Further information about downloading or accessing the app is coming soon.