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A comprehensive guide to Kansas and Missouri university and college masking policies

Back to School
Posted at 12:50 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 16:02:46-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Colleges and universities across the country are preparing for the beginning of the fall semester, but what will the semester look like?

KSHB 41 News compiled a list of Kansas and Missouri colleges and universities COVID-19 protocols for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

The list is organized by state and categorized by public and private schools.

KANSAS:

Private:

Baker University

  • Baker sent out an online form due Aug. 1 for students to submit their proof of COVID-19 vaccination. If the form is not filled out, the student is assumed to be unvaccinated, and unvaccinated students:
    • Will have to take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before coming to campus.
    • Need to monitor symptoms daily and quarantine if in contact with someone who tests positive.
    • Are encouraged to wear a mask around campus
  • Students who are vaccinated:
    • Do not have to be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to campus.
    • Fully vaccinated students may resume activities as they did prior to the pandemic.

Cleveland University - Kansas City

  • Effective Monday, Aug. 9, the university reinstated its universal indoor masking mandate for staff, students and visitors.
  • Cleveland University will return to fully in-person operations for the fall semester.
  • The university will provide personal protective equipment on campus for those who want it.

Donnelly College

Mid-America Nazarene University

  • The university encourages students to get vaccinated.
  • They expect unvaccinated students to wear a face mask.
  • The university plans to have face-to-face classes for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Ottawa University

  • Masks are required indoors for all people at Ottawa University campuses, as of July 31.
  • Masks are not required for “non-public spaces with restricted access, such as offices.”

University of Saint Mary

  • The university will continue their COVID-19 protocols from the 2020-2021 academic year until 75% of the campus community has been vaccinated.
  • “An individual athletic team, for example, will not be allowed to return to more normal routines, practice, travel and gatherings until that respective team reaches the Community Immunity threshold of 75% of the coaches, managers, GCA and student-athletes being vaccinated against COVID,” the website said. “Similarly, individual university offices will be required to continue with masking and distancing protocols until the 75% vaccination threshold has been met.”
  • Unvaccinated students living on campus who come in contact with COVID-19 will have to be quarantined off campus at their own expense.
  • The university asked students to submit their proof of vaccination electronically, so they could estimate the vaccination rates and determine protocols in the event of an exposure on campus.

Public:

Fort Hays State University

  • Fort Hays State University expects to be fully in-person for the fall semester.
  • The university encourages employees and students to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Masks are encouraged, but not required.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to social distance when possible, but building capacity restrictions from COVID-19 have been rescinded.

Johnson County Community College

  • The community college will require masks indoors starting on Aug. 17. Masks are required in public indoor spaces, classrooms, in work area where more than one person share the same space and in private offices when someone else enters the space.
  • Also, the college encourages everyone to get vaccinated.

Kansas City Kansas Community College

  • As of Thursday, Aug. 5, masks are mandatory for all employees, students and visitors inside KCKCC buildings.
  • Masks are optional when a fully vaccinated employee is working in a private space alone.
  • Social distancing is encouraged when it is possible.
  • There is a required form that students and employees have to complete stating “that they are fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC or have a religious or medical exemption on file with the either KCKCC Human Resources Office or KCKCC Student Health Services Office.”

Kansas State University

  • Because of the spread of the delta variant, Kansas State University will require masks to be worn indoors by everyone except in private offices or workspaces.
  • Kansas State has a place for students to upload their CDC vaccination cards, so the university can gage the vaccination rate of the population.
  • Mass gatherings will be limited to 50 people or less.

Pittsburg State University

  • Everyone will be required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status, except in offices and workspaces or where social distancing is possible.

University of Kansas

  • KU plans, as much as possible, to return to in-person classes.
  • The university reinstated its mask mandate beginning Monday, Aug. 9, and cited the spread of the delta variant as well as the decisions of other universities in Kansas and Missouri as part of their reasoning. Masks must be worn indoors and are strongly recommended in outdoor spaces.

Wichita State University

  • Wichita State University will require masks to be worn by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, coming to campus classrooms and laboratories.
  • Masks are encouraged at all other indoor campus locations.

Washburn University

  • As of Monday, Aug. 9, masks will be required for everyone while indoors, unless in a private office or work space.

Washburn Institute of Technology

  • As of Monday, Aug. 9, masks are required in indoor spaces for all students, faculty and staff.

MISSOURI:

Private:

Avila University

  • The university requires masks in all public indoor settings, including the community spaces in residence halls.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are asked to wear a mask when they are outdoors on campus.

Park University

  • The university updated its mask policy to align with CDC recommendations that everyone wear a mask while indoors. The policy will be in place until Tuesday, Sept. 7, when the university will review and make changes to it. The exceptions are when a person is eating or drinking, when in a private office space, when a person has a documented exemption and when a person is outdoors.
  • Staff who work on campus “should” follow social distancing practices like wearing a mask indoors, staying six feet apart, not gathering in groups and staying out of crowded places.

