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Southeast Mo. State University to require masks indoors on campus

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 12:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Southeast Missouri State University announced it will temporarily require face coverings indoors on campus, regardless of vaccination status.

The announcement was part of updates to the university’s Protect the Nest plan before the beginning of the fall semester.

Updates to the plan include:

  • Effective Tuesday, August 17, the University is instituting a temporary face covering requirement indoors in all University buildings, regardless of vaccination status
    • This will be reevaluated by September 16.
    • There are some exceptions to this requirement including, but not limited to, in Residence Hall rooms and floors, while eating and drinking, and while exercising indoors in a campus recreation facility.
    • Face coverings are not required outdoors.
  • Social distancing limitations will no longer be in place. Classrooms and other facilities will return to pre-pandemic capacities.
  • Facilities Management will continue high-touch cleaning and disinfecting practices throughout campus.
  • Hand sanitizer, face coverings, and disinfecting supplies will remain available at various locations on campus for faculty, staff, and students.

To prepare for the start of the semester, the University ordered face coverings to make available to faculty, staff and students.

According to Dr. Carlos Vargas, University president, these will include a mixture of disposable and cloth face coverings, as well as N95 and KN95 face coverings.

”With classes beginning August 23rd and monitoring very closely the presence of COVID-19 in our community, we felt comfortable with the guidance that was issued today,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Debbie Below.

A couple of students said they don’t mind wearing face coverings on campus.

″I think it’s good to put on the mask,” Avin Sapkota said.

″I’m protecting myself; I’m also protecting a friend and everyone else around me, it’s something I’ve kind of adjusted to from back home cause a mask is kind of mandatory, everyone has to have a mask on so I don’t think I really have problems with wearing that mask everywhere around the campus,” Tanaka Nhamburo said.

Below hopes having vaccine clinics will get more students vaccinated.

“We do understand and talking with our students just how important it is and we’re working very closely with them as well as Cape Girardeau Public Health on vaccine education,” Below said.

She said working directly with the students and student organizations is the best way to educate.

“We are taking the time to introduce our students to community leaders who are more knowledgeable maybe than we are related to the importance of the vaccine and we’ve seen some very positive outcomes as a result of those conversations already”

Southeast announced it will hold several vaccination events.

  • Aug. 16, 2-4 p.m. at the International Village Cottage B
  • Aug. 17, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the River Campus Cultural Arts Center Atrium
  • Aug. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the University Center Program Lounge
  • Aug. 30, 12-4 p.m. at the River Campus Cultural Arts Center Atrium
  • Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Towers Complex

Fall classes at Southeast begin August 23.

Below said university leaders will share details of a vaccine incentive program on Friday.

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