Rockhurst University

  • Rockhurst University requires students to be vaccinated before returning to campus in August. Individuals can be exempted from this requirement based on medical, religious or personal reasons.
  • All individuals indoors on campus are required to wear masks, and the university cited the spread of the delta variant as the cause for this mandate.

William Jewell College

  • The college plans to continue with in-person classes for the fall semester.
  • The college will be requiring all students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have an exemption for medical, personal or religious reasons.
  • Individuals who do not get vaccinated must report this on the Health & Immunization form.
  • Students may be required to wear a mask in some situations, but the college relaxed its masking and social distancing protocols to emphasize vaccination.

Kansas City Art Institute

  • The institute is planning for fully in-person liberal arts and studio classes for the fall semester.
  • “Safety protocols, including masks and social distancing, may still be observed and will align with the recommendations put forth by the Kansas City Missouri Health Department,” the website said. Jackson County ordered a county mask mandate beginning Aug. 9 that will extend for 30 days.
  • Masks are required in campus buildings at all times.
  • Unvaccinated individuals have to quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus.

Washington University in St. Louis

  • Masks will be required for everyone indoors on campus, unless the individual is in a private office or room or they are eating or drinking. Mask wearing will be encouraged outdoors but not required.
  • All students are required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Aug. 31. Those who do not meet the deadline will not be allowed to access university facilities, will be withdrawn from courses and not allowed to register for classes and can’t participate in university programs. Anyone living in on-campus housing will have their contracts terminated.
  • Students not fully vaccinated or have exemptions from vaccinations will have to undergo COVID-19 testing before arriving to campus.

Drury University

  • The university strongly recommends students and staff get vaccinated, but they are not requiring vaccination.
  • Masks will be required in classrooms and indoors when social distancing is not possible. Face coverings are not required in residence halls, dining halls and in personal offices and work spaces.
  • Most of the buildings on campus have been moved back to pre-pandemic capacities.
  • Unvaccinated individuals need to undergo COVID-19 testing.

Public:

Metropolitan Community College

  • Masks will be required for everyone on MCC’s campus.
  • “Students and employees returning to work onsite, or are new to MCC, will be provided three MCC face coverings free of charge.”
  • MCC will follow local and state regulations on building/room occupancy.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the campuses and buildings.
  • Employees will have to wipe down the shared space before and after use.

Missouri State University

  • Starting Aug. 16, masks will be required in all buildings on campus, except when eating, inside a residential room and when exercising. This will be evaluated every 30 days to continue, modify or discontinue the mandate.
  • MSU encourages everyone to be vaccinated.

Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • Missouri S&T will require masks from Aug. 2 until Sept. 15. The University of Missouri System will reevaluate the policy after that to see if it will need to be terminated or extended.

Missouri Western State University

  • MWSU updated its mask policy to make face coverings required while indoors. Previously the university only recommended masks.
  • Masks do not need to be worn while eating or drinking or when outdoors.
  • They encourage students to get vaccinated.

Truman State University

  • According to the university’s website, 89% of students and 97% of staff who responded to a form indicated that they will be vaccinated before the start of the semester.
  • The university will still require masking indoors, except for dining and when in a personal residence hall room or office, for everyone starting Monday, Aug. 9.

University of Central Missouri

  • Starting Aug. 16, masks will be required indoors regardless of vaccination status. This will be re-evaluated no later than Sept. 16.
  • Starting Aug. 9, masks will be required for all move-in activities and indoor events.
  • The university encourages everyone to get vaccinated before the semester starts. Unvaccinated individuals will be required to be quarantined if exposed to COVID-19.
  • Residence halls have returned to full occupancy, but classrooms will at least be at 75% capacity to have some availability for social distancing.

University of Missouri - Columbia

  • MU is requiring masks for all students and staff in classrooms and meeting rooms, where individuals can’t social distance, from Aug. 2 to Sept. 15.
  • All University of Missouri Health Care employees, students and providers are required to be vaccinated by Oct. 1.

University of Missouri - Kansas City

  • UMKC will require masks from Aug. 2 until Sept. 15. The University of Missouri System will reevaluate the policy after that to see if it will need to be terminated or extended.

University of Missouri - St. Louis

  • “Effective July 26, 2021, all faculty, staff, students and visitors age five and older are required to wear a face mask when entering or occupying a physical building or facility owned, operated or managed by the university regardless of vaccination status.”
  • UMSL will require masks from Aug. 2 until Sept. 15. The University of Missouri System will reevaluate the policy after that to see if it will need to be terminated or extended.

(Editor's Note: To submit updated information, send an e-mail to realtime@kshb.com)